(PhD, U. of Connecticut, 2004)
Office: 285 Flanagan Building
I am a cultural anthropologist whose area of interest is contemporary Cuban history and culture. Since the summer of 2000, I have conducted ethnographic research on various aspects of Cuban society including resource distribution, social networks, and socialist societies in transition.
My current research involves a detailed analysis of resource distribution and social networks. I analyze how people make ends meet despite scarcity of goods, restrictions on trade and business, along with the importance of social relations to guarantee the allocation of goods and services.
I am a part of an interdisciplinary research team, which studies social spaces and commemorative monuments of the 1959 Revolution. Since 2005, we have documented numerous sites in both Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Our preliminary findings were presented in May 2011 at the Caribbean Studies Association Annual Meeting in Willemstad, Curacao, and our research has been supported in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s New Directions Initiative. Publications of this research are underway.
I received my Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2004. My dissertation focused on documenting the Kichwa Indians community development project Kallari, which offers alternative economic options to people living in the Amazon Basin.
Here at ECU, I teach classes, both online and face to face for the Department of Anthropology, the International Studies and the Global Understanding Programs.
In the Fall of 2011, I created a collaborative project called “teaching diversity through music” for the Global Understanding Program. This project received support from the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Community Relations. Music was the focal point of dialogue and used to join students from around the world. Students took part in a song exchange assignment as a means of developing cultural understanding. http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cas/articles/lfernandes.cfm
I teach courses both for the International Studies minor as well as core courses for the MA in International Studies, in addition to being an MA thesis advisor.
One thing that is important to my teaching and research is the use of visual anthropological methods in representing culture. I use both ethno-photography and ethnographic film to document Cuban contemporary culture.
I am excited to have created two new courses that will be offered in 2012! One for the Department of Anthropology about visual anthropology, which received funding from the BB&T Center for Leadership Development, and the other for the Honors College on Cuban history and culture.
Prior to my arrival to North Carolina in 2008, I lived in Havana, Cuba with my husband and dog, who are both now in Greenville. Living in Cuba gave me the rare and unique perspective to understand daily life on a profound level that I can share through my work in the classroom and beyond.