Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Pictorial Talking: the Figural Rendering of Speech Acts in Aztec Mexico

November 16th, 2012

Dinwiddie Hall, Rm 103

Join us for a colloquium given by Dr. Elizabeth Boone of Tulane University, sponsored by the Anthropology Department.

In Aztec Mexico before the Spanish conquest a single sign form, the image, supported by the line and the field, bore the documentary responsibility of scripts elsewhere. Images carried semantic meanings by symbolizing or representing (in an abstractly conventional mimesis) that which they indexed, and a spatial syntax organized these images into specific messages. The goal of Mexican pictography was to record meaning rather than sound and language. Only in appellatives (personal, ethnic, and place names) did the images occasionally refer specifically to the sounds of spoken words when identification could not otherwise be achieved.

Despite its relative independence from spoken language, however, pictography was still able to signify “speech” as a nominal act and to accommodate the contents of speech acts. But doing so pushed the edge of the pictographic canon. Although most examples date from the early colonial period when pictography came under the influence of alphabetic writing and opened up more fully to the possibility of word writing, the few examples from before the conquest are suggestive of pictography’s greater abilities. This presentation will first explore the function and nature of speech scrolls as adjectival, nominal, and verbal signs. It will then focus on the content of speech acts, and finally on sequential streams of iteration. We will move from the simplest graphic indication of speech to the longest and most complex: from prehispanic Mexican pictography to its transformation in the early colonial period into a script capable of recording Catholic doctrinal orations with subtlety and nuance.




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Upcoming Events

Latin American Studies Pre-Professional Alumni Speaker Series

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Each year in association with LAST 4000, the capstone seminar for graduating seniors in Latin American Studies, we invite recent graduates to speak about their current employment and the path that took them there—and to give advice to students soon to hit the job market. We invite all students to attend these informal discussions.

Speakers will speak at 11:00 a.m. for 45 minutes to an hour. Out of courtesy for the speaker and the class, we ask that guests arrive on time and stay for the entire presentation. Speakers will also speak in the 9:30 session, but will begin later. If you would like to attend this section or would like additional information, contact Edie Wolfe at ewolfe@tulane.eduu

Thursday, September 17
William Faulkner (2009), Director, Flux Research, Monitoring and Evaluation; formerly i2i Institute and Plan Políticas Públicas, São Paulo, Brazil. Flux is a consultancy focused on research, monitoring and evaluation that links those spearheading social change with the social sciences approaches, methods, and services required to evaluta operations and impact. After graduating in 2009, Will completed at masters in Latin American Studies at the Stone Center and went on to work as a researcher and evaluation coordinator with a similar organization in São Paulo, Brazil.

Tuesday, October 6
Katie Gray (2013) formerly Accounts Representative, Latin America and Brazil accounts, Intralox. Intralox is the world leader of modular plastic conveyor belts located in Hammond, Louisiana. Katie worked for several years as their tri-lingual Spanish and Portuguese speaking Account Representative, providing service support to Customers in Latin and South America.

Thursday, October 8
Bianca Falcon (2013) Chief of Staff, Republíca LLC. República, LLC is a privately held national advertising, branding, promotions, digital media and public relations company headquartered in Miami, Florida. República is a minority owned and certified company that ranks among the Top 50 U.S. Hispanic Agencies

Tuesday, October 20
Allison Bakamjian, (2010) Program Services Manager, Shanti Project’s Women’s Cancer Program, San Francisco; formerly Peace Corps Education Specialist, Santa Marta, Colombia. Prior to her Peace Corps volunteership, Allison worked with AmeriCorps*VISTA as the Volunteer Supervisor working with New Orleans Outreach and local public schools.

Thursday, October 22
Christine Sweeney (2010), Cybersecurity Policy and Program Analyst, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President; formerly Program Officer, Latin America and the Caribbean, International Republican Institute. In her position with the IRI, Christine managed democracy and governance programs in Venezuela and Ecuador, helping to cultivate relationships with field-based and international implementing civil society partners and local political stakeholders to carry out the program objectives of promoting democratic transparency throughout the region

Tuesday, Nov. 17
Michael Murray (2010), Senior Consultant, FSG. FSG is a mission-driven consulting firm for leaders concerned with social change. Mike will discuss his work with the organization, including his research in Chile for a collaborative report on how local companies can increase competitiveness and profitability by helping to solve social problems such as poverty, education, and health.

