Anthropologist to Discuss Race in Cuba and United States

Posted on 2/7/2017 6:31:00 AM

Dr. Shawn Alfonso WellsCarnegie Mellon University anthropologist Shawn Alfonso Wells will give a presentation titled “Experiences of Blackness in Cuba and the United States” on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, comparing and contrasting racial and cultural issues in these countries. 

The lecture will take place 6:30–7:30 p.m. in Room B-11 of the Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

Peoples of African descent in Cuba and the US share similar histories, but racial identities and race relations in these countries have some striking differences. Wells, instructor of anthropology and history at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, will discuss the contributions and challenges of African-Americans and Afro-Cubans in their respective countries, noting how race is conceptualized in each society.

Wells earned her doctoral degree in anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 with a dissertation titled “Cuban Color Classification and Identity Negotiation: Old Terms in a New World.” Her primary areas of research include race, ethnicity, sex, and gender in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is currently teaching at Carnegie Mellon University in the Department of History, and she is planning to co-lead a University of Pittsburgh study abroad program in Cuba in summer 2017.

This presentation is sponsored by the Pan-African Studies Program. It is free and open to the public; attendance vouchers will be provided. Questions may be sent to the program coordinator, Marveta Ryan-Sams, at