Raúl Rubio is Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at John Jay College of the City University of New York (CUNY). A Hispanist and cultural studies scholar, his research is grounded in the emerging interdisciplinary field of material culture, which examines a wide-range of artifacts, from cultural commodities to the museum archive. Professor Rubio’s book La Habana: cartografías culturales was published in 2013 by the Aduana Vieja press of Spain. The book examines the worldwide fascination with Cuba and things Cuban during the last century, particularly envisioning how the city of Havana, is more than a scenic backdrop, having become the nation’s most visible protagonist and its foremost player, perhaps second only to Fidel Castro.
Professor Rubio received a doctorate in Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies from Tulane University in New Orleans and earned a Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College of Vermont. He completed his undergraduate degree at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. Rubio is a Cuba Project Fellow of the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Ethnic Studies (2010-2014) and served on the 2012 jury committee of the prestigious Lora Romero Prize of the American Studies Association.
Rubio’s publications have appeared in numerous academic journals, including: Studies in Latin American Popular Culture (U. of Texas Press), Letras Hispanas, CiberLetras, Espéculo: revista de estudios literarios (Spain), Caribe: revista de literatura y cultura, and in the books Cuba: Idea of a Nation Displaced (SUNY Press, 2007) and Narratología y discursos multiples (Editorial Dunken, 2013). His article “Argentine Anthropophagy: Carnal and Cultural Encounters in Carlos Balmaceda’s Manual del canibal,” on the meanings and metaphors of cannibalism in Latin American literature as symbolic of ethnic integration and social justice appeared in the November 2011 volume of the journal Chasqui: revista de literatura latinoamericana.
At John Jay College, Professor Rubio teaches Spanish-language courses at all levels, including Latin American literature and theatre, Professional Spanish, and courses in English pertaining to Latin American and U.S. Latino(a) cultural studies. His teaching and his research bridge the disciplines of humanities and cultural anthropology, particularly focusing on the examination of ethnic identity, community formation, and cultural production. In 2012 Rubio was involved in fascinating co-curricular project, the development of a Spanish-language learning community for John Jay students, where Rubio’s new course Nature and Society in the Hispanic World was paired with a Natural Sciences course taught by Professor Nathan Lents of the Department of Biology.
More about La Habana: cartografías culturales (Aduana Vieja, 2013):
Born in Miami to Cuban parents in the 1970s, and trained as a Hispanist and cultural studies scholar, Rubio has already authored numerous articles and book chapters on the topic of Cuban material culture, or “things Cuban.” Rubio’s new book offers a cutting-edge approach to the intersections between Cuban politics, ideology, national identity, and artistic production, both on and off the island. Organized through studies on a wide-range of artistic mediums, including literature, film, photography, and material products that are manufactured not only in Cuba but also globally, Rubio’s book offers an alternative take on the complex state of contemporary Cuban national identity.
The book features new work on the Cuban exile writer Daína Chaviano, filmmaker Fernando Pérez and activist blogger Yoani Sánchez. Rubio employs the perspective that, given Havana’s isolated reality, it is the city’s image, a simulated cartography, what has become highly desired and perpetually reproduced by media and cultural sources. Havana, in that light, is therefore mostly accessible to the world through artificial means, mechanically reproduced as nuanced copies of the real city.