2017 Global Seminar: Havana in Transition

With the new political climate in Cuba and its reestablished relationship with the U.S., the country has new energy, new hope, making it a unique time to study its capital, Havana.

Havana, Cuba: June 10 - July 22

Application Deadline: February 13, 2017

About the Seminar

Since President Obama announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba after almost six decades of cold war between the two countries, Havana has been abuzz with the very special energy that comes with all political transitions. In the few years since the announcement, Cuba’s capital has become a bustling cultural metropolis, as artists and writers attempt to make sense of the radical changes to come: the end of socialism and the beginning of a new yet undefined system, combining elements of market economy with state-directed programs.

This seminar will explore how writers, artists and filmmakers have used their media to examine the changes in many aspects of Cuban society: the economy, race relations, sexual minorities, freedom of speech, political models, the legacy of communism, among others.

The six-week program will be based in Havana and will include one weekend trip to Trinidad, one of the most important ports in Cuban history.

Important: The seminar is offered entirely in Spanish.

Faculty Director

Rubén Gallo is the Walter S. Carpenter Jr., Professor in Language, Literature and Civilization of Spain as well as a Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures. He focuses his work on modern and contemporary Spanish America. 

Seminar Manager

Nikki Woolward can be reached at or by calling 609-258-8873.

Distribution Requirements

The seminar fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) requirement and the requirements for the certificate in Latin American Studies.

Costs and Financial Aid

Program Fee: $3,800 (includes all housing, required course excursions, and related academic expenses). Additional instructional costs (books and materials, required immunizations) will vary, but students should budget up to $200 for these expenses. Roundtrip airfare and airport transportation is estimated at $1,000, meals at $300 and personal expenses at $700.

PIIRS provides generous funding to students admitted to the Global Seminars who receive term financial aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton Subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended over charging costs to a credit card. Please consult Financing Options for Students and Parents 2016–17, specifically pages 1–2 and Table 3, and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information

To ensure a place in the seminar, a $500 nonrefundable deposit will be charged to participants’ accounts on April 1; the balance of the course fee will be charged to accounts on May 15.

NB: Students who accept a place in a Global Seminar and then, before the seminar begins, withdraw or cannot participate because they are no longer enrolled at Princeton will lose the nonrefundable deposit and any unrecoverable costs. There are no refunds after the start of the program.

The Global Seminar in Cuba is generously funded by a grant from Santander Bank. PIIRS Global Seminars are made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.