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Havana, Cuba

Cuba Center Presentations

Organized by the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship, the Cuba Center Presentations is a monthly program to feature the research supported by the Center. UA professors participating in the week-long programs at La Havana are invited to present a seminar to feature their research results in collaboration with Cuban colleagues from The University of La Havana. 

The presentations, which are free and open to the public, cover a range of topics, including science, engineering, medicine, film, theatre, literature, and art.


Mangrove conservation and mapping in Cuba

Presenter: Dr. Michael Steinberg

Date: December 1, 2022

Time: 4 PM

Place: 1803 Capital Hall

Professor Michael Steinberg’s research (New College and Geography) focuses on cultural ecology, biogeography, endangered species, and remote sensing, and forest cover changes.

This talk will examine the current status of mangrove forests and efforts to manage and conserve them in Cuba. The talk will highlight efforts to map and monitor mangroves as part of a larger effort to sustainably manage this critical environment.

Collaboration, Connectivity and Community: Establishing Musical Partnerships between the UA School of Music and the Instituto Superior de Arte

Presenter:       Osiris Molina, Professor of Clarinet and Woodwind Area Coordinator, School of Music.
Date:               March 24, 2022
Time:               4 PM
Place:              Zoom Conference

Since 2009, The University of Alabama School of Music has been fortunate to establish formal relationships and collaborate with our Cuban counterparts at the ISA conservatory. This discussion is about our experiences, collaborations, and the projects that have come to fruition through this relationship.


National Identity and Justifying Enslavement in Plantation Paintings of Cuba and the U.S. South

Presenter:       Rachel Stephens, Associate Professor of Art History, Department of Art and Art History.
Date:               October 20, 2021
Time:               4 PM
Place:              Zoom Conference

Associate Professor Rachel Stephens’ research focuses on nineteenth-century American art and visual culture, especially antebellum southern art, race and representation, and Jacksonian-era portraiture and political prints. Her first book, Selling Andrew Jackson: Ralph E. W. Earl and the Politics of Portraiture, was published in June 2018 with the University of South Carolina Press. Her current book project, Hidden in plain Sight: Slavery and Concealment in Antebellum American Art, is under contract with the University of Arkansas Press.

This presentation focuses on art that was produced in support of plantation cultures and economies prior to emancipation in Cuba and the U.S. South, respectively. In comparing the pro-slavery works of each region, significant similarities and differences emerge that enlighten the specificity of slavery promotion in each place. While southern plantation scenes either exclude enslaved people or depict them as an idle, happy aspect of the family unit, Cuban scenes tend to depict industrious, albeit tiny, enslaved people working in technologically advanced settings. Although both sub-genres promoted slavery, the American scenes justified the hierarchy of the institution as naturally beneficial, while the Cuban scenes celebrated the efficiency of the system to entice additional Spanish investment and settlement. A comparative approach reveals how both regions’ works romanticized the plantation system and its tamed landscape, de-humanized enslaved African Americans, and exposed the great extent to which artists were implicated in justifying enslavement.

Alabama in Cuba: Postcards, Soto, Padura and the Rolling Stones

Presenter: Michael Schnepf, Emeritus Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages & Classics
Date: April 14, 2021
Time: 3:00 PM
Place: Zoom meeting

Professor Schnepf directed nine semester undergraduate programs in Cuba for The University of Alabama between 2009 and 2017. His Talk will provide an oral and written overview of what BAMA students experienced and accomplished during their time in Cuba. 

Cuban Health Care – Lessons from an Unlikely Land

Presenter: Richard Streiffer, MD, Professor of Family Medicine and Past Dean, College of Community Health Sciences
Date: March 3, 2021
Time: 4:00 PM
Place: Zoom meeting

Since 1959, Cuba has built a coherent health care system based around neighborhood-based primary care teams and clearly articulated principles including unisexual access, prevention first, and the integration of social services and public health with medicine. As a result, as a country, its health status has advanced from one of a developing nation to near or exceeding that of the US – all at a fraction of the per capita cost. How has this been achieved? What lessons might apply in the US?


The Art of Printmaking in Havana / El Arte del Grabado en La Habana

Presenter: Sarah Marshall, Associate Professor of Art Printmaking
Date: Friday, January 24
Time: 3:00 PM
Place: Capital Hall Room 1803

Professor Marshall teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in printmaking. Since joining the faculty in 2001, her work has been included in national and international printmaking exhibitions including: Global Matrix4th Minnesota National Print Biennial and 17th Parkside National Small Print Exhibition. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Alabama, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In conjunction with her studio practice, Marshall has presented lectures and demonstrations at the College Art Association, the State University of West Georgia, West Virginia University and the University of North Alabama.

Marshall is interested in how everyday experiences are constructed and recorded in the human mind. Her work explores the links between direct sensory encounters and a rich history of belief, imagination, and memory. Plant forms, animal forms and the figure reference the physical world. Manipulated words and letterforms, and references to language and translation suggest the complexities of human thought, learning and behavior. She often works with appropriated source imagery, cutting apart and recombining elements, and abstracting them through simplification, repetition, and layering. Her attraction to the multiple comes from the possibility of infinite variation as much as infinite repeatability, and a family of related images often replaces the edition in her studio practice.

