|Pedro Pérez Sarduy||
Pedro Pérez-Sarduy Multimedia Seminar:
AfroCuban journalist, author, and broadcaster Pedro Pérez-Sarduy sees the time as ripe for a multimedia seminar on issues of race, identity, and representation in today's Cuba, where there's a great ferment in these areas. For Pérez-Sarduy, conflicting trends include:
What is going on here? How do Cubans themselves feel about these trends? These and others call for careful analysis and self explanation from the parties involved, especially AfroCubans, hitherto invisible players to most Americans. And yet AfroCubans are estimated to compose over 60% to 70% of the population on the island -- as both the Cuban and the American government will readily admit. They are increasingly visible and are destined to have a profound impact on US - Cuba relations.
Sarduy said whatever happens after Fidel Castro, black Cubans will not be pushed aside. "They will hold on to that island for the sake of their ancestors, who fought for this country. It was not given to them. It was not a handout. They fought for it."
Pedro Pérez Sarduy
Pedro Pérez-Sarduy has over 30 years' experience as poet, writer, journalist, and
broadcaster first on Cuban national radio and television, then on BBC radio and television
current affairs and cultural programs. He is based in London and travels periodically to
his home in Cuba. With his writings, Pérez-Sarduy has given a major push to the concept
of "Afro-Cuban." The book "AFROCUBA: An Anthology
of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics and Culture", which he co-edited with Jean
Stubbs in 1993, is virtually the only text of its kind in English.
Pérez-Sarduy and Jean Stubbs also co-edited "No Longer Invisible: Afro-Latin Americans Today," 1995, Minority Rights Group Publications.
"Pedro Perez Sarduy is an invaluable treasure around young people. At every one of the International Colloquium of the biennial National Black Theatre Festival he has been a part of since 1993 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the way the audience and fellow participants enthused about his presentations has also contributed to making the Colloquium as much as the festival an object of pilgrimage for aficionados of the American theatre every other year." -- Professor Sope Oyelaron, Winston-Salem State University, Coordinator, International Colloquium, National Black Theatre Festival
"Poet, essayist, scholar, broadcaster, lecturer... I first met Sarduy in Havana in 1985, and we have been colleagues and collaborators since. Sarduy wrote a chapter on Carnaval in Havana in my 1993 (soon to be rereleased in paperback by Ian Randle) Cuban Festivals. We were together at the University of Puerto Rico, discussing literature and performance. We also have been on panels together at the International Carnival Conferences at Trinity College, Hartford, and Port of Spain, Trinidad. Sarduy is a riveting lecturer, capable of entertaining while simultaneously teaching. He is a world traveler and brings a global, particularly Afro, perspective to his lectures. I recently heard Sarduy discuss a trip to Brazil. What an eye-opener!" -- Professor Judith Bettelheim, Department of Art History, Emory University
"Pedro Perez Sarduy's visit in Maryland was an unequivocal success, a profoundly enriching educational experience that brought Afrocuban issues close to his audience. In his public presentations, radio talk-show appearance, poetry reading, and classroom discussions, his insight, breadth of experience, political savvy, patient articulateness and expansive knowledge combined with his charm, wit, and verve to loan a warm and human expression to the rich wealth of information provided. As a scholar, Pedro Perez Sarduy is a spokesperson for the rennaissance of Afrocuban culture and as a poet, the voice of a generous humanness and a fecund humor. His intervention here with students and the public has left a lasting impression and has opened an ongoing discourse about the culture and politics of Afrocuba at a time when such an opening is urgently needed." - Christopher Powers, Johns Hopkins University
Pedro Pérez Sarduy's two-day visit to the Washington College campus in late March, 2000 was a truly memorable occasion. It was part of a series of a events that marked the tenth anniversary of our chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the International Spanish Honorary Society. In addition to speaking to an Advanced Spanish class, he gave a public reading of his poetry at our Literary House and a lecture/slide presentation on Afro-Cuban culture and history. In this way a wide spectrum of our students and faculty were able to hear him, meet him personally, and learn from his marvelous store of knowledge and experience. His visit stimulated much interest in Cuba, its culture and literature, and the conversation continues! - George Shivers, Washington College
The message that you brought to our campus regarding the African presence in Cuba was one that was most welcomed and for many long overdue. The panel discussion that you participated in, a comparative look at race in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, was especially rewarding because it put developments in Cuba since 1959--achievements and challenges--in proper perspective. We look forward to your return one day. - August H. Nimtz-Jr. University of Minnesota
Pedro Pérez-Sarduy is the author of Surrealidad (Havana 1967) and Cumbite and Other Poems (Havana 1987 and New York 1990). He has finished two unpublished works, Journal in Babylon, a series of chronicles on Britain and a first novel, The Maids of Havana, based on his mother's life stories about pre and post-revolutionary Havana.
The recipient of several literary awards, he was Writer in Residence at Columbia University, New York (1989), Visiting Scholar at Hunter College, New York (1990), and Rockefeller Visiting Scholar at the University of Florida, Gainesville (1993). He has been a radio journalist since 1965, beginning with Cuban national radio as a current affairs journalist and with Cuban television on the first African and Caribbean music show. He was then with the BBC Latin American Service from 1981 to 1994.
Contact us to schedule a Pedro Pérez-Sarduy seminar!
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