Esther Whitfield

Esther Whitfield
FALL 2020 FACULTY FELLOW

Biography

Esther Whitfield is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies. She teaches in the field of Latin American and Caribbean literature. She has published primarily on literary writing in the context of economic, social, and political change in post-Soviet Cuba; and on borders, visibility, and surveillance in writing and art about the Guantánamo naval base. At the Cogut Institute, she will be working on her current book project, “The New No-Man’s Land: Guantánamo’s Literary Life,” which proposes reading the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo and the surrounding areas of Eastern Cuba as a borderland region that shares a natural environment, a marking of human lives by isolation, and a body of literature and art privileging survival over political hostility. The project draws on an archive of poetry, art, and memoirs by detainees and military personnel at the base and by Cubans nearby, and scholarship in Comparative Literature, Caribbean Studies, History and Law, to trace relationships between literature and other forms of representation, and between this isolated corner of Cuba and the rest of the world.