Tuesday, Dec. 1 (To be confirmed)
Amanda Parker (2007), Project Manager & Trainer for Agriculture & Sustainable Land Use, World Wild Life Fund. Amanda works primarily in South America, specifically Paraguay managing and coordinating conservation projects in the Pantanal and Atlantic Forest Eco-Regions.

Thursday Dec. 3 (To be confirmed)
David Klauber (2008) Emergency Child Production Specialist, Save the Children. Most recently David worked as a volunteer program manager and grant-writer for the Unión de Agricultores Minifundistas, an association of organizations working on grass roots development de Guatemala in Guatemala City.. David will speak primarily about his experience with Save the Children in refugee camps on the Ethiopian-Somali border

Shango: Winter Music Festival

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Shango is a collaborative musical program featuring New Orleans’ own Bill Summers and Afro Cuban Master Dance Artist, Michelito Herrera Perez.

This event is free and open to the public. It is a collaboration between Xavier University’s African American and Diaspora Studies Program, XUTULAC and Tulane University’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies. For more information please contact Dr. Sarah Clunis at or call: 504- 520-5020.

Photographic Exhibition "Precision"

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The Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans is proud to present a photographic exhibition, “Precision,” by Mexican artists Luis Arturo Chacon. There will be an opening reception on November 12th at 6 PM. For more information, visit the Consulate webpage.

Casa Borrega's 5th Annual Latin Jazz Fest

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Casa Borrega will host its Fifth Annual Latin Jazz Fest on Friday, December 11, 2015, from 7pm to 2am at the People’s Health New Orleans Jazz Market, 1426 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, a state of the art performance venue – ideally suited for this event. Deep roots connect the Crescent City with Latin America from Jelly Roll Morton’s “Latin Tinge” to newly formed musical entities that will be performing at this festival. Many longtime local musicians have made Latin Jazz a way of life and Casa Borrega celebrates this choice and artistry at its annual event. A new addition to the Fest is a multi-national ensemble of talented dancers who will perform throughout the evening.

7pm – Muevelo Tribute : Tito Puente & Celia Cruz
8:45pm – Javier Gutierrez & VIVAZ!
10:30pm – Alexis Guevara Afro Cuban Trio
12:15am – Latin Dance Party with DJ

  • Salsa dance demonstrations throughout *

Food by Casa Borrega & cocktails at the Bolden Bar
Tickets: $20 – available at
1/2 off for students with valid ID at the door

Hope to see you there! For further information please don’t hesitate to contact Linda Stone, 504.292.3705 or Hugo Montero, 210-392-9365 or email or visit

La Hora del Cuento: Bilingual Story Time at the Pebbles Center Uptown

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Join the Pebbles Center at the Children’s Resource Center branch of the New Orleans Public Library for bilingual story time.

Held the second Monday of every month at 5:15 PM, we will read a book and have a craft based on the book. Past books include Dear Primo, ‘Twas Nochebueno, and Call Me Tree/Llamame Arbol.

Story Hour Books
Oct. 12
Funny Bones by Duncan Tonatiuh
Celebrate Halloween and Day of the Dead with this story time!

November 9 ­
María Had a Little Llama by Angela Dominguez
Learn about Peru and the Andean highlands through the eyes of Maria and her llama!

December 14
Martín de Porres by Gary Schmidt
Learn about this important Saint and his role in helping the poor!

Ancient Maya Women: A K-16 Educator Workshop

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LARC, in conjunction with the Annual Tulane Maya Symposium and the New Orleans Museum of Art, is hosting a teacher workshop on the ancient Maya. The workshop will introduce information on women in the ancient Maya world as well as providing activities to introduce into the classroom. Check back soon for more information.

To register, visit the Maya Symposium Registration page.