Cultural Tuesdays

Speakers: Sarah Hernandez, Yidong Gong,  Hugo Viera-Vargas, Anne Gelbmann, Megha Vaid, and Judith Levine

Ringling College Museum Campus (Masks Required)

Tuesdays: 11 am-12:20 pm • 6 Sessions: Jan. 11-Feb.15

Fee: Gold Member: $81; Silver Member: $90

Culture refers to the total way of life of a particular society or social group.  It encompasses social customs, language, art, cuisine, festivals, literature, music, religion, and famous people.  Cultural Tuesdays is a series of lectures dealing with the diversity of arts and social science subjects related to African, American, Asian, European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern societies.

Carlos Goebels

Carlos Goebels, an OLLI instructor, is the organizer and host of this lecture series. Carlos teaches conversational Spanish, Latin American culture, and speech courses and is a former college instructor and human resources director. He has a master’s degree in speech communication and is very active in Sarasota’s Latino community.

January 11: “The Unknown Side of Mexico”  with Sarah Hernandez

In U.S. popular culture and news sources, the main imagery about Mexico is on immigration, poverty, and crime. In this session, we will learn about the social movement sector in Mexico. We will gain a sense of the challenges workers, indigenous groups, women, and the LGBTQ+ population are facing and how they are responding.

Sarah Hernandez

Sarah Hernandez is an associate professor of sociology and Caribbean and Latin American studies at New College of Florida. Born and raised in Mexico, Sarah attained her bachelor’s degree at Earlham College (IN) and her doctorate at the University of Michigan in sociology. She teaches courses on social movements, sociology of development, work organization, Latin American social theory, and the core courses in sociology. Sarah has done research on a large industrial cooperative in Mexico, transnational labor collaboration, and Latin American social theory.

January 18: “Translatable and Untranslatable:  Chinese Medicine in East Africa” with Yidong Gong 

For decades, “Traditional Chinese Medicine” (TCM), including acupuncture, has been a significant component of China’s medical interventions in Africa. This session focuses on the transmission of TCM to East Africa and tracks the unexpected transnational connections of medicine between China and Africa. In this process, different agents participate in the production of related desires, values, and symbols. This lecture explores these contradictions and reflects on the nature of ties between China and Africa today.

Yidong Gong

Yidong Gong is an assistant professor of anthropology at New College of Florida. His research interests include medical anthropology, global health, African studies, and China studies. In 2019, Yidong received his doctorate in cultural anthropology from Duke University (NC). He worked at Xinhua News Agency in roles ranging from bilingual feature writer to Pyongyang-based foreign correspondent.

January 25: “Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico’s History During the American Century” with Hugo Viera-Vargas

Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens in 1917, precisely 19 years after the Spanish American War of 1898. They can move freely between the continental United States and Puerto Rico. Once here, they can work, study, and actively participate in local and state politics without any restriction. Yet, they do not have any representation in the U.S. Congress, nor can they vote in presidential elections while living on the Island. How can we explain these inconsistencies? This session will address the conflicting history of Puerto Rico with the U.S. from the turn of the 20th century to the present.

Hugo Viera-Vargas

Hugo Viera-Vargas holds a doctorate in Latin American history from Indiana University and is an assistant professor of Caribbean and Latin American studies and music at New College of Florida. His research and teaching focus on the intersection of race, gender, colonialism, and musical expressions in Puerto Rican and Caribbean societies. He has published in Latin American Music Review, Centro: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Musiké, Caribbean Studies, and Revista Cruce. 

February 1: “Experiencing Authentic Italy”  with Anne Gelbmann

Why do so many travelers love Italy? Is it the food, the people, the beautiful countryside or its art and history? It’s all those things plus the way of life “real” Italians love to share with visitors. Take a virtual tour with an experienced guide (ask her about picking olives in her brother and sister-in-law’s grove in Tuscany) and you will come away wanting to visit “authentic” Italy for yourself.

Anne Gelbmann

Anne Gelbmann is an instructor  and sought-after travel planner  who has visited Italy more than  20 times since 1998 and loves to share insights and hidden treasures most tourists only dream about.  In 2015, Anne decided to share her passion for Italy with others by starting her own travel business—“Cuisine, Culture and Conversation.”

February 8: “A Journey Through India—The Land That Gave  Us Om, Bollywood, and Butter Chicken” with Megha Vaid

Come experience the heart and soul of this vast South Asian subcontinent, known for its astounding diversity of religious, eclectic food, and myriad dance forms. And who knows, we might throw in a dance move or two.

Megha Vlad

Megha Vaid is a dentist by education, a dancer by passion, and a fitness instructor by profession. Megha earned her master’s degree in public health and management from Thomas Jefferson University (PA). As a trained classical dancer, Megha teaches Kathak, an Indian classical dance form. She also teaches fitness and other dance classes in Lakewood Ranch. Megha is president of the Indian Association of Manatee and Sarasota, comprised of people of Indian and non-Indian origin living in Manasota.

February 15: “Explore the Roof of the World—Tibet”  with Judith Levine

Take a trip over the Himalayas and visit the “Roof of the World” in Tibet. Explore Tibet’s unique culture through its art, music, religion, and dance. Enjoy Tibetan art and artifacts collected by Judith on her travels to this sacred place.

Judith Levine

Judith Levine has photographed the art of Cuba, Tibet, West Africa, Egypt, and Indonesia. She creates limited-edition jewelry and owns Phoenix Art Workshops in Sarasota. Judith has a bachelor’s degree in art and art education and a master’s degree in visual arts from Montclair State University (NJ), where she was on the art education faculty.

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