Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Congo Square: Crossroads of the Afro-Atlantic World

November 14th, 2009
1:00 - 6:00 PM

Location
Jazz & Heritage Center
1225 N. Rampart Street

Leading scholars on African and Caribbean culture, and their impact on New Orleans, will gather on Saturday, Nov. 14, for a symposium entitled Congo Square: Crossroads of the Afro-Atlantic World.”

(Presenter Ned Sublette was a former Rockefeller Fellow at Tulane’s Stone Center. Read the news article about Ned’s recent book release.)

The symposium is free and open to the public and the event is presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation as a part of the Foundation’s Tom Dent Congo Square Lecture Series.

The day following the symposium, the Jazz & Heritage Foundation will present the third annual Congo Square Rhythms Festival in nearby Armstrong Park. The festival is free and open to the public. It will feature music, food and a large crafts area. Performers include Ensemble Fatien (featuring Ivorian multi-instrumentalist Seguenon Kone, Dr. Michael White, Sunpie Barnes and others), the Kumbuka African Dance Ensemble and many more.

Congo Square: Crossroads of the Afro-Atlantic World” features Ned Sublette, author of The World That Made New Orleans, Yale University African culture scholar Robert Farris Thompson, musician Alex LaSalle of the Puerto Rican group Alma Moyó and others in a day-long series of discussions and workshops.

The final hour of the symposium will feature a drum workshop and a cocktail reception.

SCHEDULE:

1:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions

  • Presentation by Ned Sublette, “Rocking the City, Cracking the Code: Bámbula at Congo Square”

2:30 p.m. Presentation by Robert Farris Thompson, “Kongo with a OK’”

3:30 p.m. Break

3:45 p.m. Panel Discussion: Perspectives on Congo Square

  • Freddi Williams Evans: “Congo Square Through the Years”
  • Connie Zeanah Atkinson: “Place Publique: The Historical Congo Square”
  • Herreast Harrison and Robert Farris Thompson: A Dialogue
  • Luther Gray: “Advocating for Congo Square”

5:00 p.m. Drum Workshop (featuring Alex LaSalle and Luther Gray) and Cocktail Reception

Event Summary: Congo Square was the popular but never official name for the commons that is now part of Armstrong Park, across Rampart Street from the French Quarter in New Orleans. It has the status of sacred space in African-American culture, and the gatherings that took place there constitute a singular and fundamental phenomenon in the musical and cultural history of the United States. Beginning as a Sunday arketplace, by the early 19th Century that commons had become the only place in the United States where enslaved people could gather en masse to sing, drum and dance. It was a place of memory and experimentation, a commercial center, and a party — all in a city thatwould in many essential respects be recognizable to New Orleanians today. This symposium brings together a variety of scholars and cultural practitioners to consider the facts, meaning, and legacy of Congo Square.

Presentation Summaries:

Ned Sublette: “Rocking the City, Cracking the Code: Bámbula at Congo Square”
1:10 p.m.

One of the great frustrations in thinking about Congo Square is that we have no recordings of how it sounded. Contemporary accounts, most notably Benjamin Henry Latrobe’s 1819 description with pictures, describe dense activity and loud, diverse sound, or, as another traveler observed that same year: the “African slaves” would “assemble on the green by the swamp and rock the city with their Congo dances.”

But we are not confined to the stray written evidence handed down by culturally naïve passers-by. We also have a thriving oral culture to consult. While we might not be able to recapture the composite sound of Congo Square, we know some things about the music there. There was at least one element for which we have a pretty good living relative today: the bámbula. The bámbula one might have heard at Congo Square in 1819 bore no small resemblance to the way bámbula is played today in western Puerto Rico. Cousins of this style can be heard in eastern Cuba and Guadeloupe, among other places. This, in turn, is a consequence of one of the generative explosions of popular music in the Western hemisphere: the diaspora occasioned by the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1804.

Appearing with Ned Sublette will be Alex LaSalle, a specialist in the music of western Puerto Rico, who will demonstrate the way bámbula is played in the contemporary and historical context.

