Professor Lillian Guerra is the author of many scholarly articles and essays as well as four published books of history: Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico (University Press of Florida, 1998), The Myth of José Martí: Conflicting Nationalisms in Early Twentieth-Century Cuba (University of North Carolina Press, 2005), and Visions of Power in Cuba : Revolution, Redemption and Resistance, 1959-1971 (University of North Carolina Press, 2012). Visions of Power in Cubareceived the 2014 Bryce Wood Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association, its most prestigious prize for a book on Latin America across all fields. Dr. Guerra’s fourth book, published by Yale University Press, is titled Heroes, Martyrs and Political Messiahs in Revolutionary Cuba, 1946-1958 and was released this April 2018. She is currently completing a fifth book of history, Patriots and Traitors in Cuba: Political Pedagogy, Rehabilitation and Vanguard Youth, 1961-1981, under contract with Duke University Press.
Guerra’s creative writings include contributions to the work of Pulitzer-prize-winning photographer Alex Harris and photographer Cathryn Griffith as well as three collections of Spanish-language poetry, published in Quito, Ecuador, Havana, Cuba and Cimarrona (2013), published by Editorial Verbum in Madrid, Spain. She has also published a book of short stories, Cartografía Corporalwith Editorial Verbum in 2014.
Guerra has received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship in 2014-2015. She holds the Waldo W. Niekirk term professorship for excellence in teaching at the University of Florida until 2019 and has just received the University of Florida’s Research Foundation Professorship (2017-2020) for superb scholarship. The daughter of Cubans who came to the United States in 1965, Guerra was born in New York City and grew up in Marion, Kansas, a tiny town of about two-thousand people where her father fulfilled his life’s goal of being what he had hoped to be in Cuba: a rural doctor. Her family moved to Miami, Florida when she was fourteen. She attended Ransom Everglades School but left high school a year before graduating to attend Dartmouth College. She received her Ph.D. degree in history from the University of Wisconsin and has taught Cuban, Caribbean and Latin American history at Bates College (2000-2004), Yale University (2004-2010) and the University of Florida (2010-present).
In 1996, Guerra traveled to Cuba for the first time and spent 12 consecutive months researching her dissertation there with the support of the Instituto de Historia de Cuba. Since then, she has lived, taught and researched in Cuba over the course of more than 45 visits and residences lasting several months at a time. While a professor at Bates College (2000-2004), Guerra led and taught semester abroad courses in Cuba in 2001, 2002 and 2003. While a professor at Yale (2004-2010), Guerra led four-month-long research courses for undergraduate history students and directed independent studies for 26 students of the Yale School of Management. She has also taught semester abroad courses in Ecuador (2002).
Guerra has given public lectures at many universities and institutions in the United States and abroad. Examples include the Getty Museum, Harvard University, Stanford University, Duke University, Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile, Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, the Wilberforce Center for the Study of Slavery in Hull, England, the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University Law School and Georgetown University.
Guerra has a deep interest in public history. She has served as the lead scholar in multiple documentary films, most recently American Comandante: Cuba’s Most Unlikely Revolutionary, produced and directed by Adriana Bosch for PBS The American Experience (Released October 2015). She also Chief historical advisor, script consultant and interviewer. Cuba: The Forgotten Revolution, produced and directed by Glenn Gebhard for American Public Television in 2015. A product of eight years of collaboration with Gebhard, “Cuba: The Forgotten Revolution” received an Emmy for Best Documentary Film in 2016. She is currently working on two more films with Gebhard and advising a third for Bosch. Both American Comandante and Cuba: The Forgotten Revolutionare available on Netflix.
Guerra has served the profession in the following capacities since 1998:
- Elected to the Governing Council of CLAH, Council on Latin Amerian History 2018-2022
- Elected Regional Editor for the Caribbean, The Americas
- Chair, Bryce Wood Book Prize Committee, Latin American Studies Association, 2016.
- CLAH Lydia Cabrera Prize Committee, Member 2010-2012; Chair 2013-2014.
- Cuban Heritage Collection, Fellowship Selection Committee, 2012-2014.
- Elected to the Council of the American Historical Association (AHA), 2000-2003.
- Chair, AHA Task Force on Graduate Education (2001-2003)
- Advisor, AHA Committee on Graduate Education (2001-2003)
- Delegate, AHA Teaching Division to the Preparing Future Faculty Program,funded by the Pew Charitable Trust (2002-2003)
Guerra lives with her seven-year-old son Elías. She has adopted two champion greyhounds and cared for them in their retirement. Her favorite hobbies are cooking, swimming with manatees in King’s Bay, Florida and hiking.