Department of History

Orlando Rivero-Valdés

  • Graduate Student

I earned a degree of Licenciado en Derecho at the University of Havana in 1993. For the next ten years I practiced law as an attorney representing citizens and business entities in civil, administrative and criminal litigation. Concurrently, I worked as a professor of law at the University of Havana.

Before coming to Pittsburgh, I had earned the following graduate degrees: Master of Private Law (University of Valencia, Spain, 2001), Doctor of Juridical Sciences (University of Havana, 2002), and LL.M. (University of Southern California, 2008). At Pittsburgh I earned an M.A. in History (2011).


Latin American History
Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Religion
Law in slave and post-emancipation societies
Legal history, public policy and constitutional rights

Teaching Experience

Modern Latin America (Teaching Assistant), Fall 2013, Spring 2014 and Fall 2015
Modern Latin America (Instructor), Summer 2013 and 2014
Western Civilization II (Teaching Assistant), Spring and Fall 2011
World War I (Teaching Assistant), Fall 2010
Roman Law (Professor of Law), 1997-1999
General History of State and Law II (Professor of Law), 1997-1999
History of State and Law in Cuba (Professor of Law), 1997-1999
Agrarian Law (Professor of Law), 1993-1998
Property Law (Professor of Law), 1993-2003

Representative Publications

Orlando Rivero Valdés y María Elena Cobas Cobiella, “Mundos Paralelos: El Registro de la Propiedad de Cuba tras 10 años de experimentos.” In Centro Internacional de Derecho Registral, Ponencias y Comunicaciones presentadas al XVI Congreso Internacional de Derecho Registral (Madrid: Colegio de Registradores de la Propiedad y Mercantiles de España, 2010), Tomo I.

“La tutela jurisdiccional de los derechos reales inmobiliarios en Cuba: discurso jurídico y reajuste socioeconómico.” In Cuba in Transition: Volume 16, Papers and Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE, 2006).

“La vivienda en Cuba.”  In Andry Matilla Correa, Coordinador. Introducción al Estudio del Derecho. La Habana: Editorial Félix Varela, 2003.

Temas de Derechos Reales. La Habana: Editorial Félix Varela, 2002. (Reprinted in 2003 and 2005).

Conference Presentations:

“Within the Bounds of Public Order”: Religious Freedom and Afro-Cuban Religions in Cuba, 1898-1933. 33rd International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Afro-Cuban Religions and Brujería in Post-Colonial Cuba, 1898-1938. New World(s) of Faith: Religion and Law in Historical Perspective, 1500-2000. (University of Pennsylvania Law School)

Illicit Associations: freedom of religion and Afro-Cuban religions under the Constitution of 1901 (1898-1933). The 32nd Annual MACLAS Conference: Globalization and Well-Being in Latin America. (University of Pittsburgh)

Speech, Press, Association and Religion in Cuba under the Constitution of 1901 (1898-1933): Historical Events from a Legal Perspective. The 55th Conference of RMCLAS. (University of Northern Arizona)

Research Interests

Ph.D. Research Topic:

Provisional title: "Suspicious Believers: Afro-Cuban Religions and the Law in Cuba, 1878-1958"

Dissertation Committee: Alejandro de la Fuente (Co-Chair, Harvard University) and George Reid Andrews (Co-Chair), Lara E. Putnam, and Paula M. Kane.

My dissertation seeks to reconstruct the legal, social and intellectual history of religious freedom focusing on the conflicts over the legitimacy of Afro-Cuban religious practices in Cuba between 1878 and 1958. I am interested in analyzing how scholars, lawyers, courts, and citizens constructed and transformed different notions about religion and individual rights as part of a long process of modernization initiated during the late colonial times. Otherareas of interest include Latin American History, issues of race, ethnicity, and religion, and legal history in slave and post-emancipation societies.