Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

"Saludos desde San Jose!" written by Jack Mace

By Annie Gibson

I am handing over my blog on the CIAPA Experience to the students participating in the program. This way you all can have a better idea of what life is like for a student at CIAPA. This blog entry is written by Currin Wallis. She is a freshman student who has begun her first semester of Tulane at CIAPA in Costa Rica 2012. Pura Vida, Professor Gibson

Jack’s Blog:

Saludos desde San Jose! Greetings!

Hello. I am writing this blog entry from my dorm room, room 205, which sits on the top floor of a large, hotel-like building on the joint Tulane – CIAPA campus in San Jose, Costa Rica. This building is where us Tulane students spend a lot of our time: studying for our various classes, eating, and sleeping, in that order of importance. The time as of now is 2:30 pm, on a Tuesday, October 7. Around me sits piles of essays and sketches strewn across my desk, and in front of me, pinned to a drawing board, is the schedule of my classes for the Fall 2012 Semester, which I double-check constantly out of forgetfulness. If I were to turn around and look out my open door, I would see the miniature rainforest that covers the CIAPA campus, and farther on, a towering golden “M”, for McDonald’s, back-dropped by the rolling, tropical-green hills and mountains that surround the city of San Jose. As I write this, the city is alive with a heavy rain, and thunder rumbles fiercely overhead, as it does almost every afternoon in this place. My name is Jack, and I’m one of the students studying at CIAPA in San Jose, Costa Rica.

As a student here at CIAPA, there is much and more to do, and almost everything we do is tied together with our studies. During the week my five other peers and I go about our daily business: going to class, taking the bus into San Jose, making our way to the local gym of which we have been granted membership, personal trainers, and thumb-print recognition access. Fellow gym members, most of them young, will often greet us with a “pura vida”, or “pure life”, a saying that Ticos (Costa Ricans) are fond of as both greetings and farewells.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, we visit two respective high schools in San Jose and work with English classes there. The last time we visited, we played the Spanish version of Scrabble with the class, and the next two hours saw countless conversations in Spanglish about life in general. The group that connects us with these schools is called the Youth Action Foundation, and it works with high schools all over Costa Rica to improve the quality of education for kids in primary and secondary school.
The rest of the week is spent studying and reading for our busy class schedule, which includes topics like Comparative Politics, Central American Government, and Latin American Art History. All of the classes are humanities, and I miss science, but they blend into such a cohesive study of Latin America – specifically Central America – that I often find myself forgetting which class I’m studying for. Weekends are usually a time to break free from the week’s routine and travel around the area, but occasionally we head out on organized, group weekend trips. So far these trips have led us to the cloud forests of Monteverde, white-water rafting in the mountains of Rara Avis, and, in the future, to the Caribbean beaches of the city of Limon. Again, I can’t express enough the beauty of this place.

Over the course of my stay here, I’ve made attempts to define the identity of this place called “Rich Coast”, and I have found it to be very difficult to pinpoint. Instead, flashes of inspiration will come to me in certain moments, much like the silent flashes of lightning that, late in the night, briefly illuminate the dark masses of mountains that surround CIAPA. I once watched out of a bus window as a series of young people marched on the street, banging unceremoniously and without rhythm on drums; this was Costa Rica. On one of our many weekend trips as a group, we visited the cloud forest of Monteverde, and were able to walk amidst and listen to the forest come alive with rain in the night; this was also Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s identity is hard to define, but I’ve come to the conclusion that Costa Rica is a proud country: proud of its natural splendor, proud of its history as one of the leading countries in Central America in political and economic stability, and proud of its happy people. At the same time, globalization and foreign influence have done their deeds, and Costa Rica’s identity is now attempting to cope with things like a beautiful, unique tropical bird perched on a giant, humming McDonald’s arch. Unfortunately that is only one of many examples of identity crisis. But this brings me to the National Theater.

When the United States was undergoing Industrialization, there began a large movement of appreciating and in turn depicting the vast, previously untouched nature of North America that was now being taken for granted. The United States has its Hudson River Painters, and Costa Rica has the National Theater in San Jose.

While it may be a bit of an overstatement to compare these two countries in terms of rejuvenating the appreciation for the national environment, it is certainly undeniable that both played, and are playing a part in the conservation of national identity when it comes to natural splendor. The National Theater is a huge building at the center of the Plaza of Culture in San Jose, which in turn is in the center of the city. The Plaza was originally built around the Theater, which was one of the first buildings to arise in the area, tall and majestic, dwarfing the one-story colonial homes it stood amidst at the turn of the 20th century. Now it stands as a cultural center for both locals and tourists. On the two occasions I’ve been to the theater (both of which played notable substitutions for our actual Tulane Interdisciplinary class), the shows seemed to emanate an irresistible love affair between Costa Rica and its people.
The first show was a performance by the Jazz pianist Chucho Valdez and his band, the Afro-Cuban Messengers. The performance was impossible to describe with words, but I can say that it gave me a newfound appreciation for Latin American music. When I got back to CIAPA I immediately downloaded all of Valdez’ music from “iTunes”. The performance was also unique in that involved the crowd pretty vehemently. Towards the end the band had everyone in the theater dancing, singing, and clapping. I can’t say for sure that this is a Costa Rican quality, but I can say that I would rarely see that in Seattle, Washington (where I’m from).

