Pioneros: Building Cuba’s Socialist Childhood is a project of María A. Cabrera Arús.


María A. Cabrera Arús, project director, co-curator, and panel co-organizer, is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in Sociology at the New School for Social Research. Founder and author of Cuba Material, website dedicated to archive the material culture of Cuban socialism, María’s academic work focuses on the relationship between material culture and politics, with a special focus on practices of domination. She is also a collector of Cuban material culture from the Cold War era, and co-editor of the column “Souvenirs” of Cuba Counterpoints e-journal.

Meyken Barreto, co-curator and events co-coordinator, is an art critic and curator. Her research focuses on video and contemporary art from Cuba. She received Cuba’s National Curatorship Award in 2009 for the anthological exhibition Tanda Corrida: Cuban audiovisual exhibitions 2005-2008 (co-curated with Mailyn Machado). In 2014, she curated the video program for the exhibition Cuban America: An Empire State of Mind, on view at Lehman College, and co-curated (with Elvis Fuentes) the group exhibition Flow: Economies of the Look and Creativity in Contemporary Art from the Caribbean at IDB Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. She is a contributor to the publications ArteCubano, Art OnCuba, Cuban Art News, and Artnexus.

Geandy Pavón, guest artist, is a Cuban-born artist interested in the “conceptual aura” of ruins and decay, and in everyday practices of display and power, topics he has developed in his “Ruined Paintings” and “Wrinkle Paintings” series, celebrated in the New York Times. Pavon also engages issues of iconoclasm, totalitarianism, and ideology. Nemesis (2010-2012), one of his latest works, is a series of guerrilla projections of photographs of renowned dissidents and political prisoners on the facades of the embassies and consulates of their countries of origin. Pavon’s work has been featured in both individual and collective exhibitions.

Emilio García Montielmusic curator, is a poet and essayist. He has a PhD in History of Architecture from Tokio University, and is the author of Muerte y resurrección de Tokio (El Colegio de México, 1998) and Cultura Visual en Japón: Once Estudios Iberoamericanos (co-editor and author, El Colegio de México, 2009), as well as the poetry books Presentación del Olvido (Ediciones Malecón, 2011); El encanto perdido de la fidelidad (Letras Cubanas, 1991), which received the Critic’s Award in 1992; Cartas desde Rusia (Ministerio de Cultura, Ciudad de La Habana, 1989), Premio “Plural”, México, 1988; Squeeze Play (Universidad de La Habana, 1987), which received the award Universidad de La Habana in 1986; and Retrato de Grupo (co-editor and author, Letras Cubanas, 1989).

Jacqueline Losspanel co-organizer and discussant, is professor of Latin American and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. Author of Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary (University of Texas Press, 2013) and Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place (Palgrave, 2005), and co-editor, with José Manuel Prieto, of Caviar with Rum: Cuba-USSR and the Post-Soviet Experience (Palgrave 2012), and with Esther Whitfield, of New Short Fiction from Cuba (Northwestern University Press, 2007), Loss served as an advisor for Literature from the “Axis of Evil:” Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Other Enemy Nations (New Press, 2006). She has also translated into English diverse works by Cuban narrators and essayists.

Walfrido Dortapanel co-organizer and discussant, is a PhD candidate in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages at CUNY. Dorta’s work focuses on 20th century Latin American and Caribbean literatures, with a focus on intellectual history and critical theory. He has published a book on Cuban poet Gastón Baquero, and several articles in academic and cultural journals. His doctoral dissertation focuses on Cuban cultural dynamics in the past 30 years and the relationship between intellectuals and the State.


Also contributed:

Lisbet Corcoba, identity design., web design and support.

Pepe Menéndez, lender of posters.

Narryman Peña and Sergio Valdés García, music recording and mastering.

Ariana Barat, Jennifer Consoli, and Christine Adams, from the Printmaking department of Parsons School of Design/The New School, silkscreened the exhibition poster, under the supervision of William McHale, director.



