SPAN 2014 Summer Study Abroad on US-Caribbean Relations in Cuba and Puerto Rico with Dr. August Nimtz & Dr. Melisa Riviere


What better way to study US-Caribbean relations than to visit two unique sites in the region that are isolated from one another due to their polarized relationships with the United States?

SPAN 2014 will offer a unique eight-week study abroad program to both Cuba and Puerto Rico, allowing students to gain an on-site exclusive view of US-Caribbean relations from two distinct perspectives. Potential research topics could encompass issues on either of the two islands, or a comparative approach to:

  • Class, race, ethnicity, and gender relations
  • Political structures
  • National industries (cultural, agricultural, tourism)
  • Sports (baseball / boxing)
  • Geo-politics and US-Caribbean militarization
  • Music and dance (from rumba, son, bomba, salsa, and timba to electronica or hip-hop)
  • Cinema, theatre, and performance
  • U.S. foreign policy in the Caribbean

SPAN is an intensive and rewarding 8-credit program, including preparation, research in the host country, and writing of a research paper. SPAN is open to students enrolled in any Minnesota college or university. Although basic comprehension of Spanish is recommended, there is no language requirement to apply. For more information or to apply, contact the Student Project for Amity among Nations (SPAN), 331 Social Sciences Tower, West Bank, University of Minnesota, 612-626-1083.

SPAN 2014 Cuba & Puerto Rico Advisors: August Nimtz, Ph.D., and Melisa Riviere, Ph.D

The co-advisors for SPAN 2014 in Cuba and Puerto Rico are August Nimtz, Ph.D., and Melisa Riviere, Ph.D., both of whom have worked in Cuba and Puerto RIco respectively and have extensive professional contacts on each island. Bridging their experience and networks creates an unparalleled opportunity for SPAN students.

Dr. Nimtz is a University of Minnesota Political Science professor who has long collaborated with Cuban scholars, both in Cuba and at the U.S. He teaches courses on the Cuban revolution; the politics of race, class, and ethnicity; and colonial politics in Africa. He is active in the Minnesota Cuba Committee and the Cuba-based Center for the Studies of the United States.

Dr. Riviere was once a student of Nimtz’s. Her doctoral dissertation “Son Dos Alas” offers an in-depth analysis of the local and global expressions of hip-hop in Cuba and Puerto Rico. More recently she has gained experience developing study abroad curriculum serving as Academic Director for SIT. Her contacts within the arts and music communities, alongside her audiovisual ethnographic research on each island, enhances networks and potential topics for student research projects.


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