MA Anthropology 2003
When I look back at the experience I acquired in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University as a Master student, I realize how much my training there still influences my approach to the discipline today.
I terminated the MA program in Social and Cultural Anthropology at Concordia University in 2003 with a thesis entitled “Manufacturing Culture in Cuba, an Ethnography.” As a prerequisite to the program, I conducted 4 months of fieldwork in Santiago de Cuba where I applied, in practical terms, what I had been learning during the first year of my MA training at Concordia, which consisted in strengthening the students’ theoretical baggage. For the first time of my life, I was encouraged to lead a research project in Social Anthropology, and I was doing it in the Caribbean! This implied meeting informants, conducting participant observation and interviews in addition to accommodate myself to new cultural settings. This intensive experience, which was closely supervised by attentive faculty members of the department, was a truly formative experience.
In addition to producing a written thesis, I edited, as part of my MA project, an ethnographic film called State the Rhythm, which was subsequently presented at different anthropological venues and film festivals. All faculty members who were implicated in supervising my research always took seriously my interest for visual anthropology. The department provided me with the support and facilities to learn about techniques of video production.
After graduating from Concordia, I pursued my PhD studies in Social Anthropology with visual media at the University of Manchester, England. I continued there to further my interests for Cuba and its popular culture in addition to develop my abilities to produce audio-visual texts. In 2008, I terminated a PhD thesis called “On the Beat: Composing with Cultural Policies and Music in Cuba” in addition to produce the ethnographic film Respect Your Necklaces. It is as a post-doctoral fellow at the Université de Montréal that I carry on my research today on youth popular culture and music in Cuba, a passion that indeed emerged during my MA studies at Concordia.