Our conversation revolved around four thematic questions:
1. I wonder if we can start by talking about you. Can you tell us a little about yourself, and about how you got interested in Cuba and Cuban American studies and what drives your work—your professional passions. Dr. Hernandez-Reguant spoke of her journey in graduate school at the University of Chicago from the study of South Africa to Cuba in the 1990s; the motivations and context of field work, and the richness of her experiences in Cuba. We spoke as well about the extent to which those insights have provided substantial foundation for contemporary study of Cuban and Cuban diaspora engagement in culture, ideology, the culture of ideology and the ideology of cultures. In the process we considered the lie in political discourse, and the relationship between political speaking by leaders and the cultural concept of political trust.
2. You have done work since the 1990s on the commercialization of culture and its impact on socialist governance in Cuba. I was wondering if you might speak a little to that work and perhaps suggest some insights that can be of value as we look to the future in both Cuba and the great Cuban cultural center in Miami. We spoke to the notion of valuation, and of the valuation of political speech, and the consequences of its commercialization. We considered the nature of falsehood as either a matter of false perception or of perception falsely deployed. We spoke in this context to cultural reality as a function of ideology and its interconnection with value. In that context we engaged in a discussion of Dr. Hernandez-Reguant's role in the lawsuit filed by Ai Weiwei against the art of destruction of Florida artist Maximo Caminero for breaking a vase that was slated for breakage by Mr. Weiwei.
3. Spreading the word is always difficult, but your work in creating both CubaCounterpoints and the Ethno-Cuba web community has been remarkable. I was hoping you might speak to us a little about both, in terms of their histories, and some of the more interesting work and conversations that have emerged in both. We spoke to the difficulties of engaging in work as public intellectuals, especially in the context of Cuba and Cuban studies.She described her work in organizing both the 'zine Cuba Counterpoints and the Facebook group EthnoCuba.
4. I was wondering if we might speak to your work on Cubans-American politics during the 2020 presidential election. The Brownbag conversation you had with Tulane’s Dr. Carolina Caballero was fascinating. Might you speak a little about that work? We returned here to the subject of political trust, falsehood, and the shape of political support for Cubans in Miami during the 2020 Presidential election. We related that to the situation in Cuba.
We hope you find the discussion interesting and thought provoking We welcome your views. The video is posted to the CPE YouTube Channel (ASCE Interview Series Playlist) and the specific interview may be accessed HERE.