Lisandro Pérez

Lisandro Pérez

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Ph.D., 1974, University of Florida, Sociology and Latin American Studies

M.A., 1972, University of Florida, Sociology and Latin American Studies

B.A., 1970, University of Miami, Sociology and Anthropology


I was born in La Habana, Cuba, and emigrated to the United States with my parents in 1960. We settled in the Miami area, and I graduated from Hialeah High School in 1966. In 1970 I received a B.A. degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Miami, with minors in English and Spanish. I was awarded a  graduate research assistantship by the Sociology Department at the University of Florida, where I had the privilege to take courses from some of the foremost Latinamericanists of the time: Raymond Crist, Charles Wagley, Lyle MacAllister, John Saunders, Maxine Margolis, and, especially, my mentor in sociology, T. Lynn Smith. Not only did Dr. Smith direct my dissertation, on rural-urban migration patterns in Colombia in the age of la violencia, but he also recommended me for a faculty position at his former institution, Louisiana State University. During the ten years I was at LSU I was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure and served as Graduate Coordinator and as Acting Chair of Sociology and Rural Sociology. In 1985 I returned to Miami when I was hired as Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology at Florida International University. After serving as Chair at FIU, I founded FIU's Cuban Research Institute and directed it for twelve years, a span of time that marked the ascendancy of the CRI as the premier university center for the study of Cuba and Cuban Americans, with more than 1.5 million dollars in support from the Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur, and Christopher Reynolds foundations. We established the CRI Conference on Cuban and Cuban American Studies, which is still held today on a biennial basis, and at the CRI we also maintained a very active pioneer program of exchanges and collaborations with colleagues in Cuba. From 1999 to 2004, I edited Cuban Studies, the leading journal in the field, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. In 2010, after 25 years at FIU, I accepted the position of Professor and Chair of the Department of Latin American and Latina/o Studies at John Jay College of the City University of New York, where I oversaw the establishment of a B.A. degree in that field, as well as spearheaded several initiatives designed to enhance the success of students. I have taken CUNY students to Cuba in study abroad programs during 2015 and 2016.  I am proud to serve at John Jay, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and in a Department that is the largest Latina/o Studies Department in CUNY, with a strong commitment to student success. I am currently on a sabbatical leave, which I am spending in Miami engaged in research and writing before returning to John Jay. 

JJC Affiliations

B.A., Latin American and Latinx Studies

Professional Memberships

Latin American Studies Association
American Studies Association
Eastern Sociological Society

Course Taught

LLS 130  Introduction to Latin American History

LLS 260  History of Contemporary Cuba

LLS 100  Latina/os and Justice in New York City

LLS 223  Revolution and Social Change in Latin American Literature and Art

LLS 315  Research Methods

LLS 425  Senior Capstone Seminar

Languages spoken/fluent in

English and Spanish

Scholarly Work

Selected Publications (see vita for complete listing):

Lisandro Pérez. Sugar, Cigars, and Revolution: The Making of Cuban New York. New York University Press, 2018. 400 p. 

Lisandro Pérez. “La ruptura del 68 y los orígenes de la intransigencia y la intolerancia en la cultura política de la emigración cubana.” Revista Casa de las Américas (Havana), no. 274 (January-March 2014). 

Lisandro Pérez. “Cuban Americans and U.S. Cuba Policy.” Diaspora Lobbies and the U.S. Government: Convergence and Divergence in Making Foreign Policy, edited by Josh DeWind and Renata Segura. New York: New York University Press and the Social Science Research Council, 2014.   

Lisandro Pérez. “Cubans in Nineteenth-Century New York: A Story of Sugar, War, and Revolution.” Nueva York, 1613-1945, edited by Edward J. Sullivan. New York: The New York Historical Society, 2010.

Lisandro Pérez. “Sugar, Slavery, and the Rise of Cuban New York.” New York at 400, edited by John Thorn. New York: Running Press and the Museum of the City of New York, 2009.

Lisandro Pérez. “Cubans.” The New Americans, edited by Mary Waters and Reed Ueda. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007.

Guillermo Grenier and Lisandro Pérez. The Legacy of Exile: Cubans in the United States. Boston: Allyn & Bacon (New Immigrants Series), 2003.

Lisandro Pérez, editor. Cuban Studies (University of Pittsburgh Press), 1999-2004. 

Lisandro Pérez. "The Household Structure of Second-Generation Children: An Exploratory Study of Extended Family Arrangements." International Migration Review, vol. 28, no. 4 (Winter 1994), 736-747. 

Lisandro Pérez. "Immigrant Economic Adjustment and Family Organization: The Cuban Success Story Reexamined." International Migration Review, vol. 20, no. 1 (Spring 1986), 4-20.

