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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Africana Studies Brown Bag Lecture with Prof. Dan Sharp

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Naná Vasconcelos: Afro-Brazilian Percussion in Paris and New York City

Dan Sharp is currently conducting research for a book that revolves around the 1980 album Saudades by Afro-Brazilian Naná Vasconcelos. The book will situate Naná‘s reimagining of percussion and voice in the context of his itinerant life in New York, Europe and Brazil in the 1970s and 1980s. Snacks provided!

New Worlds, Indigenous Technologies and European Cabinets of Curiosities

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“New Worlds, Indigenous Technologies and European Cabinets of Curiosities”
Lecture by Dr. Surekha Davies

In the early modern period, European perceptions of distant peoples shifted from curiosity and admiration to a growing conviction that Europe resided at the top of a cultural, technological, and racial hierarchy. Making knowledge about both humans and the natural world became increasingly visual pursuits. This paper explores descriptive methods and classificatory schemes for overseas artifacts through the close reading of inventories and catalogs of early modern curiosity cabinets. It argues that these texts were material and discursive objects that helped to constitute cultural hierarchy through typologies of objects. The processes of inventorying human variety also shaped European identities in relation to both classical antiquity and to the material antiquities of new worlds.

Dr. Surekha Davies is Assistant Professor of History at Western Connecticut State University. She writes on cultural encounters, visual and material culture, cartography, monster theory, collecting, and the history of mentalities. Her first book, Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters (Cambridge University Press, 2016), won the 2016 Roland H. Bainton Prize in History from the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference, and the 2016 Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the Journal for the History of Ideas. Dr. Davies is currently working on a new book project, Collecting Artifacts in the Age of Empire, and is a Mellon longterm fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library for 2017-18.

Why Marronage Still Matters: Lecture with Dr. Neil Roberts

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What is the opposite of freedom? Dr. Neil Roberts answers this question with definitive force: slavery, and from there he unveils powerful new insights on the human condition as it has been understood between these poles. Crucial to his investigation is the concept ofmarronage—a form of slave escape that was an important aspect of Caribbean and Latin American slave systems. Roberts examines the liminal and transitional space of slave escape to develop a theory of freedom as marronage, which contends that freedom is fundamentally located within this space.In this lecture, Roberts will explore how what he calls the “post-Western” concept and practice of marronage—of flight—bears on our world today.

This event is sponsored by the Kathryn B. Gore Chair in French Studies, Department of French and Italian.
For more information contact Ryan Joyce at or Fayçal Falaky at

Newcomb Art Museum to host María José de la Macorra and Eric Peréz for Gallery Talk

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Join us at the Newcomb Art Museum in welcoming Mexican artists María José de la Macorra and Eric Peréz for a noontime gallery talk as they discuss the current exhibition Clay in Transit: Contemporary Mexican Ceramics (which features works by María José de la Macorra) and the focus and process of their work. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Newcomb Art Museum is featuring two ceramic exhibitions entitled Clay in Transit featuring contemporary Mexican ceramics and Clay in Place featuring Newcomb pottery and guild plus other never-before-exhibited pieces from the permanent collection.The exhibit presents the work of seven Mexican-born sculptors who bridge the past and present by creating contemporary pieces using an ancient medium. The exhibit will feature works by Ana Gómez, Saúl Kaminer, Perla Krauze, María José Lavín, María José de la Macorra, Gustavo Pérez, Paloma Torres.

Exhibition curator and artist Paloma Torres explains, “In this contemporary moment, clay is a borderline. It is a material that has played a critical role in the development of civilization: early man used clay not only to represent spiritual concerns but also to hold food and construct homes.” While made of a primeval material, the exhibited works nonetheless reflect the artists’ twenty-first-century aesthetics and concerns as well as their fluency in diverse media—from painting and drawing to video, graphic design, and architecture.

The exhibit will run from January 18, 2018, through March 24, 2018. For more information on the exhibit and the artists, please visit the Newcomb Art Museum’s website.

Clay in Transit is presented in collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jennifer Wooster (NC ’91), Lora & Don Peters (A&S ’81), Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University, Andrew and Eva Martinez, and the Newcomb Art Museum advisory board

Bate Papo! Practice your Portuguese and enjoy some Brazilian treats: kibe

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Bate Papo! Try a bit of Brazil’s Middle Eastern flavor with these kibe treats. This event is sponsored by TULASO and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. Admission is free. All levels welcome. For more information, please contact Megwen at

Loyola University to host talk by Ward Churchill on Indigenism in North America

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Loyola University is excited to welcome acclaimed activist-intellectual Ward Churchill, author of the new book Wielding Words like Weapons: Selected Essays in Indigenism, 1995–2005 and 30 Year Anniversary edition of Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America.

Ward will give an explanation of indigenism, moving from there to the concepts of the Fourth World and the three-legged stool of classic, internal, and settler-state colonialism. He will discuss historical and ongoing genocide of North America’s native peoples and the systematic distortion of the political and legal history of U.S.-Indian relations.

A prolific American Indian scholar/activist, Ward Churchill is a founding member of the Rainbow Council of Elders, and longtime member of the leadership council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. In addition to his numerous works on indigenous history, he has written extensively on U.S. foreign policy and the repression of political dissent, including the FBI’s COINTELPRO operations against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement. Five of his more than 20 books have received human rights awards.

Please contact Nathan Henne ( for additional information.

Sponsored by
The Loyola Latin American Studies Program
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Loyola
The Department of Language and Cultures
The Department of English