March 20, 2008
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Lucia M. Suárez, associate professor of Spanish, will give the annual Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lecture on “Ruins of Cuba: Memories of Havana,” a section of her book in progress, Looking for Cuba: Imagining a Nation, on Thursday, April 10, at 4:30 p.m. in Amherst College’s Alumni House. The talk will be followed by a reception for the author; both are free and open to the public.
Suárez’s book project began in 1991 when she visited Cuba for three months to interview Cuban women writers and to meet her paternal grandfather in preparation for her dissertation, which was to be about Cuba. At the time, however, Cuba and all issues Cuban were too controversial for exposure. So Suárez decided to change gears and write about Caribbean women writers in the diaspora—even though she has tirelessly read and taught about Cuba since. This year, she embarked on a personal, literary journey with her friend Ruth Behar. Together, they gathered autobiographical essays of Cubans living in multiple diasporas internationally. In the process of preparing this collaborative, forthcoming book, The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World, Suárez discovered that she was finally ready to write her own book about conflicts, heartache and love in Cuban literature and film. In particular, her research and writing look to the concept of ruin as a central unifying metaphor of Cuban experience. This is the work that will be presented on April 10.
At Amherst since 2006, Suárez regularly teaches courses in Spanish language, comparative Caribbean and diaspora films and literatures, Latino/a autobiography, testimonio and women’s writings. Her focus continues to be on issues of gender, memory, human rights, race, trauma, violence and human possibility.
The Lazerowitz Lectureship is awarded each year to support and encourage members of the Amherst College faculty in their scholarly work. The dean of the faculty, in conjunction with the Lecture Committee, selects the recipient, a member of the faculty below the rank of a full professor, who presents a lecture on his or her research.
The Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lectureship was established in 1985 to honor the parents of the late Morris Lazerowitz, professor emeritus of philosophy at Smith College.