Lisandro Pérez. "The Political Contexts of Cuban Population Censuses, 1899‑1981." Latin American Research Review, vol. 19, no. 2 (1984), 143‑61.

Lisandro Pérez. "Iron Mining and Socio‑Demographic Change in Eastern Cuba, 1884‑1940." Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 14, part 2 (November 1982, 381‑405.


Research Summary

Selected Grants and Fellowships 


Principal Investigator, “JUNAM: Supporting Excellence in a Latin American and Latina/o Studies B.A. Degree.”

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program. $180,084. October 1, 2014 – September 20, 2016. 


Fellowship, “Cuban New Yorkers: The Cuban Community of New York City and the Development of the Cuban Nation, 1823-1958.”   Mel and Lois Tukman Fellow, The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library. Fellowship and residency. $50,000. September 2004-June 2005.


Fellowship, “Cuban New Yorkers: The Cuban Community of New York City and the Development of the Cuban Nation, 1823-1958.”   Faculty Research Award, National Endowment for the Humanities. $40,000, September 2004-August 2005. 


Fellowship, “Cuban New Yorkers: The Cuban Community of New York City and the Development of the Cuban Nation, 1823-1958.”   Awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to support a month-long research residency at the New York Public Library. $2,500. May 2003.


Co-Principal Investigator, US/Cuba Policy: The Transition in Cuba and in the Cuban-American Community.

Two-year grant of $100,000 awarded by The Christopher Reynolds Foundation to support research on the role of the Cuban-American community in a Cuban transition, 2000-2002.


Principal Investigator, A Program of Research Collaboration with Cuba.  Two-year grant of $100,000 awarded by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to expand and intensify collaborative research programs with colleagues and academic institutions in Cuba, 2000-2001.


Principal Investigator, “A Program of Academic Travel and Research Collaboration with Cuba.   Two-year grant of $74,127 awarded by the Ford Foundation to expand the scope of the previous grants Travel to Cuba, and A Program of Academic Travel and Research Collaboration with Cuba, 1998-2001.


Principal Investigator. “Cuba and US Nonprofits: A Resource Guide and Directory.  Two-year grant of $100,873 awarded by the Ford Foundation to develop a guide and directory to facilitate contact of U.S. nonprofits with appropriate institutions in Cuba, 1998-2001.


Visiting Scholar, Russell Sage Foundation, New York City, September 1997-August 1998.


Principal Investigator, Island and Diaspora: Cuban National Sovereignty, Identity, and Reconciliation in the 21st Century.” Four-year, $250,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for a program of resident fellowships in the humanities at the Cuban Research Institute, 1994-98.


Principal Investigator, A Program of Academic Travel and Research Collaboration with Cuba. Two-year grant of $50,000 awarded by the Ford Foundation to expand the scope of the previous grant Travel to Cuba, 1995-1997.


Principal  Investigator, "Travel to Cuba." Three-year grant of $28,000 awarded by the Ford  Foundation to support travel of F.I.U. faculty to Cuba and for visits from colleagues in Cuba, 1992-1995.


Principal Investigator, "Cuba in Transition." One-year grant of  $500,000 awarded in June 1992 by the Office of Research of  the U.S. Department of  State and the Agency for International Development for research on economic and political issues relevant to a transition in Cuba.


Social Science Research Council Fellow, August 1980 to August 1981. Awarded by the Joint Committee on Latin American Studies of the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies. Title of the project: "The Social Demography of Twentieth‑Century Cuba." The fellowship was combined with an academic‑year sabbatical leave from Louisiana State University that was spent on research in Washington, D.C.


Area of Expertise

Most requested topics by media

New York History
Racial & Social Justice
In The Media


Reviews of Sugar, Cigars, and Revolution: The Making of Cuban New York:

Geraldine Richards, Foreword Reviews

. . . a fascinating excursion into nineteenth-century New York . . . serves as a comprehensive guide to the social, cultural, and political lives of the transnational community of wealthy Cuban plantation owners and their immigrant compatriots . . .  Grounded by extensive research and the author’s personal interests, the book reveals the connections between the United States and Cuba from 1823 to the Spanish-American War. During this time, New York City housed the largest community of Cubans outside of the island . . . The text both informs and entertains . . . Great spiritedness animates the prose

Publishers Weekly

In this colorful and scrupulously researched history, Pérez . . .traces the 19th-century origins of Cuban New York, a vibrant community that developed long before the 1959 Cuban revolution . . . Perez’s engrossing work showcases a little-discussed facet of New York City’s rich history.

Uva de Aragón, El Nuevo Herald (Miami)

En prosa clara y precisa, Lisandro Pérez cuenta la historia de los cubanos del siglo XIX en Nueva York con rigor y una dosis exacta de empatía hacia los protagonistas. Este libro académico, sin duda un aporte incalculable a la historiografía cubana, se lee, sin embargo, como si fuera una novela.

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