Senior thesis: Exploring the emergence of Cuban consumerism

Senior Thesis Dennisse Calles

Dennisse Calle found the topic for her senior thesis along a Havana street, in the back of a stall that sells pirated movies and music.

Cubans pay the equivalent of a few dollars, insert a flash drive into the computer at the back of the stall, and get access to El Paquete — a weekly, one terabyte compilation of popular TV shows, movies, music, computer and phone apps, and advertisements that serves as an offline Netflix, YouTube, Craigslist and more in a country where Internet access is slow and expensive. Read more

Price explores Cuban literature and culture in ‘Planet/Cuba’

Rachel PriceRachel Price, an associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese who is also affiliated with the Program in Media and Modernity, joined Princeton in 2009. Her scholarship focuses on Latin American, Caribbean and particularly Cuban literature and culture; media; poetics; empire; and ecocriticism. Her essays have explored a range of topics including digital media, slavery, poetics and visual art. This semester she is teaching an undergraduate course, “El Género Negro: Crime Fiction,” in Spanish, and a graduate course, “Narrative Prose in Latin America — Finance and Form.”

In her new book, “Planet/Cuba” (2015, Verso Books), Price addresses contemporary literature as well as conceptual, digital and visual art from Cuba that engages questions of environmental crisis, new media and new forms of labor and leisure.  Read more

Princeton and the Paris Terrorist Attacks: by Philippe Lançon. Translated by Pascale Voilley

New York is a feast

Paris is a feast, and so is New York … well, not quite. I happened to be there on November 13 2015. By chance? Well, not quite. A few days later, I was due on the Princeton campus, to discuss Charlie, the attacks of January 7, and the issue of freedom of expression, which has become so burdensome lately. Charlie in Princeton, the home of Einstein and Oppenheimer: life is tragic, but it does grant you some pleasant surprises along the way. One of the strongholds of civilization had extended an invitation to a journalist on the staff of a small French satirical weekly, who had been shot at by people who abhor civilization. Six days before I was scheduled to speak, the attacks of November 13 brutally put freedom of expression in a different context. Up to that day, the professionals of respect – let’s call them the respectful prostitutes, after the title of Sartre’s play –  claimed to believe, or would have us believe, that all you had to do to stay out of trouble was to avoid making drawings of a certain prophet. That had all changed in the space of one blood-soaked evening.

This was my first major trip since January 7, and I felt like a princess attending her first ball after the spell that had turned her into a toad. I knew it would be exhausting, but when you’ve been wounded, you develop your own psychological weapons: anything you can do to beat pain, fatigue, fear or even sadness becomes a major victory, complete with its powerful wings. Of course there’s something missing, but like the famous statue in the Louvre, we do have those wings to make up for it. Whatever the result, every day, we prove ourselves, show a tiny bit of heroism.

Fortunately, I wouldn’t take the stage on my own: the format was a dialogue with Mario Vargas Llosa, author of many masterpieces, including Conversation in the Cathedral, which has recently been issued in a new translation by Gallimard. A selection of his novels is going to appear in two volumes in the Pléiade edition. When he is not teaching at Princeton, Vargas Llosa lives in Madrid. He has a new novel (coming out in April in France) entitled Cinco Esquinas, «the four corners», after a neighborhood of Lima where criminality is rife. He is 79 years old, and exudes serenity, good cheer and approachability. He never stops writing, and on top of his fiction, he publishes editorials in El Pais every week. Through writing, one’s weaknesses and doubts are magically transformed. Mario Vargas Llosa looks every inch the civilized and profoundly healthy man he is. He’s had to cope with the terrorist methods of the Shining Path, and the disgraceful way in which some people justified the massacre of whole villages. His stance drew a lot of criticism from the left. To share the stage with him was a huge comfort to me.

It was a full house in McCosh 50. Obviously, my role was to share what I and my friends went through on January 7. I hadn’t done that since the spring, because I have no intention of becoming a professional victim, a kind of parrot perched on the barrel of the Kalachnikov that was fired at me. I do not want people to see me as a victim for the rest of my life, but it would be just as futile to live as if this event, and its consequences, didn’t have a huge purchase on my future, didn’t force me to see it and think it through differently. Throughout the discussion, as well as during the dinner that followed, in a quiet, provincial venue with a timeless feel to it, I was grateful for the intelligent hospitality of my hosts. But between each mouthful, each repartee, my mind wandered back to the wounded people who were starting their long fight to survive, to live again. I would have liked to tell every single one of them that in the space of a mere eleven months, a mangled jaw, reconstructed after much surgery, could eat and talk and function adequately in spite of all the snags these activities involved.

