Cuba: Critical Concepts

Schools of Public Engagement: International Affairs

Non-Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students

Cuba: Critical Concepts

Spring 2021

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 give it 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—including the uncertain diplomatic relations with the US. 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, both devoid of legal tender? 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 stand 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 (with Raul Castro stepping down in February 2018, there will be a change in leadership that may alter the direction the Revolution took in 1959)? Taken thus, supposedly ‘isolated’ Cuba gives new life to the critical concepts of global policy-making.

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: International Affairs (NINT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: N/A
Online Withdrawal Deadline: N/A

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

*Status information is updated every five 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: 12:36pm 7/2/2020 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Wednesday

Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm

Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th

Room: 615

Date Range: 1/20/2021 - 5/5/2021