William Luis

Afro-Cuban Intellectuals and Artistic Creation

April 28, 2016

Professor William Luis is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Spanish at Vanderbilt University. He has held teaching positions at Dartmouth College, Yale University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Binghamton University. Professor Luis was awarded a 2012-2013 Guggenheim Fellowship for his project titled “The Life and Works of the Cuban Slave Poet Juan Francisco Manzano.” Professor Luis has published thirteen books and more than one hundred scholarly articles. His authored books include Literary Bondage: Slavery in Cuban Narrative (1990), Dance Between Two Cultures: Latino Caribbean Literature Written in the United States (1997), Culture and Customs of Cuba (2001), Lunes de Revolución: Literatura y cultura en los primeros años de la Revolución Cubana (2003), Juan Francisco Manzano: Autobiografía del esclavo poeta y otros escritos (2007), and Las vanguardias del Caribe: Cuba, Puerto Rico y la República Dominicana (2010). Professor Luis is the editor of the Afro-Hispanic Review.

Born and raised in New York City, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York in Binghamton. Subsequently, her earned two Master of Arts degrees: the first, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and the second, from Cornell University. He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He is widely regarded as a leading authority on Latin American, Caribbean, Afro-Hispanic, and Latino U.S. literatures.

Professor William Luis will give a keynote address at the Conference, Afro Cuban Artists: A Renaissance. The title of his presentation is: “Afro-Cuban Intellectuals and Artistic Creation.”
Date: Thursday, April 28, from 3:30 to 4:30
Where:  Hampton Inn
Free and open to the public
This presentation will focus on the long-standing tradition of Afro-Cuban intellectuals, whose contributions to creating a Cuban-style national culture can be traced to the colonial period, before Cuba became a republic.  In the early period, beginning with the first decades of the nineteenth century, foundational writers, such as the slave writer Juan Francisco Manzano and later the mulatto poet Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés (Plácido), were instrumental in setting the parameters for the birth of a truly national expression.  In the contemporary period Afro-Cubans continue to expand the concept of Cuban culture. With this in mind, Professor Luis will also analyze the works of Afro-Cuban artists such as Diago, Choco, and Manuel Mendive, among others.
Professor Luis will also participate in the round table discussion with keynote speakers and artists.
Date: Friday, April 29, from 3:15 to 4:15
Where: Hampton Inn
Free and open to the public
William LUIS keynote presentation