Hispanic Heritage Month Faculty Spotlight Dr. Lillian Guerra

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Center for Latin American Studies is shining a spotlight on Dr. Lillian Guerra, faculty at the Department of History and affiliate faculty of the Center.

Hispanic Heritage Month Faculty Spotlight Dr. Lillian Guerra

September 26, 2018

Born in New York City, Dr. Guerra is the daughter of Cubans who came to the United States in 1965. Guerra received her Ph.D. degree in history from the University of Wisconsin and has taught Cuban, Caribbean and Latin American history at Bates College (2000-2004) and Yale University (2004-2010). Guerra’s research interests include the Caribbean diaspora and Caribbean history, and her geographic expertise extends from 20th century Cuba to Puerto Rico.

The author of many scholarly articles and essays, Guerra’s literary work includes four published books of history: Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico (University Press of Florida, 1998), The Myth of José Martí: Conflicting Nationalisms in Early Twentieth-Century Cuba (University of North Carolina Press, 2005), and Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption and Resistance, 1959-1971 (University of North Carolina Press, 2012). Guerra’s fourth book, published by Yale University Press in 2018, is titled Heroes, Martyrs and Political Messiahs in Revolutionary Cuba, 1946-1958.

Regarding her research and teaching, Guerra states “As a person, teacher and scholar, I strive to cultivate knowledge and inspire empathy for the experiences, struggles, and cultures of the Caribbean—the region of America most continuously shaped by imperialism, slavery, racism, and their everyday legacies. Like my books, my classes ask and answer “big questions” about the origins of inequality, the cause of greater freedom and the all-too-common role of the United States in undermining rather than advancing democracy abroad. Firmly rooted in unused and, in some cases, unknown archives, my scholarship seeks to launch current understandings of Cuba and its place in the Latin American Cold War in a whole new direction: I make Cubans, not Fidel Castro or US policymakers, the central protagonists of history.”

Guerra has received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship in 2014-2015. She holds the Waldo W. Neikirk term professorship for excellence in teaching at the University of Florida until 2019 and has received the University of Florida’s Research Foundation Professorship (2017-2020) for superb scholarship.

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