“Cuba Contradictions" launches faculty speaker series Sept. 23

An annual speaker series showcasing faculty research efforts at the College launches Sept. 23 with "Cuba Contradictions," a presentation based on a recent trip to Cuba.

Set for 3:40 to 4:40 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, the faculty colloquium will be in Tower Hall room 4119. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

Last April, four faculty members traveled to Cuba with 13 MBA students preparing their final projects. The faculty members will reflect on that experience from their own disciplinary viewpoints.

Tammy Ostrander, dean of the School of Arts and Letters, will present "The Art of Industry and Protest: A Brief Rhetorical Analysis of Three State-Sponsored Tourist Sites." These sites -- Ediciones Vigía in Matanzas, Fusterlandia in Havana, and Artist Ariel Gato Miranda's Art Gallery in Los Terrazas -- were all artistic efforts by Cuban citizens to use recycled items to produce art, and in one case advance efforts in urban renewal. Ostrander will contend that the overt message of recycling efforts is underscored by a covert message of protest.

Tony Barrett, economics professor, will address "The Paradox of Cuba: a Third-World Country with Rich Country Demographics." He will analyze the problems facing an economist attempting to form a plan for improving the standard of living for Cubans. A purely Communistic economy combined with a punitive U.S. embargo has stunted the Cuban economy.

Lynne Hamre, dean of the School of Business and Technology, will focus on private business and entrepreneurs. She will discuss paladares (restaurants owned and operated by entrepreneurs rather than the state), Airbnb, and antique car restoration. She will review the federal regulations for private business and argue that these rules engender a culture filled with illegal imports and a vigorous underground market industry.

Based on Cuban billboards and signage, Martin Pflug, assistant professor of Global Cultural and Language Studies, will consider contextualizations of Cuban government propaganda and transculturalizing engagements in light of contemporary Cuban identities.

The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.

The talk is part of a faculty colloquium series now in its tenth year. The series provides visibility to diverse research projects by faculty members in St. Scholastica's School of Arts and Letters.