Aruba to Cuba: Talk explores Caribbean’s image, stereotypes




    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The mystique of the Caribbean island chain will be the focus of the 15th annual Latin American and Latino Studies Heritage Lecture Oct. 27 at the University of Louisville.

    Columbia University humanities scholar and poet Gustavo Perez Firmat will give the free, public talk about “Pirates of the Caribbean: Exoticism and the Aesthetics of Diversity” at 4:30-5:30 p.m. in Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library.

    Born in Cuba and raised in the United States, Perez Firmat will discuss symbols and stereotypes that define the Caribbean to Americans through ads, travel brochures, songs and pop culture.

    He is the author of the poetry collections “The Last Exile,” “Scar Tissue” and “Bilingual Blues,” as well as other books, including “A Cuban in Mayberry,” “The Havana Habit,” “Life on the Hyphen,” “Tongue Ties” and “Next Year in Cuba.”

    Perez Firmat is Columbia’s David Feinson professor in the humanities and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Newsweek selected him in 1997 as one of 100 Americans to watch for the 21st century, and Hispanic Business magazine chose him as one of its 100 most influential Hispanics in the U.S.

    Perez Firmat also will present “Growing Old Bilingual,” a poetry reading in English, Spanish and “Spanglish,” about his life lived between languages. That program will be 11 a.m.-noon Oct. 27 in Room 139, Shumaker Research Building.

    Co-sponsors are the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, Liberal Studies Project, Cultural Center’s Hispanic/Latino Initiatives, Hispanic/Latino Faculty and Staff Association, anthropology department, English department’s Lucy Freibert Endowment, Latin American and Latino Studies Club, First Year Initiatives and the College of Arts and Sciences’ international, diversity and engagement programs office.

    For more information, contact Rhonda Buchanan at 502-852-2034 or


    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.