Cuba: An Introduction to Old Havana with Dr. Teofilo Ruiz

Cuba: An Introduction to Old Havana with Dr. Teofilo Ruiz


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Cuba’s capital, Havana, is an unusual city with its mix of artistic and political movements, colonization processes, and migration influxes. In this conversation, we will discuss the city of La Habana (Havana), placing it in a historical context, but emphasizing the Old City dating from 1519.

With a focus on its old colonial core, this conversation will examine Havana’s colonial past, its role in the expansive Spanish Empire in the Americas, and its transition to Independence after 1902. We’ll trace the history of the city through 500 years, examining in detail Havana’s role in the revolutionary struggle.

We’ll also discuss its social, political, and economic distinctiveness in relation to the rest of the island (one of the reasons for the revolution), and the contrast between a renewed Old City under the auspices of UNESCO and most of the rest of the city which, after sixty years of neglect, has fallen into hard times. Regardless of whether the pristine historical center or the rest of the city, La Habana remains, like Venice, a transcendentally beautiful and engaging city.

Led by a Cuban-born historian, Dr. Teofila Ruiz, this seminar will awaken participants to the intriguing history of the UNESCO World Heritage site, Havana. Designed to inform curiosity and educate, this conversation will deepen our understanding of this fascinating city.

Teo F. Ruiz, PhD is a Cuban-American medieval historian and a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. He is the author of 15 books.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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