Category: Cuba Week Speakers

Steve Miller

Steven Miller, co-director of the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship, came to The University of Alabama in 1988. He teaches letterpress printing, hand papermaking, and coordinates the Master of Fine Arts in the book arts program. Although his primary focus at the University is in the teaching of traditional bookmaking, he is also the proprietor of Red Hydra Press and collaborates on various limited-edition publishing projects with authors and artists. He is a co-director of Paper and Book Intensive. He is president of the Advisory Board of the Robert C. Williams American Museum of Papermaking in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a past president of the Friends of Dard Hunter, Inc.

Karina Paz Ernand

Karina Paz Ernand is a professor in the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Visual Media at Havana University, where she teaches television and video, the history of cinema, as well as workshops on audiovisual critique. Her studies in cinema criticism have appeared on TV and in many specialized publications. Her research is focused on studies about audiovisual grammar and “transversalización” of gender studies in cinema and visual media. Her most recent publication is “The Mystery of the Arrow’s Flies,” which discusses the cinematographic career of Cuban director Fernando Pérez.

Seth Panitch

Seth Panitch is professor of acting and heads the Master of Fine Arts and undergraduate acting programs at The University of Alabama.  A professional director, actor, playwright and screenwriter, Seth has worked internationally in Havana, Cuba, with the Ministry of Culture (directing productions of The Merchant of VeniceA Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Importance of Being Earnest, Beyond Therapy, and Alcestis Ascending). He has also worked at multiple off-Broadway theatres, Shakespeare festivals, and regional theatres. His plays Hell: Paradise Found, Alcestis AscendingDammit, Shakespeare!, and What’s Taking Moses So Long? have received critical success in New York, Los Angeles, and Havana, Cuba. He recently completed the feature film Service to Man, which has won awards at multiple film festivals across the country.

Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe is a professor of jazz studies at The University of Alabama and a former Leadership Board Faculty Fellow. Wolfe has had the opportunity to perform with some of the most respected jazz musicians of the day. Most recently, he teamed up with guitar-legend Gene Bertoncini to release Floating on the Silence, which received wide critical acclaim. Wolfe has served as a faculty member and performing artist at the Romanian Jazz Education Summit in Timisoara, Romania. He was also the first jazz musician to receive the distinguished Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. In 1998 he became a Kennedy Center/USIA Jazz Ambassador and toured several countries in North and West Africa, including a performance at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Wolfe serves as a clinician and adjudicator at college and high school festivals and jazz camps throughout the region.

Debra Whisenant

Debra Whisenant received her Ph.D. in health sciences with an emphasis in international health from Touro University in Vallejo, California. Her doctoral preparation included directed studies in epidemiology, statistics, health promotion, and disease prevention.

She completed a post-doctoral residency in outcomes research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Along with a Master of Science in nursing, she also holds a Master of Science in public health.

Whisenant has worked in a variety of patient care settings, including neurological trauma, critical care, and organ donation. She has published and presented nationally and internationally on community health promotion, international health promotion, and organ donation.

She is currently conducting research on civic and health based-promotion and the impact of lay individuals as health promoters for organizations. Whisenant is involved in a number of professional organizations, including the Southern Nursing Research Society, the Alabama League for Nursing, and the Alabama Health Action Coalition.

Rick Streiffer

Rick Streiffer, the dean of the College of Community Health Sciences at The University of Alabama, earned a bachelor’s degree in math from Tulane University, a medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine, and completed his family medicine residency at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences. Streiffer has been recognized during his career with several teaching awards, including the Outstanding Alumni Award for Academic Achievement from the College of Community Health Sciences. Over the course of his career, Streiffer has been the project director on several federal training grants with a focus on primary care education and development of a rural physician workforce. He founded the Tulane Rural Medical Education Program and created the Tulane Rural Immersion Program with the support of a grant from the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. He also received a $1 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant to oversee the development of a medical home curriculum within the required family medicine clerkship at Tulane. Throughout his career, Streiffer has maintained an active primary care practice, and he is board-certified in family medicine and holds a Certificate of Added Qualification in Geriatrics.

Ellen Griffith Spears

Ellen Griffith Spears is an associate professor in New College and the Department of American Studies at The University of Alabama. Her interdisciplinary scholarship blends environmental history, critical regional studies, and study of the U.S. South in a global context. Her book, Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution,and Justice in an All-American Town, explores how systemic racial and class inequalities reinforced during the Jim Crow era played out in the social movement for environmental justice in one southern U.S. city. The book has won a number of awards, including the Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association, and the Arthur J. Viseltear Award for Outstanding Contribution to the History of Public Health from the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association.

Sarah Moody

Sarah Moody received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and is an associate professor of Spanish at UA, where she teaches Latin American literature in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics. Her research has examined modernism and women’s writing in Latin American literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries, focusing especially on the relationship between aesthetic systems and identity formulations like gender or nationalism. Her research takes her to archives in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Uruguay, and she has presented nationally and internationally on varied topics related to literature and culture of postcolonial Latin America. Her current book project explores intellectual networks and ideas of feminine aesthetics in modernismo.

Karen H. Gardiner

Karen H. Gardiner teaches in the Department of English at The University of Alabama. From 2002 to 2015, she served as writing program administrator with the First-Year Writing Program, one of UA’s largest undergraduate programs, first as assistant and associate director and then as program director from 2008 to 2015. She is now the coordinator of academic integrity initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences, but she continues to teach Cuba-themed courses for the First-Year Writing Program. She has previously presented on the First-Year Writing Program’s Alabama-Cuba Writing Collaboration project at the Alabama-Cuba Conference in Havana (2012) and at the Writing Research Across Borders Conference in Paris (2014).

Hank Lazer

Hank Lazer has published 23 books of poetry, including Poems Hidden in Plain View (2016, in English and in French), Brush Mind: At Hand (2016), N18PortionsThe New Spirit, and Days. His selected poems have appeared in bilingual editions in China and Italy and will be published shortly in Cuba by Torre de Letras Press.  He has traveled to Cuba on four occasions, giving readings, talks, and, with Andrew Raffo Dewar, two jazz-poetry concerts. In 2015, Lazer was selected to receive Alabama’s most prestigious literary prize, the Harper Lee Award, for lifetime achievement in literature. Lazer retired from The University of Alabama in January 2014 from his positions as associate provost for academic affairs, executive director of Creative Campus, and professor of English.