The second performance celebrated an anniversary of the Theater, and involved three separate acts of dance. Throughout the show we saw naked women and men running around attempting not to conform to society; a man and a woman falling in and out of love with fiery Latin flare; and a slow, ritualistic dance with big jungle cats, lots of water, and artificial steam and bird noises. All of these acts shared the same quality of attempting to celebrate Costa Rican culture, and by the end, it had succeeded at least with me. Of course, I acknowledge that these performances are filtered from real experiences with these aspects of Costa Rican culture, but when it was over I at least had the feeling that I knew Costa Rica a little better.

In conclusion, come to Costa Rica, but don’t go to college here – there are too many distractions. While you are here, please visit the National Theater.

Pura vida,

Jack Mace

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Annie Gibson

    Administrative Assistant Professor - Department of Global Education

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Regulators without Borders? Labor Inspectors in Latin America and Beyond

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Please join us for the Lecture & Luncheon, “Regulators without Borders? Labor Inspectors in Latin America and Beyond” by Andrew Shrank, Olive Watson Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

RSVP Required. To reserve a spot or for more information, contact: cipr@tulane.edu

Sponsored by CIPR.

Description:
The substantial body of literature addresses the growth of transnational regulatory networks that purport to foster learning, legitimacy, and coordination among national regulatory agencies. But network membership is neither universal nor well understood. Are regulators more likely to go abroad when they are vulnerable to domestic political pressure, or when their independence and influence are intact?

Art Exhibit: Maya Ruins and the Passage of Time: The Stephens and Catherwood Project

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The Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans, in conjunction with the 2015 Tulane Maya Symposium (TMS), is hosting an art exhibit by Jay Frogel featuring photographs and images of ancient Maya sites. Frogel mixes modern photographs with drawings from the 1800s to show the passage of time at these sites. The opening reception will be held on March 19th.

To register for the K-12 teacher workshop or the reminder of the Maya Symposium please visit the registration page.

La primera Guerra mundial como evento latinoamericano: Modernismo, cosmopolitismo y distancia afectiva

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Dr. Mariano Siskind, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, will present a talk entitled "La primera Guerra mundial como evento latinoamericano: Modernismo, cosmopolitismo y distancia afectiva."

The talk will be held in Spanish. A short reception will follow.

Talk abstract:
¿Se puede considerar a la primera guerra mundial como un conflicto latinoamericano? Cuando abordamos esta pregunta en apariencia irrisoria desde la perspectiva de la historia literaria y cultural, emerge un archivo latinoamericano de experimentos estéticos sobre la guerra que interroga su mundialidad y el lugar de la cultura latinoamericana en el contexto de la globalización de la cultura moderna, De Darío a Nervo, de Gómez Carrillo a Alejandro Sux, muchos escritores modernistas presenciaron la guerra desde muy cerca y desde muy lejos, pero siempre tratando de achicar la distancia geopolítica que los separaba de la escena bélica a partir de una compleja identificación discursiva con la empresa de los aliados. Esta necesidad de suturar la distancia que los separa de las trincheras del frente occidental pone en evidencia el campo de fuerzas simbólicas y afectivas que se constituye a partir de los intentos de los modernistas por inscribir su proyecto estético en un escenario transcultural que ellos mismos invisten con significantes universales.

Sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, and the Graduate Studies Student Association.

Le voyage des mots: Comparaison des lexiques naturalistes des langues tupi-guarani (Amérique du Sud)

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The Center for Scholars, the Department of French and Italian, and the Linguistics Program of Tulane University cordially invite you to attend a lecture in French by a distinguished specialist on the family of Tupi-Guarani languages.

Dr. Françoise Grenand is an anthropologist and Emeritus Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, French National Research Council) of France. She is renowned for her pioneering work on the vocabulary of Wayãpi and other indigenous languages in French Guiana and elsewhere in lowland South America, including Brazil. Dr. Grenand will lecture on Tupi-Guarani languages and vocabularies based on her many years of research among the Wayãpi people of French Guiana. She will present a Powerpoint in English to accompany her lecture, which will be delivered in French.

