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Dr. Luis Martínez-Fernández  

Professor of History at the University of Central Florida

Dr. Luis Martínez-Fernández holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. from Duke University. He is Professor of History at the University of Central Florida, where he directed the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies Program. Previously, he taught at Rutgers University and served as chair of its Department of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean Studies.

Dr. Martínez-Fernández is a prolific and influential author. He has researched and written extensively on a wide range of topics on Cuba and the Caribbean. His publications include articles in Cuban Studies, Slavery and Abolition, Latin American Research Review, The Americas, Caribbean Studies, and in numerous anthologies and edited volumes. His books include: Torn between Empires (1994), Fighting Slavery in the Caribbean (1998), Protestantism and Political Conflict in the Nineteenth-Century Hispanic Caribbean (2002), Frontiers, Plantations, and Walled Cities: Essays on Society, Culture and Politics in the Hispanic Caribbean (2011), and Revolutionary Cuba: A History (2014), which has been widely acclaimed as the most comprehensive and systematic study on the subject ever written. The book was featured in the 2014 Miami Book Fair International and received an award in the category of Best History Books from the International Latino Book Awards (2015). His most recent book is Key to the New World: A History of Early Colonial Cuba (2018). Martínez-Fernández was also Senior Editor of the multiple award-wining, two-volume Encyclopedia of Cuba: People, History, Culture.

Dr. Martínez-Fernández is also an experienced and acclaimed public speaker, whose multimedia presentations and speeches are both substantive and accessible. Known for his engaging delivery style, he has spoken before a wide range of audiences, from elementary school students to cruise ship passengers to jurors in courtrooms to college student audiences. His public speaking engagements cover a variety of topics on the history, culture, and politics of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean; Hispanics/Latinos in the United States; and various aspects of education. He also addresses contemporary social, cultural, and political topics such as Latino politics, workplace diversification, the relevance of the arts and humanities, multiculturalism, and innovative teaching and learning methods. He is fully bilingual and presents and holds seminars in either English or Spanish. He is a regular speaker at Hispanic Heritage Month events (September 15-October 15). His most recent public presentations include the Kennedy Space Center and ADP corporation.

In 2001, Dr. Martínez-Fernández was recognized among the most influential Hispanic leaders in the United States in the nationally televised special "Viva! Top Twenty Powerbrokers." He was a trustee of the College Board (2009-2015) and has served in numerous professional, editorial, and community boards. among them the Cuban Studies journal, the South Atlantic Humanities Center, Hispanic Young Professionals, and Community Advisory Board of WMFE (Central Florida's NPR and PBS stations), and the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Central Florida. In 2005 he founded the annual Latin American Cultural Festival of Orlando.

He has been interviewed and quoted by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, Miami Herald, London Financial Times, Orlando Sentinel, MSNBC, BBC, AP, and the national news wire services of Spain, France, Germany, and Mexico. His opinion columns have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, and Chronicle of Higher Education, among other venues.

Speech Topics


Hispanics/Latinos, Cultural Fluency, Diversity

• Translating Hispanic/Latino Culture • The Best Way of Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month • Who Is Missing at the Table?: Creating an Institutional Culture of Diversity and Inclusiveness • Don Quixote in the Boardroom: Hispanic/Latino Culture, a Toolbox for Business Success • Hispanics/Latinos in the United States: Challenges and Opportunities in the Twenty First Century • The Art and Diplomacy of Haggling: Lessons in Cross-Cultural Communication • Our "Weaknesses" Are Our Strengths: A Closer Look at Hispanic/Latino Culture • Demographic Transformations and Hispanic/Latino Politics in the United States • Reaching Hispanic/Latino Consumers, Employees, Donors, and Voters • Toward a Global Culture?: Not Quite Yet • Ten Defining Characteristics of Latino Culture • Diversifying the Workplace: It is the Right Thing to Do; and It Makes Business Sense • A Latino in the US Academy: Wounds and Medals from the Battlefields • Orlando, Florida, the Puerto Rican Frontier

Contemporary Cuba and Latin America

• Recent Changes in US-Cuba Relations • Revolutionary Cuba: A History • Sugar and Revolution: Cuba, 1952-2016 • Sixteen Threads in the Labyrinth of Cuban Culture • Cuba: A History in Fifteen Photographs • Cuba in the Twenty First Century • Perplexing Puerto Rico • A Historical Perspective on Prospects for a Post-Castro Cuba • The Longest Ninety Miles: Cuban Migration to South Florida since 1959 • Puerto Rico's Political Status in Historical Perspective • Puerto Rico in Forty Minutes • Ten Keys to the Caribbean

Education / Pedagogy

• The Seven Deadly Sins of the Modern University • Twelve Keys to Successful Teaching/Learning • We Are in It Together: Dialogue and Collaboration between Historians and History Teachers • "C" Students, Children with ADD, and the Class Clown: Why We Need them in Every Classroom • Let's Start from Scratch: A Blueprint for a Twenty-First-Century Model School of Education • We Need Poets More than Ever: The Critical Importance of the Arts and Humanities from Pre-K to College • What If...?: Out-of-the-Box Reflections on How to Improve Our Education System • "I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand": Visual and Participatory Methods for Teaching and Learning • Integrating Latin American and Caribbean History into the Curriculum • Windows to the Past: Using Texts, Artifacts, and Captured Moments in the Classroom • Why Did I Become a Historian?

History and Culture: Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic

• Beyond La Niña, La Pinta, and La Santa María: The Mental Mapping and Invention of a New World • Three Crops that Transformed the Caribbean: Sugar, Tobacco and Coffee • Divergent Patterns of Political Culture in the Twentieth-Century Hispanic Caribbean • In the Plantation's Own Image: Puerto Rico's First Protestant Congregations,1868-1898 • Ten Historiographical Keys to the Caribbean • The American Mediterranean during the American Century • Puerto Rico in the Whirlwind of 1898: Conflict, Continuity, and Change • Life in a Male City: Women in Nineteenth-Century Havana • Caudillos, Annexationism, and the Rivalry between Empires in the Dominican Republic, 1844-1878 • The Formation of Creole Cuba, 1525-1607 • Geography, Will It Absolve Cuba? • Far Worse than Slaves: Emancipados in Nineteenth-Century Cuba • History Meets Literature in Latin America and the Caribbean

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