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Roots, Culture, & Rhythm in Havana

  • City: Havana
  • Term: Spring
  • Instruction in: English
  • Students interested in: Afroamerican and African Studies; LACS, Humanities, SMTD

Africans have contributed to the cultural landscape of Cuba since the transatlantic slave trade. This 3-week, 3-credit course takes an interdisciplinary approach in examining three areas of focus: The deep roots of Cuban popular music and dance; how the spiritual practices of the Yoruba, Haitian and Congo peoples have contributed to the evolution of musical, dance and art practices of Cubans, especially those of AfroCuban heritage; and how these practices have shaped ideas around race and identity, historically and in the present. As an extension of class sessions, a variety of excursions are planned for the student learning experience in Havana. Some of the excursions will include a visit to Revolution Square, Jose Martí Memorial, Museo de Bellas Artes, Regla, and Casa de Africa with a didactic Afro-Cuban Show. There is a dance component to this program. No prior dance or music experience is required;  however, students are required to engage in the physical component of the course. This program is taught and led by U-M Associate Professor of Dance Robin Wilson.