Exploring the Cuban diaspora in Miami and beyond, University of Miami visiting professor and author Ruth Behar, along with editor Lucía M. Suárez, combines the experiences of many to uncover how movement has impacted identity.
The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World gathers writers, poets and artists who tell their stories of defining themselves as Cuban despite their location. Contributors include people who live on the island, those who have returned to live there and individuals who call Paris, Moscow and Puerto Rico home. The wide representation of the Cuban diaspora is a component of the work Behar was proud to demonstrate.
“The Cuban experience is a big mosaic with each person adding something to the vast tapestry,” Behar said in an interview with The Miami Hurricane. “You could be Cuban plus any other number of things.”
For Behar, she identifies herself as a Cuban Jew. In her recent memoir, An Island Call Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba, she explores the modern day Jewish community on the island and recounts the journey back to her place of birth. Her parents left the island when she was four because of the communist regime. Now immersed in academia, the writer and documentary filmmaker delivers lectures and teaches about ethnography, anthropology and Cuban culture.
Behar and Suárez, along with contributors Richard Blanco and Jose Kozer, poets from Miami and Hallandale Beach, will each speak about their own experiences for the release of The Portable Island. With different perspectives, each will prove that the Cuban experience is not the same for everyone but they all have one thing in common.
“Everybody feels an identity with Cuba,” Behar said.
IF YOU GO
Who: Ruth Behar is an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan and chair of the advisory board of the University of Miami School of Communication Knight Center for International Media. For the Spring 2008 semester and the Spring 2009 semester, Behar holds the University of Miami Henry King Stanford Chair in the Humanities Distinguished Visiting Professor at the College of Arts and Sciences.
What: The release of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World, a compilation edited by Ruth Behar and Lucía M. Suárez.
Where: Books & Books, Coral Gables
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
When: Feb. 26, 2009
8 to 10 p.m.