Cuba: Critical Concepts

Schools of Public Engagement: Grad Programs in Int'l Affairs

Non-Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Graduate Course
Degree Students
Cuba: Critical Concepts
Spring 2024
Taught By: Gabriel Vignoli
Section: A

CRN: 3544

Credits: 3

Citizenship is unraveling in the western world, and Cuba’s peculiar historical trajectory makes it a unique lens through which to endow it with new meaning. While the uncertain diplomatic relations with the US suggest the need for a more focused analysis of the Cuban reality, Cuba as a conceptual and political problem can shed a different light on critical concepts and speak back to the ongoing reconfiguration of citizenship in the US. The first part of the course is devoted to Cuba’s history, economy and society from the colony to the present. The second part of the course is devoted to the unpacking of critical concepts. How is race as a political category affected by the attempts to construct the Cuban nation (19th century) and Revolution (20th century) as raceless, when the present economic crisis affects mostly non-whites? How do you navigate issues of economic meaning when you have 2 currencies with multiple exchange rates, that do not comply with the basic definition of money (means of exchange; unit of account; store of value) and are devoid of legal tender outside of Cuba? How is the conceptual link between property and value, naturalized in neoliberal societies, actually being shaped in a country that only legalized private property in 2012 after five decades? How does technology shape our relation to the world, in a country where information travels in USB-sticks and the web is used to communicate with the family abroad rather than to retrieve information? What is the meaning of socialism in today Cuba, in a condition of growing individualized risk, in which the pillars of social welfare remain strong but are progressively seen as irrational? What are the environmental challenges of the only country in the world with high HDI and a carbon footprint below the regeneration level? How is political consensus constructed and questioned? Taken thus, supposedly ‘isolated’ Cuba gives new life to the critical concepts of global policy-making. This course is a prerequisite for the Cuba International Field Program, currently scheduled to take place in Havana, Cuba.

This course is part of the Development concentration, Media & Culture concentration, and Governance & Rights concentration in the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Grad Programs in Int'l Affairs (GPIA)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 17

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: No

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 4:06pm EDT 6/19/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Wednesday
Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm
Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th
Room: 617
Date Range: 1/24/2024 - 5/8/2024