Esther Whitfield is a scholar of contemporary Latin American and Caribbean literature, with a particular focus on Cuba. She received a B.A. in Modern Languages from Oxford University in 1994 and a Ph. D. in Romance Languages & Literatures from Harvard University in 2001. She taught for a year as a lecturer in Harvard's Program in History and Literature before joining the faculty of Brown's Department of Comparative Literature in 2002; as of 2012, she is jointly appointed in the Department of Hispanic Studies.
"Guantánamo, Cuba: Poetry and Prison on Divided Ground." Comparative Literature Studies, vol. 72, no. 3, 2020, pp. 299-315.
"Art, Ecology and Repair: Imagining the Future of the Guantánamo Naval Base." Sargasso, vol. I& II, 2018, pp. 49-65.
"Guantánamo and Community: Visual Approaches to the Naval Base." Guantánamo and American Empire: The Humanities Respond, edited by Don E. Walicek and Jessica Adams, New York, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2017, pp. 149-172.
|"Cuban Borderlands: Local Stories of the Guantánamo Naval Base." MLN, vol. 130, no. 2, 2015, pp. 276-297.|
|Whitfield, Esther. "Empire, nation and the fate of a language: Patagonia in Argentine and Welsh literature." Postcolonial Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2011, pp. 75-93.|
Anke Birkenmaier and Esther Whitfield, editors.
Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings of the City after 1989. Duke University Press, 2011.
"A Literature of Exhaustion: Cuban Writing and the Post-‘Special Period." Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. XLV:1, 2011, pp. 27-44.
Cuban Currency: The Dollar and “Special Period” Fiction.. university of minnesota, 2008.
New Short Fiction from Cuba. edited by Jacqueline Loss and Esther Whitfield, Northwestern University Press, 2007.
|Whitfield, Esther. "Welsh-Patagonian Fiction: Language and the Novel of Transnational Ethnicity." Diaspora, vol. 14, no. 2, 2005, pp. 333-348.|
Esther Whitfield is currently writing a book titled “The New No-Man’s Land: Guantánamo’s Literary Life.” There she 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.
Her previous book, _Cuban Currency: The Dollar and 'Special Period' Fiction_ (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), explores how the emergence of export markets for Cuban culture is inscribed in contemporary fiction. Based on extensive interviews and archival research in Havana, it takes an integrated approach to the cultural, economic and social changes that have taken place there since the disintegration of the Soviet bloc, from which Cuba derived most of its economic support. It argues that, over the past decade, writers have both challenged and profited from new transnational markets for their work, in a move whose literary and ideological implications are far-reaching.
Whitfield is also co-editor, with Anke Birkenmaier, of _Havana Beyond the Ruins_ (Duke University Press, 2011), a collection of essays on post-1989 Havana; and, with Jacqueline Loss, of an anthology of Cuban short fiction in translation, _New Short Fiction from Cuba_ (Northwestern University Press, 2007). She wrote a critical introduction to Antonio José Ponte's _Un arte de hacer ruinas_ (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2005) and has published a number of journal articles and book chapters on contemporary Latin American fiction and Welsh diasporic literature.
Wilbur Marvin Visiting Scholar of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University, 2020-21 (selected)
Faculty Fellowship, Cogut Institute for the Humanities, Brown University, 2020-21
National Endowment for the Humanities "Dialogues on the Experience of War" Public Humanities Grant, 2017-2020
Cogut Fellowship in the Humanities, Brown University Fall 2009
Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship, Brown University, 2006-07
|COLT 0510F - Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, The Men and the Myths|
|COLT 0610Z - Intersections of Race and Culture in the West|
|COLT 1813I - The Colonial and the Postcolonial Marvelous|
|COLT 1815C - War, Language and the Arts|
|COLT 2720D - Translation: Theory and Practice|
|COLT 2822A - War|
|HISP 1370Y - Literature and Film of the Cuban Revolution|
|HISP 2520Q - Nación, insularismo e identidad en el Caribe hispano|