Seminar Series: "Havana's Noise and Rhythm: Understanding Afrocubaneity" 


Friday, February 15, 2019, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


104 Mt. Auburn Street 3R, Seminar Room

Pablo D. Herrera Veitia will deliver a lecture on "Havana's Noise and Rhythm: Understanding Afrocubaneity" 

What is it like to be Afro-Cuban today? After more than a decade’s experience as an Afro-Cuban rap music producer, this is the question at the core of Herrera Veitia’s doctoral research in social anthropology. Several premises inform his autoethnographic study. Firstly, how becoming a Hiphop practitioner vested him with a profound interest in the future of urban Afro-Cuban music in Havana. And, secondly, how pertinent has been the commentary on race by specific Anglophone Afro-Caribbean scholars in his views on what it is like to be black in Havana today.

Herrera Veitia follows two methodological approaches in his dissertation work; four written chapters and a volume of sounded ethnographies. Following the question ‘What is Afro-Cubaneity?’ in the chapters he argues that understanding what Afro-Cubaneity is today not only requires to touch on topics such as cosmopolitanism, Afro-Caribbeanism and pan-Africanism, it also requires a reevaluation of the myth of Cuba as Caliban.

The seminar will conclude with an introduction of Hearing Afro-Cuban rap, the sounded element in Herrera Veitia's doctoral thesis. Hearing Afro-Cuban rap is an archive of Afro-Cuban rap songs that he is currently developing in affiliation with the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute, Harvard University. Asking ‘Could we consider the loudness of today’s urban Afro-Cuban music, across the audible dimension of Havana, as a form of Afro-Cuban citizenship?’ he argues that songs by Havana’s black raperos are some of the most important testimonials on race in recent Cuban oral history. 


This event is co-sponsored by the Cuba Studies Program at David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies

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