The George A. Smathers Libraries and the University of Florida are proud to present the 2023 Michael Gannon Lecture, featuring historian Ada Ferrer, who will be speaking about her Pulitzer Prize winning book, Cuba: An American History.
This year’s presentation continues a founding purpose of the lecture, to highlight major topics in history of relevance to the United States and Florida. In a stunning, incisive, and engaging work, Ferrer takes us on a journey from Cuba’s colonial past to its present, always noting in the process its relationship with Florida and the United States.
Her work, original and thought-provoking in scope, is especially welcome at the University of Florida, where a long tradition of research and fieldwork across the fields of history, archaeology, and anthropology have focused on the cultural and historical trajectories between Florida and Cuba.
2023 Guest Speaker: Ada Ferrer
Ada Ferrer is the Julius Silver Professor of History and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University. A specialist on Cuba and its place in the history of the hemisphere, she is the author of three award winning books: Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898 (University of North Carolina Press, 1999), which won the 2020 Berkshire Book Prize; Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2014), winner of the Frederick Douglass Prize from the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University and prizes from the American Historical Association; and Cuba: An American History (Scribner/Simon & Schuster, 2021), for which she was awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. She will speak on this latest book for the lecture.
Ferrer was born in Cuba just as the island was undergoing the upheaval and revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. Her father emigrated to New York in 1962, and her mother followed a year later, when Ferrer was 10 months old. She grew up in New Jersey, where her family maintained close ties with Cuban traditions and the local Cuban community, and where events in Cuba always had an impact on their lives. Ferrer received her BA from Vassar in 1984, took her Masters in History at the University of Austin, Texas (1988) and graduated with her PhD in History from the University of Michigan in 1995. She immediately joined the history faculty at New York University, forging an outstanding academic career there ever since. She is the recipient of more than a dozen major fellowships, honors, and awards, the latest being (in addition to the Pultizer), the 2019 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the 2018-2019 Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Fellowship, New York Public Library.
Our gratitude to the Michael Gannon Endowment Fund and for making this lecture possible.
2021 Guest Speaker: Jon Meacham
In its inaugural year, the Michael Gannon Lecture was honored to host a presentation by renowned historian Jon Meacham, focusing on the civil rights era and drawing on two of his recent works, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, and His Truth is Marching On, John Lewis and the Power of Hope ( ). Speaking in-person and by online live-cast, he used the lecture in part to gauge the state of democracy in the nation in the wake of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, his presentation frequently echoing Lewis’ call to confront intimidation and injustice, work towards the benefit of all, and embrace the values of the Civil Rights movement.
A former executive editor at Random House, and Managing Editor and Editor of Newsweek, Meacham is the author of XX best-selling and award-winning books. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, a New York Times bestseller, won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2009. His other New York Times bestsellers include Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, exploring the relationship between the two great leaders who piloted the free world to victory in World War II, and American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. He is currently at work on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.
Generous support for the 2021 inaugural lecture was provided by Lamar Matthews (UF Law 1964) and the Michael Gannon Endowment Fund.