Sugar, Cigars, and Revolution: The Making of Cuban New York

Thu, Oct 24, 2019, 12:00 pm


Lisandro Perez was born in La Habana, Cuba, and emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1960. They settled in the Miami area, and Perez graduated from Hialeah High School in 1966. In 1970, he received a B.A. degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Miami, with minors in English and Spanish. Perez was awarded a graduate research assistantship by the Sociology Department at the University of Florida, where he had the privilege to take courses from some of the foremost Latinamericanists of the time: Raymond Crist, Charles Wagley, Lyle MacAllister, John Saunders, Maxine Margolis, and, especially, his mentor in sociology, T. Lynn Smith. Not only did Dr. Smith direct his dissertation, on rural-urban migration patterns in Colombia in the age of la violencia, but he also recommended him for a faculty position at his former institution, Louisiana State University. During the ten years Perez was at LSU he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure and served as Graduate Coordinator and as Acting Chair of Sociology and Rural Sociology. In 1985, he returned to Miami when he was hired as Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology at Florida International University. After serving as Chair at FIU, he founded FIU's Cuban Research Institute and directed it for twelve years, a span of time that marked the ascendancy of the CRI as the premier university center for the study of Cuba and Cuban Americans, with more than 1.5 million dollars in support from the Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur, and Christopher Reynolds foundations. They established the CRI Conference on Cuban and Cuban American Studies, which is still held today on a biennial basis, and at the CRI they also maintained a very active pioneer program of exchanges and collaborations with colleagues in Cuba. From 1999 to 2004, Perez edited Cuban Studies, the leading journal in the field, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. In 2010, after 25 years at FIU, he accepted the position of Professor and Chair of the Department of Latin American and Latina/o Studies at John Jay College of the City University of New York, where he oversaw the establishment of a B.A. degree in that field, as well as spearheaded several initiatives designed to enhance the success of students. He has taken CUNY students to Cuba in study abroad programs during 2015 and 2016.  Perez is proud to serve at John Jay, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and in a Department that is the largest Latina/o Studies Department in CUNY, with a strong commitment to student success.

165 Wallace Hall