From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Fernando Ortiz Fernández (July 16, 1881 - April 10, 1969) was a Cuban, essayist, ethnomusicologist and scholar of Afro-Cuban culture. Ortiz was a prolific polymath dedicated to exploring, recording, and understanding all aspects of indigenous Cuban culture. Ortiz coined the term transculturation, the notion of converging cultures.
Disillusioned with politics in the 'Pseudo-Republic' period of Cuban history and having been a member of the Liberal Party, and a Liberal member of its House of Representatives from 1917 to 1922, he became active in the early nationalist civic revival movement.
He helped found the journals Revista Bimestre Cubana, Archivos del Folklore Cubano and Estudios Afrocubanos.
Fernando Ortiz also developed a theory of activism within Cuba's political system saying their African traits characterized the Afro-Cubans negatively and primitively.
Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his 'love for culture and humankind' in 1955.
His books, La Africania de la Musica Folklorica de Cuba (1950), and Los Instrumentos de la Musica Afrocubana (1952 - 1955) are still regarded as key references in the study of Afro-Cuban music.
One of his most famous students is Miguel Barnet, who has become a leading Cuban novelist, ethnographer and essayist.