Revolutionary Havana

Rom: Olav H. Hauge

Arrangør: Research Group for Radical Philosophy and Literature in collaboration with the House of Literature in Bergen


Cuba’s capital Havana was founded in 1519, and thus celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2019. Ever since its foundation, Havana has played a pivotal role in the country’s history, art and culture, and the city retains a mythic aura that seduces visitors and natives alike. We take this opportunity to explore what different representations of Havana may tell us about Cuba today, while also reassessing critically the artistic, literary and cultural representations of Cuba’s past. Through a special focus on the revolutionary Havana of the Castro era (1959–2018), this conference also draws attention to the relation between aesthetics and politics, both in its radical and totalitarian forms.   


10.00–10.15: Welcome
10.15–11.30: Adriana Méndez Rodenas (University of Missouri): Mapping Colonial Havana: La Condesa de Merlin’s Voyage of Return

11.30–12.15: Lunch

Ariel Camejo (University of Havana): The Invisible City. Repression and Expression of the Black Body in Representations of the Colonial Havana
Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik (University of Bergen): Havana By Night: Experiences of the Nocturnal in The Cuban Painted by Themselves (1852) and Types and Customs of the Island of Cuba (1881)
Gisle Selnes (University of Bergen): Phantasy and Utopia: Cuban Revolutions from Columbus to Cortázar

14.00–14.15: Coffee break

Haydée Arango (University of Havana): Antonio Benítez Rojo and Havana as a Caribbean city
Anna Forné (University of Gothenburg): The Precious Ambiguities of Political Writing. Reflections on the Testimonial Genre and Casa de las Américas’ Literary Award (1970-2017)
Hans Jacob Ohldieck (University of South-Eastern Norway): Explosions in a Cathedral: Havana as Capital of the Neobaroque

The seminar will be held in English.