Ruth’s wide-ranging perspectives as a cultural anthropologist and scholar, memoirist, poet, and fiction writer of Jewish Cuban background, give her a keen understanding of timely subjects, including the meaning of home, the role of immigration and travel in contemporary life, and the possibilities of blending scholarship and the arts. In recent years, her speaking engagements have taken her to cities across the United States and Canada and to Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Spain, Finland, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Poland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan, and New Zealand.
Ruth Behar will present a multilayered view of the Jews of Cuba, weaving together various forms of storytelling, from history and ethnography to fiction and poetry. Talk, “Jewish Cuba: Immigrant Memories, Anthropological Journeys, Fictional Recreations,” at the Kempf House Museum, 312 S. Division St., Ann Arbor, Wednesday Noon Lecture, October 30, 2019.
Ruth Behar gave a talk and led a discussion about her novel Lucky Broken Girl for the Reading into History Family Book Club at the New-York Historical Society, Sunday, October 20, 2019, at 2:00 pm.
Ruth delivered a public presentation, “Between History, Memoir, and Fiction: Telling the Story of the Jews of Cuba,” in Houston for the Center for Public History, Jewish Studies and the Department of Modern & Classical Languages (University of Houston), and the Holocaust Museum Houston. At the Honors Commons, M.D. Anderson Library (UH), on Thursday, September 19, at 2:30 pm.
Ruth was also present for a Q&A following a screening of “Adio Kerida,” her documentary about the search for identity and history among Sephardic Jews with roots in Cuba. Holocaust Museum Houston, Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, September 19, 2019, 6:00 — 8:30 pm.
Ruth presented a talk on “Returning to Cuba” for West Shore Community College, where she spoke about some of her own experiences and reflections on the country she calls home. Ludington Public Library, Ludington MI, September 12, 2019, at 7 pm. The following day, Sept. 13, Ruth spoke to a large group of students at West Shore Community College in Ludington about the work of Cuban artist and artisanal bookmaker Roland Estévez, and then led the group in a handmade bookmaking workshop.
Ruth Behar and Sandra Cisneros gave a special “Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Creative Writing Course” for veterans of the Macondo Workshop in San Antonio, July 23-28, 2019.
Ruth Behar and Judy Kreith conducted a conversation and Q&A following the University of Miami premiere of the documentary film Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels: A Haven in Havana, as part of the university’s 2019 Film Series. Kislak Center at the University of Miami, Otto G. Richter Library, 1300 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146. June 13, 2019, with reception 6 pm and screening at 7 pm.
Poetry reading, “Everything I Kept / Todo lo que guardé,” at the Centro Cultural José Milanés, Matanzas, Cuba, May 9, 2019, 3 – 5 pm.
“La Comunidad Judía en Cuba: Visiones personales y etnográficas,” talk presented for the Pluridad Cultural en las Américas project, Colegio Universitario San Gerónimo de La Habana, May 6, 2019, at 3 pm.
“The Scroll and the Revolution: The Dilemmas of Writing about the Jews of Cuba,” Harvard University, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, CGIS South, Resource Room, 1730 Cambridge Street, Friday, April 12, 2019, 12:00 to 1:45 pm.
Talk, “Words and Artifacts: Treasures of a Cuban Jewish Exile,” at the Festival of the Arts, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, April 10, 2019, 7:00 pm.
Ruth will participate in a panel discussion, “Life Is a Hybrid: Crossing Genre Boundaries in Memoir,” at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference, Portland, Oregon, Friday, March 29, 2019, 12:00 to 1:15 pm.
Author reading and book signing. Ypsilanti District Library sponsors this year’s Ypsi Family Read: Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar. In March, YDL will host a family read celebration centering on author Ruth Behar, including her Cuban heritage, inspiration behind Lucky Broken Girl, and the immigrant-experience in America. Riverside Art Center, Ypsilanti, MI, Monday, March 18, 2019, at 6:00 pm.
“Creating Handmade Books in Cuba: Ruth Behar Reflects on Rolando Estévez’s Artistic Designs for Ediciones Vigía and El Fortín,” Special Collections Classroom (Room 660D), Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan, Tues. March 14, 2019, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm.
Lecture at Western Kentucky University in connection with “The Island of My Love: The Faces and Stories of Cuba,” an exhibition featuring the stories of art, artists, teaching, and photo documentary. February 20-22, 2019.
Ruth presented the 23rd Annual Tenenbaum Lecture at Emory University on “The Jews of Cuba and their Diasporas: Memories, Stories, Dilemmas.” The lecture, sponsored by the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, will take place in the Ackerman Hall of the Michael C. Carlos Museum on Emory’s campus, 571 South Kilgo Circle, on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at 7:30 pm.
Keynote speaker, “Lived experiences of women in academia” theme, at the “Making ShiFt Happen” Virtual Conference, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. This virtual conference will be held online, worldwide. Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at 5-7 pm Eastern Time US (Wed, Feb. 6, 9-11 am in eastern Australia).
Poetry reading and book presentation, “ReadCaribbean Presents Three Groundbreaking Poets,” at the Miami Book Fair. Room 6100 (Building 6, 1st Floor), 300 NE Second Ave., Miami, FL 33132. Sunday, November 18, 2018, at 1:30 pm.
Ruth delivered the 2018 GAD Distinguished Lecture for the General Anthropology Division at the annual American Anthropological Association meeting in San Jose, California. Her topic will be “Anthropology and the Search for Home: Reflections of an Immigrant Ethnographer.” In the Executive Ballroom 210 A, San Jose Convention Center, Friday, November 16, 2018, at 12:15 – 1:45 pm.
