My Native Land is Memory: Stories of Childhood in Cuba in the 1940s and 50s with Dr. Oliva Espin

My Native Land is Memory: Stories of Childhood in Cuba in the 1940s and 50s with Dr. Oliva Espin


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Join author and memoirist Olivia Espin to recreate a world that does not exist any longer: Cuba in the 1940s and 1950s. Based on the memoir of her years in Cuba as a child and adolescent, this seminar will explore pre-revolutionary Cuba by blending historical accounts and personal narrative. Stories about Cuba’s fraught history and political instability are interwoven with personal narrative to create a web of history, family stories, analysis, and memories.

This is a narrative of a young person’s struggle for identity and independence against the background of the country’s national struggle. Family photographs and site photographs will illustrate the narrative. Reading of some excerpts will illuminate and provide further details. Participants interested in learning about Cuban history without having to read historical treatises and participants interested in stories of human growth and development will find points of interest in this presentation. We might also discuss the memoir creation process during the Q & A if there is interest. It is unnecessary to read the memoir, My Native Land is Memory: Stories of a Cuban Childhoodin advance, but if participants would like to, they can easily find it through local or national booksellers, where you can also find reviews and comments.

Led by a psychologist and expert on Cuba, Dr. Oliva M. Espín, this interactive seminar will focus on pre-revolutionary Cuba. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased awareness of what life in Cuba was like before the Revolution, particularly for women, that will help them understand better the Cuba of today.

Oliva M. Espín is Professor Emerita in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University and the California School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Espín was a pioneer in the practice and theory of feminist therapy with women from different cultural backgrounds. A native of Cuba, she received her BA in Psychology from the University of Costa Rica and her PhD from the University of Florida. She did post-doctoral work at Harvard University with a fellowship from NIMH. Dr. Espín held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Gender Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. She has taught psychology of women, psychology of immigrants and refugees, issues of privilege and oppression, psychological perspectives on saints' histories, and other topics. She has presented at national and international conferences and published articles and books on women immigrants and refugees, language in therapy with fluent bilinguals, historical memory and memoir, and feminist psychological understandings of women saints. She recently published Gendered Journeys: Women, Migration, and Feminist Psychology (2015) and Women, Sainthood, and Power: A Feminist Psychology of Cultural Constructions (2020). Her most recent book is My Native Land is Memory: Stories of a Cuban Childhood (2020).

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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