Stephen Cruikshank

Stephen Cruikshank

Stephen Cruikshank (2018)


PhD, Spanish & Latin American Studies

Thesis title or Research Area

The Mulata Affect: Bioremediation in the Cuban Arts

My research is two-pronged. Firstly, my PhD dissertation (2018) analyzes the visual mediations of the mulata-that is the woman of mixed African and European heritage-through a century of arts in Cuba. The project investigates and connects images of nationalist art in the 1930s, popular graphic art and design in the 1940s, revolutionary photography in the 1960s, and the "Special Period" (post-soviet) film in the early 2000s. My research uses feminist inspired affect theory to theorize how the racial and gender stereotypes of the mulata body have been "bio-remediated" overtime. Otherwise said, I look into the affective responses passed to and from the mulata body in different arts and how these images consequently reflect the political, ideological,and socio-cultural shifts during the time of their production. The second stage of my research questions how the designations Latin American cultures have been affected by tropic figures (both masculine and feminine) that are tied to previous nineteenth and twentiethcentury nationalist projects? Currently ongoing, the key objective of this project is to investigate how racial and gender stereotypes embodied by these national tropes have been mediated over time through artistic expressions, consequently affecting the way cultural identities are being perceived, produced, and performed today.