Maya Berry

AFAS Featured Event: Talk with Maya Berry The Black Corporeal Undercommons in Post-Fidel Cuba

Historic expansion of market reforms in post-Fidel Revolutionary Cuba has contributed to increasingly stark racialized class inequality on the island. The contours of these socioeconomic changes are felt and mediated by Black people in distinctly gendered ways. In this talk, based on ethnographic fieldwork with rumberos (rumba performers) between 2012 and 2018, the embodied practices of African-inspired faith systems are engaged as means for ritual kin to form a space of well-being autonomous from the state and its development designs.

Maya J. Berry is a dancer, performance scholar, and social anthropologist by training who brings a Black feminist approach to her research on the Black political imagination in Havana, Cuba. Her writing appears in American AnthropologistAfro-Hispanic ReviewBlack Diaspora ReviewCultural AnthropologyCuban Studies, Dance Research Journal, and the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. Prior to joining the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as assistant professor of African diaspora studies, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars (formerly the Woodrow Wilson Foundation), and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, among others.