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  • Locations: Havana, Cuba
  • Terms: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Information:


Cuban dancers dancing the rhumba

  • This program is temporarily suspended due to the Travel Warning issued on 9/29/2017.
  • This program will be offered every other summer (2016, 2018, 2020).
  • Critically engage social constructs of race, gender and tourism.
  • Visit sites like historical districts, museums, organic farms, and cultural centers.
  • Reflexive and ethnographic journaling component.
  • Learn more about this program: Photo Gallery and CU Boulder Student Blogs.



Missed the info session? View the presentation here!



The program will be hosted by Centro de Estudios Martianos (Center for Martí Studies/CEM) in Havana City, Cuba. CEM is a research institution aimed at promoting the life, work, and thought of Cuba's greatest hero, José Martí.

You will participate in seminars, community meetings, and dialogues at various research centers. You will visit museums, places of cultural and historical relevance, spaces of touristic interest for our theoretical consideration, and there will be excursions to other parts of the country beyond the capital city of Havana.


While in Havana, you will be housed at a small and personable, state-run hotel located in the capital city's Vedado district.


All participants with the direction and assistance of the Program Director Professor Roland will make transportation arrangements as a group. The Program Director requires that the group travel together from the U.S. destination to Cuba and on the return flight.

Transportation on program-related field trips while in Cuba is provided as part of the program fee.


Three students with a snack
  • Course: ANTH 4020, Race, Gender & Tourism in Contemporary Cuba
  • Credits: 6 upper-division credit hours
  • Approved for: This course is a special topics course and cannot be used to fulfill any A&S Core requirements. For major, minor or certificate approvals, please consult the major/minor approvals spreadsheet.
  • Grading: This is a CU Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • See course description

This program examines the worldwide phenomenon of globalization with a critical race and gender lens. More specifically, the readings and discussions will focus on Cuba and the emergence of mass international tourism within the context of Cuba's evolving Revolutionary Socialist Project. The course will begin by focusing on race and gender in Cuba's colonial relationship with Spain as well as its neocolonial relationship with the United States, and Cuba's subsequent independence exemplified in the Cuban Revolution of 1959. How will this (neo)colonial past shape contemporary (and future) relations with the United States?

To answer this question, the course focuses specifically on Cuba as a tourist destination, both in the pre-revolutionary past and in the post-Soviet present. The intent is to critically understand the contradictory phenomenon of capitalist tourism in socialist Cuba by examining how it has affected Cubans with regard to gender, race, and sexuality. The program will also examine Cuban imagery as represented in music, film, dance, and art .


Faculty director L. Kaifa Roland, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, has been conducting research in Cuba since 1999. She has published a book-length ethnography as well as several scholarly articles on race and gender in Cuba with a focus on tourism. She has experience with licensed study abroad to Cuba, both as a director and as a student.

See Professor Roland's Faculty Spotlight.


The program includes multiple guest lectures and various site visits around the city. There will be city tours, which include a visit to the historical Miramar District, and a contemporary tour in Vedado and Nuevo Vedado. There will also be explorations to museums including the Museum of the Orishas, the Museum of Revolution, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Visits to a hospital, a childcare center, the National Library of Cuba, and education sites may also be included in the program.




Wall with Cuba in red letters

Program Reviews:
Summer 2014 Participant
Very safe. I even explored the city by myself for a day. Get lost and enjoy!

Summer 2016 Participant
I felt safer than I do at home. Don't do anything different than what you do back home to protect yourself.

Summer 2016 Participant
Locals were always very welcoming and excited to learn that we were Americans. I think being able to speak to locals was a great experience and they were always ready and willing to show us around and lead us to new things to do. I would recommend that students definitely come to Cuba with the expectation that people want to talk to you and if you are approached don't be afraid to strike up a conversation. If you come on the program and meet someone who offers to take you somewhere, definitely go and see whatever they are offering to show you.

Summer 2014 Participant
Laura, the ISA staff was amazing. She was always there for us and she actually cared about us. She is extremely friendly, knowledgable and took care of the business. The staff at CEM were also very helpful and made us felt at home.

Summer 2014 Participant
In Cuba you either walk, take the bus, a taxi, or a maquina. In Havana especially it is very easy to get around, you just have to be willing to explore. We lived in various hotels and casas particulares. I preferred the locally run smaller (less touristy) hotels and I would have loved to stay in more casas particulares.

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.