CLAS: Center for Latin American Studies

News and Highlights

And the Barrett Prize Goes to…

May 8, 2012

The Center for Latin American Studies is pleased to announce the winner of the 2011-12 Barrett Prize for the best dissertation in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Prize has been awarded to Jacqueline Grant (Department of History) for her dissertation, Public Performance: Free People of Color Fashioning Identities in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Cuba.

The dissertation was supervised by Professor Kate Ramsey (History). The committee also included Professors Steve Stein and Ashli White (History) and Lillian Manzor (Modern Languages and Literatures).

As Professor Ramsey explains, Jacqueline's dissertation focuses on "how free people of color in mid-nineteenth-century Cuba contested legal disabilities and social exclusions through self-organization and public performance. She centers the project on the organizations—fraternal, religious, philanthropic, mutual benefit, etc.—that free Afro-Cubans founded or joined between 1844-1868. These were years when libres de color and their social organizations faced increasing restrictions and surveillance by Spanish colonial authorities. However, they were also years when Afro-Cubans mobilized claims for legal and social equality through these same organizations."

The Barrett selection committee (Professors Ariel Armony, Steven Butterman, and J. Bryan Page) was impressed by the originality of Jacqueline's project, the quality of the research, and her innovative examination of controversies over self-representation through performance during a particularly important period of Cuban history.