Photo courtesy of Lawrence Lafountain-Stokes
The Faculty of Theology of the University of Helsinki has invited Dr. Jorge Duany to be the opponent in a public examination of Petra Kuivala's doctoral dissertation, "Never a Church of Silence: The Catholic Church in Revolutionary Cuba, 1959–1986." Dr. Duany will travel to Finland in early November to attend a final academic examination of the dissertation in the form of a public debate and to participate in grading the dissertation as a member of the grading committee. As an expert in the interdisciplinary field of Cuban studies, Dr. Duany will ensure that the thesis is appropriately set in the framework of previous research on Cuba, particularly the history of the Catholic Church on the Island.
Petra Kuivala's dissertation focuses on the institutional decline and apparent invisibility of the Catholic Church in Cuba after the 1959 Revolution. Kuivala's work proposes a nuanced interpretation of the multiple layers and voices of Cuban Catholics, drawing on primary sources only now available in Cuba itself. The author has gained access to more than 40,000 pages of historical documents in Cuban Catholic archives, which had never been used by scholars, Cuban or otherwise. In addition, she conducted more than thirty interviews with Cuban clergy and laypeople who lived through the dramatic changes in church-state relations on the Island between 1959 and 1986.
Ms. Kuivala was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Cuban Research Institute during the academic year 2016–17.