John N. Plank Lecture Series

John N. Plank


The John N. Plank Cuban Lecture Series was established in 2017 to honor the memory of Professor John N. Plank. Lectures will focus on Cuban history and U.S.-Cuba relations. Plank was an Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II in the North African and European campaigns. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University where he was a member of the Government faculty from 1959-62. He was director of the Office of Research and analysis for American Republics in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State during the Kennedy Administration and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution from 1964-70. He joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut in 1970, retiring in 1985. A Quaker, he was an active member of the Storrs Friends Meeting.


Cuabn Series Event with guest speakers
Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann, Yali Romagoza, Guillermina De Ferrari, Juan Carlos Alom, Jacqueline Loss, & Gertrudis Rivalta

"Faces, Masks, Bodies: Contemporary Cuban Writing, Art, and Performance,"  lecture series organized by ELIN/LCL Professor Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann, LCL Professor Jacqueline Loss, and Spanish Department student, Inileidys Hernandez. More than five Cuban scholars and artists gathered on campus for an in person and virtual lecture series.



Jacqueline Loss"The Translation of Letters and Ideas in Cuba's Republic," conference organized by LCL Professor Jacqueline Loss and her Spanish Department student, Reynaldo Lastre. More than a dozen scholars, who reside in the United States, Spain, Cuba, and Mexico, gathered on streaming videoconference platform, attracting audiences that varied between 40 and 60 attendees.


Ricardo BacallaoRicardo Bacallao, Afro-Cuban filmmaker, screened his film Orisha Devotion in Berlin, and answered questions for an audience gathered on the Storrs campus.





Lola AmoresCuban actor Lola Amores performed La isla secreta at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, captivating her audience through an energetic performance of characters inspired by Cuban literature.





Achy ObejasCuban-American writer and translator Achy Obejas read new works at the Homer Babbidge Library, stimulating a rich discussion on relationships among Cuban exile writers with authors on the island.





Lázaro GonzálezLCL MA student Lázaro González screened his documentary Villa Rosa, on the thriving LGBTQ culture and surprising tolerance of sexual diversity in the small regional city of Caibarién.


Kristin Dykstra and Anna KushnerAnna Kushner and Kristin Dykstra presented a roundtable discussion on translation, moderated by Jacqueline Loss.






La Polis Literaria“La polis literaria,” lecture by Professor Rafael Rojas on the Cold War political subtext of Latin America’s literary “boom” of the 1960s.


Juan Carlos AlomFour-week-long residency by the Cuban photographer and filmmaker Juan Carlos Alom. The Jorgensen Gallery staged an exhibition of Alom’s photographs and experimental videos, titled “Cuban Analogs: Juan Carlos Alom,” and hosted a gallery lecture by the artist on October 26, 2017. Alom led a select group of graduate students from the fine arts and the humanities in week-long a workshop on 16mm film.




Roundtable discussion "National Configurations and Comparative Racial Consciousness: A Conversation between Cuban and U.S. Scholars,” involving Roberto Zurbano (activist and cultural studies scholar), Duo Obsesión (hip-hop artists and activists), Gloria Rolando (activist and filmmaker), Shawn Salvant (UConn-English and Africana Studies), Jeffrey Ogbar (UConn-History and Center for the Study of Popular Music), and Kelly Walters (Visiting Asst Prof of Art and Art History).