The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University, the International Cultural Center, or ICC, in the Office of International Programs, the Women’s Studies Program in the College of Liberal Arts and the Honors College are celebrating International Women’s Day and ICC’s Year of Cuba on March 2 from 5-7:30 p.m. The event will host a book launch and signing event for Honors College director and asssociate professor of history Tiffany Sippial’s new book, “Celia Sánchez Manduley: The Life and Legacy of a Cuban Revolutionary.”
The event, which celebrates international women and Cuban culture, is free and open to the public. It will serve as the finale for the International Year of Cuba program, which has provided campus-wide in-depth education and awareness of Cuba during the 2019-20 academic year. Attendees will have the opportunity to view rare artifacts and artwork from Cuba while enjoying refreshments. Sippial will speak about her book and the inspirational woman it depicts. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the book during the event.
Celia Sánchez Manduley (1920–1980) is famous for her role in the Cuban Revolution. Clad in her military fatigues, this "first female guerrilla of the Sierra Maestra" is seen in many photographs alongside Fidel Castro. Sánchez joined the movement in her early thirties, initially as an arms runner and later as a combatant. She was one of Castro's closest confidants, perhaps lover, and went on to serve as a high-ranking government official and international ambassador. Since her death, Sánchez has been revered as a national icon, cultivated and guarded by the Cuban government. With almost unprecedented access to Sánchez’s papers, including a personal diary and firsthand interviews with family members, Sippial presents the first critical study of a notoriously private and self-abnegating woman who yet exists as an enduring symbol of revolutionary ideals.
In her book, Sippial reveals the scope and depth of Sánchez’s power and influence within the Cuban revolution, as well as her struggles with violence, her political development and the sacrifices required by her status as a leader and "new woman." Using the tools of feminist biography, cultural history and the politics of memory, Sippial reveals how Sánchez strategically crafted her own legacy within a history still dominated by bearded men in fatigues.
To purchase a copy of Sippial’s book prior to the event, go to uncpress.org.
(Written by Kalani Long)