Reading from Lucky Broken Girl, followed by Q&A. A Latinx Heritage Month 2018 event. At the Keene Theater, East Quad, University of Michigan, October 2, 2018.
Host, “Driving Literacy,” the 20th Annual Gala benefiting Washtenaw Literacy, September 29, 2018.
Poetry reading at Literati Bookstore, introducing Ruth’s new book of poems, Everything I Kept. 124 E Washington, Ann Arbor, September 7, 2018.
“ ‘A Cuban Love Affair’: The Art of the Book,” a conversation between Ruth Behar and Cuban book artist Rolando Estévez, Library of Congress, Washington DC, June 28, 2018.
Poetry reading at The Betsy’s annual “Under the Influence Event with O’ Miami,” with host Campbell McGrath, The Betsy Hotel, Miami Beach, April 15, 2018.
“The Fascination with the Jews of Cuba,” College of Charleston, Arnold Hall, April 8, 2018.
“The Hold Cuba Has on Me: Memory, Travel, and Writing,” College of Charleston, April 5, 2018.
Ruth Behar reads from Lucky Broken Girl. Congregation Bet Ha’am, South Portland, Maine, March 25, 2018.
Ruth Behar and Richard Blanco discuss their works and their Cuban culture. Skowhegan Free Public Library, Skowhegan, Maine, March 23, 2018.
Ruth Behar and Richard Blanco speak about their writing, their books, and their “Bridges to/from Cuba” forum. Beth Israel Synagogue, Waterville, Maine, March 22, 2018.
“Traveling Heavy: Anthropology and the Search for Home,” Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professorship in Anthropology Inaugural Lecture, University of Michigan, Rackham Amphitheater, 4 pm, December 7, 2017. Related articles: “Ruth Behar’s Inaugural Lecture Focuses on Home, Homesickness, and the Global Soul,” “Cátedra inaugural de Ruth Behar se centra en el hogar, la nostalgia, y el alma global.”
Speaker, “Recovering Anthropology’s Voice: From Ethnographic Practice to Writing for the Public.” Discussant, “Family Matters: Re-Examining Children in Anthropological Fieldwork and Careers.” American Anthropological Association Conference, Washington, DC, December 1, 2017.
“Entrusting Myself to the Beauty and Danger of Life: Journeys of an Ethnographic Writer,” Indiana University, Horizons of Knowledge lecture, November 3, 2017.
“Many Migrations: My Story as a Cuban Jew,” Congregation Beth Shalom, Bloomington, Indiana, November 3, 2017.
International Literacy Association Conference, Orlando, Florida, July 15-17, 2017.
“Constructing Jewish Cuba: Immigrant Memories, Anthropological Journeys, Fictional Recreations” and “Lucky Broken Girl: A Cuban-Jewish American Novel,” Latin American Jewish Studies Conference, Mexico City, July 3-5, 2017.
Lucky Broken Girl, book presentation, Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, Massachusetts, May 22, 2017, 2:00-3:30pm.
Advisory Council Meeting, Princeton University, May 20, 2017.
Lucky Broken Girl, book presentation, Children’s Book Week, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 3, 2017.
Lucky Broken Girl, book presentation, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 2, 2017, 7pm.
“Ethnographic Writing Workshop,” Association of Anthropology Students of San Diego State University, April 27, 2017, 4-7pm.
“Debutante Ball: Dance with New Children’s Authors Panel,” Texas Library Association, San Antonio, Texas, April 21, 2017, 1:30-2:30pm.
“Writing and Editing: A Conversation with Ruth Behar and Nancy Paulsen,” University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 1151B Sorensen Arts and Education Complex, April 18, 2017, 2:00-3:30pm and Talk and Book Signing at The McGillis School, 6:30-7:30pm. [Poster (pdf)]
Lucky Broken Girl, book launch, Books of Wonder, New York, April 9, 4-6pm.
“Cuba and the Meaning of Place in Anthropology and the World Today,” Ben and Trudy Termini Distinguished Anthropology Lecture, University of Texas, Arlington, April 6, 2017. [Poster (pdf)]
“Latino Studies Today,” ¡AdelanteTigres!: Celebrating Latino Alumni at Princeton University conference, April 1, 2017.
“Cuba: Threads of Change,” American Museum of Natural History, New York, March 9, 2017.
Speaker at various panels: “Ethnographic Writing,” “Towards an Anthropology of Storytelling,” “Life Matters,” “Other Writing Genres,” and “The Light in Our Eyes: Mergers Between Poetry, Fiction, Memoir, and Anthropology,” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Minneapolis, November 16-18, 2016.
Keynote lecture, “Cuba and Its Diaspora: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay,” Inaugural Symposium of Latin American Studies at Utah Valley University, “Latin America in the World” (program – pdf), Orem, Utah, November 3, 2016.
Keynote Lecture, “I Come From All Places and to All Places I Go,” Lin Great Speaker Series, Conference on Justice and Social Concerns, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas, October 25, 2016.
Short & Long Bios
Ruth Behar photo by Gabriel Frye-Behar
Ruth Behar photo 2 by Gabriel Frye-Behar
Ruth Behar photo by David Frye
Ruth Behar, Bridges to Cuba, 20 anniversary edition, cover
Ruth Behar, An Island Called Home, cover
Ruth Behar, Traveling Heavy, cover