Current Institutional Affiliation
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Art History/Architecture, Harvard University
Artistic Production, Race, and History in Nineteenth-Century Cuba

Do images from nineteenth-century Cuba offer unconsidered perspectives on the political thought and social position of free people of color and enslaved Africans? My dissertation analyzes images produced by free people of color (pardos and morenos) and visiting artists in nineteenth-century Cuba and links them to a counter-narrative of the political thought and social position of free people of color and enslaved Africans. I argue that these images functioned in opposition to the historical narrative advanced by elite criollos and peninsulares from the years 1812 to 1868. Through this analysis, I aim to determine how images, and their production, advanced alternative interpretations of the "social self" of black Cubans. I then read these as impacting local memory and eventually the production of history. To do so, I look to three groups of images that raise questions as to how the visual arts provided a discursive alternative to the textual and visual narration of history by colonial elites. The three groups of images I have chosen include: 1) a libro de pinturas (book of paintings) composed by Antonio Aponte - a free man of color accused of plotting a massive slave rebellion at the beginning of the century, 2) mural paintings that originally decorated the walls of Havana's elite sectors which then found favor amongst the poorer classes of people of color; and 3) costumbrist lithographs and paintings produced by traveling artists Frederic Miahle and Victor Patricio Landaluze..