ABSTRACT:
Au cours de leur histoire, de nombreux peuples ont migré, emportant avec eux leur langue, trésor précieux et fragile. Découvrant des écosystèmes inédits, ils ont dû s'adapter et intégrer dans leur langue des mots nouveaux pour nommer les entités nouvelles. Prenant l'exemple des peuples Tupi-Guarani d'Amérique du Sud, la présente conférence entend expliquer leur démarche dans les lexiques zoologiques et botaniques. Des termes immotivés sont les témoins précieux des migrations anciennes. Des termes motivés descripteurs restent souvent neutres et de moindre portée. Motivés ou non, un certain nombre de termes, porteurs d’une grande charge sociétale, sont intéressants dans la comparaison linguistique et culturelle.

A Talk by Mariano Siskind: "La primera Guerra mundial como evento latinoamericano: Modernismo, cosmopolitismo y distancia afectiva"

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The Department of Spanish & Portuguese graduate students are pleased to invite you to the talk "La primera Guerra mundial como evento latinoamericano: Modernismo, cosmopolitismo y distancia afectiva", by John l Prof. Mariano Siskind, from Harvard University.
The talk will take place Friday, April 17th, 2015, at 16:30 in Newcomb Hall 407. A small reception will follow.
Below you can find an abstract of the talk, which will be held in Spanish.

If you have any questions, please contact Camilo A. Malagón at cmalagon@tulane.edu, or Estefanía Flores at cflores@tulane.edu.

Hope to see you there.

"La primera Guerra mundial como evento latinoamericano: Modernismo, cosmopolitismo y distancia afectiva"

Resumen: ¿Se puede considerar a la primera guerra mundial como un conflicto latinoamericano? Cuando abordamos esta pregunta en apariencia irrisoria desde la perspectiva de la historia literaria y cultural, emerge un archivo latinoamericano de experimentos estéticos sobre la guerra que interroga su mundialidad y el lugar de la cultura latinoamericana en el contexto de la globalización de la cultura moderna, De Darío a Nervo, de Gómez Carrillo a Alejandro Sux, muchos escritores modernistas presenciaron la guerra desde muy cerca y desde muy lejos, pero siempre tratando de achicar la distancia geopolítica que los separaba de la escena bélica a partir de una compleja identificación discursiva con la empresa de los aliados. Esta necesidad de suturar la distancia que los separa de las trincheras del frente occidental pone en evidencia el campo de fuerzas simbólicas y afectivas que se constituye a partir de los intentos de los modernistas por inscribir su proyecto estético en un escenario transcultural que ellos mismos invisten con significantes universales.

Summer K-12 Teacher Institute: Teaching Afro-Brazilian Identity in the K-12 Classroom

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The Latin American Resource Center, the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University, and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute and the Portuguese Flagship Program at the University of Georgia are presenting a K-12 teacher workshop on the Portuguese language and Brazilian Culture. The workshop will take place on the Tulane University Uptown Campus.

DEADLINE TO APPLY IS APRIL 5, 2015!

K-12 educators of any discipline and grade-level are welcome to apply to attend this 5 day institute. The focus of the institute is on the language, culture, and performance of Brazil. The workshop will include exposure to the Portuguese language, discussions with scholars of Brazilian culture and performance, viewings of Brazilian films, and performances by Brazilian groups. Throughout the week, educators will work to develop interdisciplinary curricula, which they can bring back to their schools to teach and share with colleagues. There is a specialized track to this institute in order to better support participants. There is a Portuguese Language track which consists of intensive morning language sessions for those interested in receiving a crash course in basic Portuguese. This track is open to participants with Spanish language background and little to no Portuguese training. While this track is meeting every morning, sessions for those interested in cultures of Brazil will take place. Please make sure to identify if you would like to be in the language track in your application form at the bottom of this page.

Registration Information
Participants have the option of registering under three affordable rates:

  • Basic Registration – $50 [includes all materials, parking permit for 5 days, internet access and registration to entire program with no lodging or meals.]
  • Full Registration – $250 [includes all above plus includes lodging (with linens) in a Tulane residence hall 4 nights, with 2 meals a day, and access to Tulane Reilly Fitness Center.]
  • Deluxe Registration – $300 [includes everything above plus guarantees a single room in the residence hall.]

The 2015 Summer K-12 Teacher Institute, Somos Nós: Teaching Afro-Brazilian Identity is a 20-hour program designed for K-12 teachers, librarians, or administrative staff. K-12 educators will benefit from this timely, interactive program on one of the world's strongest and most influential economies in the world, Brazil. The program is sponsored by Tulane University, the University of Georgia, and Vanderbilt University through a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant.

DEADLINE TO APPLY IS APRIL 5, 2015!

A detailed schedule will be posted shortly. For more information visit the institute webpage

For more information, please contact Denise Woltering Vargas at 504-862-3143 or dwolteri@tulane.edu