The Cuban Research Institute (CRI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Cearns as a Visiting Scholar during the academic year 2017–18. Ms. Cearns will conduct ethnographic fieldwork on the Cuban diaspora in Miami. Through analysis of examples of digital and material sharing in and between Cuban communities in Miami and Havana, she will interrogate what it means to be Cuban, both online and offline, in both capitalist and socialist settings. Her aim is to understand how traditional methods of sharing translate into new digital practices amongst Cubans, and in turn how this may challenge or conform to wider anthropological discourses on sharing, giving, and reciprocal exchange. This research will primarily be conducted through participant observation. There will also be a historical component, using primarily archival methods to understand the trajectory of the Cuban diaspora, as well as a comparative component: to understand what is "Cuban," one must define this in opposition to its "other."
Jennifer Cearns is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University College London. She earned her master's degree (with distinction) in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford. She also holds a B.A. (with distinction) in English and Modern Languages from Oxford. She is the author of the article, "'Beauty and the Beach': The Fashioned Female Body and Performance of Gender through Material Culture in Rio De Janeiro," forthcoming from the Bulletin of Latin American Research. She has completed preliminary research in Havana on El Paquete, the best example of digital data sharing distributed across the Island.