A historian of Latin America and the Caribbean who specializes in the study of comparative slavery and race relations, Professor de la Fuente joined Harvard University after holding faculty appointments at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of South Florida in Tampa, and the University of Havana. His works on race, slavery, and Atlantic history have been published in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French. He is also the curator of two art exhibits dealing with issues of race:Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art (Havana-Pittsburgh-New York City-Cambridge, Ma, 2010-12) and Grupo Antillano: The Art of Afro-Cuba (Santiago de Cuba-Havana, 2013, ongoing). Between 2007 and 2012 de la Fuente served as a Senior Co-Editor of Hispanic American Historical Review.
Professor de la Fuente is the author of Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 2008), and of A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba (University of North Carolina Press, 2001), published in Spanish as Una nación para todos: raza, desigualdad y política en Cuba, 1900-2000 (Madrid: Editorial Colibrí, 2001), winner of the Southern Historical Association's 2003 prize for “best book in Latin American history.” He is the editor of two bilingual (English-Spanish) volumes, Grupo Antillano: The Art of Afro-Cuba (Pittsburgh, 2013) and Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art (Pittsburgh, 2011) and of a special issue of the journal Debate y Perspectivas titled “Su único derecho: los esclavos y la ley” [“Their Only Right: Slaves and the Law”] (Madrid, 2004). In 2004, Law and History Review published a "forum" on de la Fuente's article “Slave Law and Claims-Making in Cuba: The Tannenbaum Debate Revisited.” This article was also debated in the Workshop "Comparative Slavery in the Atlantic World: The Tannenbaum Thesis Revisited" of the Atlantic History Seminar at Harvard.
Professor de la Fuente is the founding Director of the Afro-Latin American Research Instituteat Harvard and the faculty Co-Chair, along with Professor Jorge Domínguez, of the Cuban Studies Program. He is the Senior Editor of the journal Cuban Studies and the Editor of Transition.