By Emily Kirk
With Karen Dubinsky, Professor of Global Development Studies/History, Queen’s University
Cynthia Wright, Assistant Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, York University
Zaira Zarza, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta.
Sandra Rein, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Alberta
Canada and Cuba have a long historical relationship, in governmental and non-governmental realms alike. While hundreds of Canadian students take part in educational exchanges from a variety of Canadian universities, Canadian/Cuban scholarly ties are not as strong as they are in the US or even the UK. There are a handful of internationally recognized Cuba scholars who have been working in Canada for some decades, among them John M. Kirk, Hal Klepak and Keith Ellis. Cuban scholarship in Canada is still notably scant and it cannot really be classified in generational terms. However, it is clear that the work of these senior scholars is bearing fruit, as other scholars located in Canada are increasingly working in Cuban Studies, in both teaching and research.
A few of these scholars came together recently to discuss their experiences. This isn’t an exhaustive or representative group. The participants in this roundtable conversation include those trained as Cubanists, trained in other fields but with more recent research and/or teaching ties to Cuba, and a Cuban educated in Canada. We came together to discuss what we see as the state of the field in Cuban/Canadian studies today and in the future.