Hartwick in Cuba, January 2015

For Hartwick's 2015 January term, I went with my colleague Pat Dopazo and a group of 16 students to the central and western parts of Cuba, for the course, "Cuba in Flux."

Along the way, we met with people like students, professors, doctors, nurses, we visited museums and farms, went on walking tours of different areas, and enjoyed some Cuban music and food.

The students did some basic reading on Cuba during the fall and then selected individual topics on which to focus further, though many of them found those topics shifting over the course of our time in the country.

Obviously the timing could hardly be better, what with the recent announcement of a path toward normalizing diplomatic relations, with increased travel and economic connections presumably to follow. Unexpectedly, a U.S. delegation arrived in Cuba shortly before we left.

But this was no hasty response to the new situation. The formal planning began in September, 2013, and the idea was hatched almost two years ago.

I was just back from a course on "Post-communist Transition" in Ukraine and the Czech Republic, with Amy Forster Rothbart from our Political Science department. I was talking with Pat about another project we were working on, and she mentioned, "You know where would be a great place for a course about communism? Cuba."

And a mere two years later, off we went.

Internet access in Cuba was sporadic and expensive, as I'd been told to expect. So rather than trying to blog from there, I just took copious notes and tried to outline a daily post as we went along.

My plan is to finish a post every three or four days. My starting point will be what I wrote and outlined at the time, but where appropriate I may make reference to something I learned after the day in question, or something relevant that I've read since being back.

I think of it not as live-blogging, but as "live"-blogging.

I hope you enjoy it.

Day 1: And so it begins ...
Day 2: Nice to meet you, and you, and you, and you (etc.)
Day 3: We love you just the way (we think) you are
Day 4: Facades and interiors
Day 5: Your money where your mouth is
Day 6: Welcome, imperialist pigs!
Day 7: A package deal
Day 8: The colonization of mental space

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