Anya von Bremzen is one of the most accomplished food writers of her generation, winner of three James Beard awards, contributing editor at Travel + Leisure Magazine, and author of five acclaimed cookbooks. She contributes regularly to Food & Wine and Saveur, and has written for The New Yorker, Departures, and The Los Angeles Times. The New York Times described von Bremzen’s latest book, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, as “an ambitious food memoir that is also a meticulously researched history of the Soviet Union.”

Ana M. Dopico is associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature at NYU. Her research interests integrate theories of genre with culture and geopolitics. Her first manuscript, Houses Divided: Social Crisis and Genealogical Fantasies in Novels of the Americas (forthcoming, Duke University Press) deals with national and hemispheric politics and the novel as counter-history. Dopico is interested in the connection between critical and postcolonial theory and North-South Studies. Her research and writing on Latin America has focused on Chile, Mexico and most recently Cuba, tackling questions of nation, cultural and gender politics, political repression and the power of visual cultures. She is the author of the blog Cuba Cargo/Cult.

Jerry W. Carlson is professor of French, Film Studies, and Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where he is also Chair of the Department of Media & Communication Arts, at The City College, and Senior Producer, at CUNY TV. He received nine Emmy awards for “Nueva York” (2009) and the City Council of New York Citation award for CANAPÉ (2007).

Nina Khrushcheva is professor of International Affairs and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at New School University. She is a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute and a contributing editor to Project Syndicate: Association of Newspapers Around the World. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a recipient of Great Immigrants: The Pride of America Award from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Khrushcheva is the author of Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics (Yale UP, 2008) and The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into the Gulag of the Russian Mind (Tate, 2014).

Elzbieta Matynia is professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies and director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at The New School for Social Research. Her research in the sociology of politics and art focuses on democratic transitions in Eastern Europe and beyond, on the concept of borderlands in the new shared Europe, and more recently on the challenges faced by democracies emerging with a legacy of violence. She has published An Uncanny Era: Conversations between Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik (Yale University Press, 2014) and Performative Democracy (Paradigm, 2009).

Virag Molnar is assistant professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research. Her research explores the intersections of culture, politics, social change, and knowledge production, with special focus on urban culture and transformations of the built environment. She has written about the relationship between architecture and state formation in socialist and postsocialist Eastern Europe, the post-1989 reconstruction of Berlin, and the new housing landscape of postsocialist cities. Virag Molnar is author of Building the State: Architecture, Politics and State Formation in Postwar Central Europe (Routledge, 2014). Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship.

José M. Prieto is an author and translator. He holds a Ph.D. in History and is the recipient of the Margaret and Herman Sokol Fellowship from The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers of The New York Public Library (2004-2005). He has been awarded as well fellowships from the Sistema Nacional de Creadores in México, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Santa Maddalena Foundation, from Florence, Italy. He is the author of Rex (Grove Press, 2010), Enciclopedia of a Live in Russia (Grove Press, 2013; Spanish version by Mondadori, Barcelona, 2003), Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire (Livadia) (Grove Press, 2009), Livadia (Mondadori, Barcelona, 1998), El Tartamudo y la rusa (Tusquets, México 2002), Treinta días en Moscú (travel account) (Mondadori, Barcelona. 2001), among other books of fiction. Livadia has been translated into more than seven languages and has received exceptional reviews in the United States, France, and Italy.

Abel Sierra Madero has a PhD in History and is a PhD student in Literature at NYU. He studies the relationship between sexuality and gender and the processes of nation-building and nationalism, and is the author of Del otro lado del espejo. La sexualidad en la construcción dela nación cubana (Casa de las Américas 2006). Sierra Madero has received grants from the Erasmus Mundus Visiting Fellows program and the Ford Foundation/SEPHIS program, and is the recipient of the Casa de las Américas award. He is also a Martin Duberman fellow (2011), a member of the GEXcel International Collegium for Advanced Transdisciplinary Gender Studies, and the Cuban Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC).

Asori Soto is a documentary director, founder of the Cuban Independent Film Movement. He received the Best Narrative Director award from the Havana New Directors Film Festival, and is currently working in bringing a better understanding of Cuba to the world through film and projects that will empower Cuban entrepreneurs.