Reefs of Cuba: a tale of three oceans / Arrecifes de Cuba: un cuento con tres océanos

Presenter: Dr. Marcello Minzoni, Assitant Professor of Geological Sciences
Date: Friday February 21
Time: 3:30 PM
Place: Capital Hall Room 1803

Research Interests

My main research interest revolves around marine and non-marine sedimentary basins, the sedimentary and diagenetic evolution of carbonate systems, and mixed carbonate-clastic systems, and the development of quantitative models and workflows to identify and characterize these systems from 2D and 3D seismic data. Much of my research focuses on unraveling and quantifying the various mechanisms that impact the occurrence, evolution, and demise of carbonate platforms and reefs and the application of conceptual models to the exploration for hydrocarbon reservoirs. Areas of particular interest include the Jurassic Smackover play in the Gulf of Mexico, the South-Atlantic pre-salt carbonate play, the Permo-Triassic carbonates in south China, and the Mesozoic-Cenozoic carbonates in Italy.

Current Research Projects

I am searching for motivated students with a passion in sedimentology, stratigraphy, diagenesis, and basin analysis to tackle some of our outstanding questions on carbonate systems as archives of Earth’s chemical and biological history and important targets in energy exploration. Contact me if this is you!

Research Groups

  • Center for Sedimentary Basin Studies
  • Petroleum Geology Research Group

From the Countess of Merlín to Martí: Cuban Literature of the Nineteenth Century

Presenter: Dr. Sarah Moody, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies program.
Date: Thursday, November 21
Time: 3:00 PM
Place: Capital Hall Room 1803

Principal Areas of Research

  • Modernismo and women’s writing in Latin America
  • Feminism, gender theory, aesthetics, and intellectual networks
  • Nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Professor Moody’s research examines Modernismo and women’s writing in Latin American literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries, especially focusing on the relationship between aesthetic systems and identity formulations like gender or nationalism. She has published on Delmira Agustini’s radically feminist poetics, on the journalism of women from Argentina and Brazil around the turn of the 20th century, and on newspaper chronicles and poetry in dialogue with urban reform in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Recent articles focus on Eduarda Mansilla’s daring interpretation of a foundational myth of Argentine national identity in the mid-19th century, as well as on the complex gender philosophies in Manuel Ugarte’s early literary work on Paris. She is also interested in Brazil’s relationship to the rest of Latin America, and in literary and journalistic responses to city modernization and to European modernity.

Professor Moody’s current book project, Las Raras: Gendered Aesthetics, Women’s Writing and Intellectual Networks in Spanish-American Modernismo, examines ideas of femininity that were both fundamental to Modernismo’s formation and exclusionary towards women’s active participation in the movement as writers and authors. Her study helps to explain why this important literary movement admitted no women writers unconditionally. The project explores the formation of the Modernista rhetoric of femininity, and goes on to consider women writers’ strategies to find literary success in spite of that rhetorical system, such as by attacking it directly or by circulating their work outside the movement’s systems of prestige and authority.

Professor Moody teaches Latin American literature, ranging from the colonial period to the 20th century for undergraduates, and focusing on 1800-1915 at the graduate level. She has directed several dissertations. Through the Critical Languages Center, she supports the Portuguese program as an outside examiner. She also handles the Portuguese and Spanish proficiency exams for MLC; graduate students wishing to demonstrate their proficiency in these languages may learn more here.

Her professional memberships include the Latin American Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, and the American Comparative Literature Association.


Richard Streiffer, Professor of Family Medicine and Past Dean, College of Community Health Sciences, The University of Alabama. Streiffer earned 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. While at the University of La Havana Streiffer has met with Dr. Vanessa Vazquez and with several physicians from the School of Medicine. He has been working for several years with research projects involving medical issues in La Havana. As a leader of health professionals from The University of Alabama, Dr. Streiffer has been working with the rest of the team (Austin, Erwin, Markaki, Robinson, and Turan) in collaborative health projects in rural communities in La Havana.

Suzanne Austin, is currently Professor of Epidemiology and Senior Vice Provost and Senior International Officer, The University of Alabama at Birmingham and will assume the role of Provost at the College of Charleston in July 2020. Dr. Austin received her Ph. D. in History at Duke University focusing on Latin American Historical Demography and Epidemiology. While in the campus of The University of La Havana she met with Dr. Vanessa Vazquez and physicians from the School of Medicine. Her focus is on community health, health promotion both in nutrition and maternal health.

Paul Erwin, Dean and Professor, School of Public Health, The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Erwin received his DPH from the University of North Carolina, Gilling’s School of Global Public Health from the department of Health, Policy, and Administration. During his trip to Cuba, Dr. Erwin met with Dr. Vanessa Vazquez, PhD and physicians from the Medical School. Dr. Erwin is interested in initiating collaboration with health professionals in Cuba and The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Adelais Markaki, Associate Professor of Nursing and Deputy Director of PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center for International Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Markaki received her Ph. D. in Medicine at the University of Crete within the Division of Social and Family Medicine. She has been teaching at The University of Alabama at Birmingham since 2016. In Cuba, Dr. Markaki met with Vanessa Vazquez and physicians from the Medical School.

Cecil Robinson, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Classics, The University of Alabama. Dr. Robinson received his Ph. D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado. He was also an Emerging Leaders Fellow in the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (2017). Dr. Robinson met with Health Professionals from the University of La Havana and physicians from the School of Medicine. Drs. Streiffer and Robinson have been collaborating together with the Health professionals in Cuba.

Janet Turan, Professor of Public Health and Director of the Sparkman Center for Global Health, The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Turan received her Ph. D. and MPH at Johns Hopkins University in Public Health, Population. She did her Postdoc at the University of California, San Francisco in AIDS Prevention Studies. Dr. Turan met with Health professionals at The University of La Havana y with physicians from the Medical School in La Havana with the goal to develop professional collaboration in health-related projects.