During the discussion, the front page of several issues of Charlie was projected on the screen behind me, from a vintage Cabu in 2006 up to the most recent one by Coco, showing a man riddled with bullets whom my talented friend has transformed into a fountain of Youth and delight. I did my best to comment on them, although I had my doubts about the validity of comments and explanations: drawings either speak for themselves or they don’t. At the end of the Q&A, an American lady came up to me and said that it was simultaneously essential and nearly impossible to laugh at such atrocities. According to her, Coco’s effort to fight despair was palpable in the very lines of her drawing. Unfortunately, the fight for civilization can’t be summed up with a bottle of champagne, she concluded with a smile. We’re all agreed on that, I answered, but it’s a good start.

“The Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack: Freedom of Speech in the Age of Radicalism”

Below are some images taken at the November 19th PLAS Lecture entitled “The Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack: Freedom of Speech in the Age of Radicalism”.  The lecture featured a conversation between Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature and a visiting professor in PLAS and Philippe Lançon, a survivor of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, moderated by Rubén Gallo, Director of PLAS.


Mario Vargas Llosa, Philippe Lançon, Rubén Gallo (left to right)

Mario Vargas Llosa, Philippe Lançon, Rubén Gallo (left to right) photo by Jennifer Cabral

hebdo 3

photo by Jennifer Cabral


hebdo 2

photo by Jennifer Cabral

A Taste of Cuba

The Vedado neighborhood of Havana after a thunderstorm. Poor drainage often left streets flooded.

Olivia Adechi ’16The Vedado neighborhood of Havana after a thunderstorm. Poor drainage often left streets flooded.

By Mark F. Bernstein ’83

Some things are universal: The first day of class is awkward, particularly at a new school, and it pays to break the ice. As Johannes Hallermeier ’16 discovered, this is no less true in Cuba than it is anywhere else.

Hallermeier was sitting with a handful of Princeton students and a dozen Cubans in a class on the history of Latin American thought at the University of Havana last February, as part of a revised and expanded study-abroad program. While they waited for the professor, the students kept to themselves — shuffling papers, playing with pens, staring silently at their wooden desks. As a rule, Hallermeier would learn, Cubans are friendly and outgoing people, but today, probably because of first-day nervousness, everyone avoided eye contact. It did not bode well for an engaging semester.

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Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS) Visiting Fellowships, 2016-2017

 Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS) Visiting Fellowships, 2016-2017

Job Title: Visiting Research Scholar — Requisition Number: 1500588
Deadline: October 15, 2015, 11:59 p.m. EST

The Program in Latin American Studies is launching an open call for applications for the 2016-2017 visiting fellowships. We are looking for top scholars in their field who have teaching experience and will provide Princeton students with a unique opportunity to study topics that are not regularly offered at Princeton. Applications will be accepted from outstanding scholars in the humanities and social sciences, as well as from established writers, artists, filmmakers, or architects working on projects relating to Latin America who are stellar teachers. For 2016-2017, we are particularly interested in candidates working in the following fields:

1) Cuban history, culture, and literature
2) Latin American architecture

Fellows will be appointed for either one or two semesters during the academic year, 2016-2017 (fall semester: September 1, 2016-January 31, 2017; spring semester: February 1-June 30, 2017). The Office of the Dean of the Faculty determines salary on the basis of current academic rank and award duration; appointment rank at Princeton is determined on the basis of experience and current institutional affiliation.

How to Apply
Application deadline is October 15, 2015, 11:59 p.m. EST. All candidates must use the online application process to submit materials and apply online at:

1) A cover letter indicating the applicant’s proposed length of stay (1-2 semesters), title of the proposed research project, and teaching interests;
2) A curriculum vitae (in English);
3) One undergraduate seminar proposal (or syllabus) for each proposed semester of the fellowship, including a statement of how this course(s) would enhance undergraduate education at Princeton;
4) A four-five page statement describing the research project and its scholarly contribution;
5) The names of three (3) referees (the Program will contact them, if needed, at a later date).

Fellows may teach one undergraduate course per semester, conditional upon sufficient enrollments and approval of a Princeton department and the Dean of the Faculty; and participate in PLAS-related events on campus.

Required Qualifications: Advanced degree preferred.

Princeton University is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.


por Gerardo Muñoz

¿Cuáles serían las imágenes que nos ayudan a combatir hoy el entusiasmo? Por entusiasmo comprendo aquí no solo la reacción generalizada que han despertado los recientes cambios diplomáticos entre Cuba y EEUU, sino también un modo de comprensión y lectura asociada con aquel momento en que el viejo Emanuel Kant trató de delimitar un modo de posicionarse ante el evento de la Revolución Francesa (1).

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