Vignettes and Reflections on Global Travels
I first visited Cuba in the summer of 1991, just before the disintegration of the Soviet Union. I went expecting the worst. Communist governments were falling or had fallen throughout Eastern Europe. I went to Cuba out of sense of moral obligation, to see for myself what the society had become, before its socialist tradition vanished.
I was utterly unprepared for what I would experience in Cuba. The visit inflamed my imagination. I came back eager to tell anyone who would listen what I had seen. So I wrote up an account of my trip, the first of what I would later call "Vignettes and Reflections."
I returned to Cuba six more times in the 1990s, all but once as part of the North American delegation to the annual Conference of North American and Cuban Philosophers and Social Scientists, a joint-venture between the University of Havana and the Radical Philosophy Association. I served as one of the organizers on several of these. Each time, after returning from the conference, I wrote up my reflections. (I didn't write anything about my last visit, which was to a smaller, shorter conference in 1997, organized by the Instituto de Filosofia.) Below are my accounts.
In the summer of 2002 I visited China for the first time, to a fascinating conference in the lovely city of Hangzhou, that was attended by several high-ranking officials of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as a number of the most prominent members of China's "New Left." During the spring of 2004 I traveled to Mexico for the first time, to give a series of lectures at Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico City. I returned to China twice during the Summer of 2005, for conferences in Beijing and in Tianjin and also a visit to Shenyang hosted by the President of Liaoning Province College of Economics and Politics (who I had hosted as a visiting scholar at Loyola the previous fall). I've written up accounts of the Hangzhou and Tianjin-Shenyang visits also, and my experiences in Mexico City.