Devyn Spence Benson – NEH Award Announcement

Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies Devyn Spence Benson has received a $60,000 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a book-length study about Afro-Cuban intellectual life during the 1970’s. 

“Black Consciousness in Cuba:  The Untold Revolution, 1968 – 1978,” examines the history of race in Cuba following the end of the 1959 anti-discrimination campaign.  Professor Benson’s research “examines how transnational exchanges created spaces for Afro-Cuban activists to develop alternatives to Cuba’s national ideology of raceless”; how antiracist work continued in private to explore “ways to include trans-Caribbean concepts into their films, art and literature”; and the role of Afro-Cuban women “who used an intersectional approach to advocate for antiracism and antisexism.” 

Professor Benson will develop a new course for Africana and Latin American Studies undergraduates, “Black Consciousness in Latin America and the Caribbean” demonstrating “how racial ideologies travel through the region.” 

NEH Fellowships support college and university professors and independent scholars pursuing advanced research.  In this highly competitive funding cycle, NEH funded only eight percent (8%) of the Fellowships proposals received, granting 84 awards totaling $4.6 million.   

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