UC Cuba
Who We are and What We Do

“There is no academic community in the world quite like UC Cuba…”

Dr. Tom McEnaney, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, Spanish and Portuguese, and New Media, University of California Berkeley


In 2006, professors from nine UC campuses came together to create the UC-CUBA Multi-Campus Academic Initiative. Headquartered at UC Irvine, UC-Cuba has grown since then into a diverse and thriving international network of university faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars, united by their shared passion for all things Cuban. Together, we work to foster innovative, multidisciplinary research on a broad range of Cuba-related topics, seeking in the process to bridge the multiple divides – disciplinary, territorial, ideological – that prevent us from seeing and appreciating la isla in all its beauty and complexity. 


Join us in supporting our work!

UC-CUBA invites all who share our love for Cuba to join us in supporting the creation of new knowledge about la isla’s multifaceted history and contemporary realities.

  • Join us in exceeding our goal to raise $13,000+ to meet gaps in our 2021/22 administrative and operational budget. Your generous contribution to the Social Science eGiving Fund in support of UC Cuba will allow us to fund our upcoming 2021/22 graduate workshop and conference, at which the next generation of Cuba scholars will receive feedback and support to join the ranks of UC Cuba’s published authors.
  • We are also seeking to raise an additional $12,000, which will allow us to provide eight $1,500 research grants to graduate students. Each of these research grants scholarship allows a UC Cuba PhD student to spend 2-3 weeks conducting dissertation research in Cuba. Your investment will have a direct impact on enhancing the work of our graduate students. Because of Cuba’s success in controlling the spread of Covid-19 on the island, together with the accelerating roll-out of vaccines in the U.S. this spring, we are confident these research trips will proceed as planned!


3 Reasons to Give to UC-Cuba:

  1. UC Cuba engages directly with scholars and leaders on the island on issues of pressing global importance, including Cuba’s swift response to the coronavirus, its innovations in area of sustainable development and biotechnology, and its important contributions to the fight against chronic disease, including cancer and diabetes.
  2. UC Cuba provides meaningful opportunities for arts lovers to experience the island’s rich artistic and cultural traditions firsthand, and to connect personally with some of la isla’s leading artists and cultural producers. 
  3. UC Cuba transcends divisions and brings people together to learn from one another about the “real” Cuba, in all its rich and complex realities.   


More on UC-CUBA

The only such program in the United States, in the fifteen years since its founding UC-CUBA has organized ten multi-campus conferences & workshops, held at UC Irvine. It has also awarded more than seventy research and travel grants to doctoral students in fourteen different disciplines from eight UC campuses. In collaboration with partners on the island, which include leading national institutions such as la Casa de las Américas, Instituto de Estudios Martianos, Instituto de Historia de Cuba, Instituto de Ciencias y Tecnologías, ICAIC and UNEAC, Revista Temas, and the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, UC-Cuba has also provided logistical support to faculty and graduate students from the UC system and beyond to do research in Cuba. In 2017 and 2018 we returned the favor, hosting distinguished Cuban physicist Jesús Rubayo and Nobel-prize nominated author Leonardo Padura as the first Cuban scholars and artists-in-residence to the UC system since the 1950s.

In recent years, UC-Cuba scholars have published groundbreaking books with top-tier academic presses. These include Anita Casavantes Bradford, The Revolution is for the Children: The Politics of Childhood in Havana and Miami, 1959-1962;Tom McEnaney, Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas; Monika Gosin, The Racial Politics of Division; Hanna Garth, Food in Cuba: The Pursuit of a Decent Meal; Teishan Latner, Cuban Revolution in America: Havana and the Making of a U.S Left, 1968-1992; and Elizabeth Schwall, Dancing With the Revolution. UC-CUBA has also supported the publication of the two edited volumes, including Nancy Burke, ed., Health Travels: Cuban Health Care On and Off the IslandOur scholars also publish in leading scholarly journals, including Cuban Studies, Diplomatic History, Latin American Research Review, The American Anthropologist, Latino Studies, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of American Ethnic History, Gender and History, The Journal of Musicology, Dance Chronicle, and SOULS: a Critical Journal of Black Politics.


For more information on UC Cuba, please visit our website at: https://www.uccuba.socsci.uci.edu/



“There is no academic community in the world quite like UC Cuba. It provides a home to people studying everything from botany to Benny Moré. With a network of faculty and graduate students representing the entire UC system and most disciplines, with close ties to artists, architects, historians, scientists, and writers throughout the island, UC Cuba has transformed Cuban studies in the United States. As a former graduate student who received a summer fellowship from UC Cuba and who is now lucky enough to be a professor associated with the initiative, I can honestly say that I owe much of my career to the mentorship and friendship of students and colleagues in the group. I can't imagine the UC or Cuba without it.” 

Dr. Tom McEnaney, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, Spanish and Portuguese, and New Media, University of California Berkeley


“UC Cuba has broadened my academic and cultural horizons in so many ways. It allowed me to meet and learn from Leonardo Padura, perhaps the best modern author on Cuban history and culture. It has sponsored student exchanges that allowed undergraduate and graduate students to visit Cuba and obtain unique material for their dissertations. As a faculty member, I was able to listen to the reports from this diverse group of students and learn about issues far from my own narrow expertise. UC Cuba allowed us to sponsor visitors from Cuba so that they could see the REAL USA and California, as opposed to that portrayed in the press. Finally, UC Cuba opened doors for me to meet and learn from scientists throughout Latin America to obtain perspectives normally not available to me.” 

Dr. Ken Janda, Professor Emeritus, Physics, and former Dean, School of Physical Sciences, University of California Irvine

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Or you can contact us at james.yokelle@uci.edu.