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DEW series: Utopia in a Package? Digital Media Piracy and the Politics of Entertainment in Cuba

Laura-Zoë Humphreys (University of Manitoba)

February 12, 2016

11am in FB 630.15 [Global Emergent Media Lab]

Utopia in a Package? Digital Media Piracy and the Politics of Entertainment in Cuba

In the last few years, Cubans have been caught up in a new craze: el paquete semanal or the weekly package, one terabyte of pirated digital media that is distributed across the island by flash drive and hard drive on a weekly basis. Praised by foreign reporters and Cuban intellectuals alike for circumventing state control over media on the island, the paquete has also provoked ambivalence among those who worry that the genres it circulates will contribute to the racism, sexism, and consumerism that the Revolution was supposed to have overthrown. This talk addresses these ambivalent responses to the paquete, examining how digital media piracy in Cuba provokes concerns over what type of modernity is desirable.

Bio: Laura-Zoë Humphreys graduated with a Joint Ph.D. in Anthropology and Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago and is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba. She is currently completing her first book project, Fidel Between the Lines: Paranoia and Ambivalence in Late Socialist Cuban Cinema, which examines the changing dynamics of social criticism and censorship in late socialist Cuba. Her current research investigates how new practices of digital media piracy are transforming popular culture in Cuba in the midst of recent economic and political reforms.

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