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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Mesa Redonda/Round Table Discussion: U.S.-Cuba Relations

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¡Viva Cuba! Now what?

The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute presents a round table discussion on the restoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, and what it may mean for life on the island. Panelists include Tulane students and faculty.

PANELISTS:

  • Dr. Ana M. López, Associate Provost, Director of CCSI, Professor of Communication
  • Dr. Martin Dimitrov, Associate Professor, Political Science
  • Dr. Annie Gibson, Professor of Practice, CGS
  • Jimena Codina, M.A. Candidate, Latin American Studies
  • Boris Martin, Ph.D Candidate, History
  • Dr. Carolina Caballero (moderator), Lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese

All are welcome to attend. Q & A session to follow.
Friday, January 30th
4:30pm
100A Jones Hall
Greenleaf Conference Room

MARI Brown Bag: Christopher Rodning "Joara, Cuenca, and Fort San Juan: The Northern Borderlands of La Florida, 1566-1568"

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Dr. Christopher Rodning, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, will present on his research on Spanish contact with Native North Americans in the southeastern United States.

M.A.R.I.'s Brown Bag talk series is meant to provide a venue for students and faculty focusing on topics related to Mesoamerica to discuss their latest research in an informal and friendly setting. If you are interested in presenting, please email Marcello Canuto (mcanuto@tulane.edu) for more information. For the current speaker list of this talk series, please click here.

Please remember to bring your lunch!

Mobilizing at the Margins: Citizenship, Identity, and Democracy

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Tulane University's Latin American Graduate Organization invites your attendance at the 2015 Graduate Conference where you can meet graduate scholars, faculty, and community leaders interested in Latin America, explore the city, and experience the unique Mardi Gras season in New Orleans!

This year's conference encourages participants to engage with historical and emerging confrontations and reconfigurations of national identification, expressions of individual or communal identity, performances of citizenship, and re-imaginings of democracy within the context of Latin America. Latin America and the Caribbean encompass vast cultural, linguistic, and geographic diversity, making the region a subject of prolific scholarly study across disciplines. Within this complexity, conceptualizations of citizenship, identity, and democracy are constantly being negotiated, contested, and reframed in a multitude of contexts. These various encounters highlight the ways in which individuals interact with their communities, how communities define themselves within and/or beyond the framework of national borders, and how power and politics play out in an increasingly interconnected and decentralized global community.

Our keynote speaker this year will be Dr. Lara Putnam. Lara Putnam is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research has explored labor migration; state racism; and the ways kinship, gender, and sexuality both shape and are shaped by large-scale political and economic shifts. Publications include Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age (UNC Press, 2013), The Company They Kept: Migrants and the Politics of Gender in Caribbean Costa Rica, 1870-1960 (UNC Press, 2002), and recent articles in Modernism/Modernities, International Labor and Working-Class History, the Journal of British Studies, and Small Axe. Work in progress uses examples from the history of Venezuela, Trinidad, and Grenada to explore methodological and theoretical dilemmas within history's transnational and digital "turns."

Photographic Exhibit: "Mexico, World Heritage Cities"

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The Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans is pleased to present the photographic exhibit “Mexico, World Heritage Cities” from January 22 to February 15, 2015. An opening reception will be held on January 22nd at 6 PM.

To date 721 sites worldwide have been listed as World Heritage sites including 167 cities. Of these cities, 10 of them are located in Mexico. The cities were chosen due to their historic, architectural, and urban importance. They include Campeche, Guanajuato, Morelia, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, San Miguel, Zacatecas, and Mexico City.

Summer in Argentina Program Info Session

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TULANE SUMMER IN ARGENTINA PROGRAM
JUNE 14 – JULY 17, 2015
FREE FOOD!

Summer in Argentina is a Tulane-run five-week program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that offers six credits of courses in Spanish and Political Science. It’s ideal for students who want to have an experience abroad and strengthen their Spanish skills, but cannot commit to a semester-long program. It’s also an outstanding opportunity for anything who wants to have a rich experience in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Come meet the director of the program, talk to alumni of the 2014 program, and enjoy some Argentine food!

A representative from the Stone Center for Latin American Studies will also be present, so bring all of your questions.

Wednesday, February 25
5:00-6:00PM
100A Jones Hall, Greenleaf Conference Room

For more information about the program, contact Professor Marilyn Miller (mgmiller_at_tulane.edu), or Laura Wise (sclassum_at_tulane.edu).

Congreso internacional de literatura y cultura centroamericanas (CILCA XXIII)

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Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, y Purdue University Calumet tienen el gusto de invitar al CONGRESO DE LITERATURA y CULTURA CENTROAMERICANAS (CILCA XXIII) que se llevará a cabo en la ciudad de New Orleans, Louisiana, del 11 al 13 de marzo del 2015 en el campus de Tulane University y Loyola University New Orleans.

Desde el primer congreso realizado en Nicaragua 1993, CILCA se ha caracterizado por ser un espacio de intercambio intelectual y de amistad para académicas/os, escritoras/es y lectoras/es. El congreso se ha efectuado en todos los países centroamericanos y por primera vez en su historia, CILCA se realizará en los Estados Unidos. La ciudad escogida es Nueva Orleáns, puerta de entrada hacia el Caribe y los países de América Central. El intercambio cultural entre Nueva Orleáns y América Central ha sido intenso por muchísimos años, y la ciudad alberga una de las comunidades de origen hondureño más grandes de los Estados Unidos. Tulane University tiene estrechos lazos con la región a través del Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Latin American Library, y the Middle American Research Institute. Loyola University New Orleans se ha distinguido por el trabajo con las comunidades hispanas que realizan varias de sus unidades académicas, incluyendo the Law School y el Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

La organización de CILCA XXIII la realizan la Dra. Maureen Shea y el Dr. Uriel Quesada, expertos en literatura y cultura centroamericanas, con el apoyo del Dr. Jorge Román Lagunas, creador y promotor de CILCA.

Ud. puede ver La convocatoria aquí

Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, and Purdue University Calumet invite you to the Congress on Literature and Culture of Central America (CILCA XXIII) which will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana March 11-13 2015 on the campuses of Tulane and Loyola New Orleans.

From the first conference, held in Nicaragua in 1993, CILCA has been a space for intellectual exchange and friendship for academics and writers. The conference has been held in all of the Central American countries and for the first time in its history will be held in the United States. New Orleans, the gateway to the Caribbean and Central America, has been chosen as the location. New Orleans and Central America have a longstanding cultural exchange and New Orleans has one of the largest Honduran communities in the United States. Tulane has long connections with the region through the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Latin American Library, and the Middle American Research Institute. Loyola New Orleans works closely with hispanic communities particularly through the Law school and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

CILCA XXIII is organized by Drs. Maureen Shea and Uriel Quesada, experts on the literature and culture of Central America, with the support of Dr. Jorge Román Lagunas, creator of CILCA.

  • CALL FOR PAPERS DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JANUARY 15, 2015. Call for papers is available here
  • MAKE RESERVATIONS AT THE HOTEL HERE.

Registration prices are listed below:

Early Registration (BEFORE January 15, 2015):

  • $150.00 U.S. academics
  • $125.00 U.S. Latin American academics traveling from Latin America; graduate students in the U.S.
  • $100.00 Latin American graduate students traveling from Latin America

Late registration (AFTER January 15, 2015):

  • $165.00 U.S. academics
  • $140.00 Latin American academics traveling from Latin America; graduate students in the U.S.
  • $115.00 Latin American graduate students traveling from Latin America