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Catholic Memories in Revolutionary Cuba

November 14, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Institute of Latin America Studies invites you to the lecture “Catholic Memories in Revolutionary Cuba”, part of the Cuba and Beyond Series with speaker Petra Kuivala, M.Th..


Petra Kuivala, M.Th. is a junior researcher at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki. Her work in the field of church history analyzes the ecclesiological identity and memory of the Catholic Church in revolutionary Cuba (1959–1986). Kuivala’s research is based on field work in Cuba: she is one of the few international scholars to work in the archives of the Catholic Church in Cuba with collections dating to the revolution, and has conducted an extensive amount of interviews with Cuban Catholics. In 2015, Kuivala participated in the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba as an observer invited by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba.

The presentation explores the Catholic experience of living the revolution in Cuba in the 1960s–1980s. Looking into the church–state-conflict, ecclesiological debates and grassroots spirituality, the presentation suggests that the Cuban Catholic experience in the revolutionary reality remains an undiscovered collective perception that merges into living memory and dynamic processes of remembrance and reinterpretation in contemporary Cuba. With examples from both archives and oral histories, the talk argues that these experiences form the core of a distinct Cuban Catholic ecclesiastical identity and are still the framework of memory and narratives for the church in Cuba. Yet church history in Cuba remains silent, hidden history. This vital attribute of the church’s identity is not recognized as a part of the national revolutionary narrative. As such it can, however, also be seen as an alternative history to the Cuban revolution, challenging the revolutionary narrative and its frames of remembrance – challenging the recollection and narration of history provided by the revolution.


November 14, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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