Robert Farris Thompson: “Kongo with a K”
2:30 p.m.

The presentation will consist of two sections, both bearing on Creole continuities of Kongo culture in the Americas. First are the well-known continuities, the conga drum, the conga line, the congo grind. But jug-bands in early jazz also trace back to Kongo, as do the twist [zka nitu], the
ring-shout, and very likely the Charleston, being that South Carolina is famous for a Kongo house built in the late 19th Century by a former slave, Kongo-influenced face-jugs with inserted kaolin eyes and cut teeth, and a pond associated with the powerful Kongo water spirits, the simbi.

Kongo is famous for its writing system [bidimbu] and as a direct extension of that are time-resistant gestures practiced there and here over the last 200 years: arms akimbo, hands above head with fingers wide spread, right hand forward and left on hip. These echo and re-echo in art historical documents which we touch upon briefly. In sum, specific musical, choreographic and gestural traditions will be shown to link Black Americas with the noble civilization of the kingdom of Kongo.

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Apply for the Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A Summer Educator Institute in Cuba

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Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A Summer Educator Institute in Cuba
Havana, Cuba | June 23 – July 7, 2018
Program Application
Application Deadline: March 2, 2018

Tulane University’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute at Tulane University join forces with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies to take K-16 educators to Cuba. This is our fourth year running the Cuban Culture & Society K-16 Educator Institute and we are excited about this year’s itinerary. The institute will approach Cuban society and culture form a multidisciplinary perspective focused on the arts, the geography, and history of the country. Innovative programming and annual summer teacher institutes over the past three years provide the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and studying the region. Taking advantage of Tulane’s relationship with the University of Havana and Cuba’s National Union of Writers and Artists, the institute equips teachers with multidisciplinary content, curricular resources, and methods of inquiry for developing that approach in their K-16 classrooms. Conducted in English by Professor Carolina Caballero, the institute will explore current trends and issues in Cuban culture and society through readings, films, and lectures. The program includes a series of talks by prominent Cuban intellectuals and local field trips to important political and cultural sights throughout Havana.

This two-week program provides the unique opportunity to work on developing lesson plans while exploring the sights and sounds of a nation and country that remain obscured behind political rhetoric and misinformation. Recent economic changes on the island have provoked a series of social and cultural transformations that have left Cubans and the entire world wondering what could be next for the island and the Revolution. Don’t miss the chance to witness some of these challenges and triumphs firsthand and get the opportunity to bring your experience back to your students in the classroom.

The trip will include a pre-departure orientation and two weeks in Cuba. The institute incorporates visits to local museums and exposes participants to arts organizations, schools, and teachers from the country’s national literacy campaign. Participants will stay within walking distance of the Malecón, the university, and many cultural venues. There will be group excursions to the historic Che Guevara monument, a visit to the site of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and a special visit to the town of Hershey, the town developed by Milton Hershey to begin his chocolate enterprise with the sugar from Cuba’s plantations. There will also be group excursions to the historic cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, Playa Girón, and Viñales, focusing on their role in the development of the economy and culture of the country

PROGRAM COST: $3,500
The cost will include a shared room and two meals a day, medical insurance, airfare to/from Havana from Tampa, Florida*, airport transportation in Havana to/from residence, OFAC-licensed academic visa, and specialized tours and outings.

*Airfare to/from Tampa, Florida, a one-night hotel stay in Tampa, incidental costs, and extra meals and expenses are not included in the program cost. You are responsible for your own air flight to/from Tampa, FL.

PROGRAM APPLICATION
Those interested in applying must be a K-16 educator or librarian. There is no Spanish language requirement for this program. The application deadline is March 2, 2018, at 5:00 PM.

Please note: This program is only open to K-16 educators who are currently teaching, are pre-service teachers or are serving in a school or public library.

PROPOSED ITINERARY – 15 DAYS
Please be advised that this itinerary is subject to change based on availability in Cuba. The itinerary below is the schedule from the 2017 institute.

  • Day 1 – U.S./HAVANA, CUBA
    Depart from Tampa, FL, Upon arrival, enjoy dinner and a welcome reception followed by an informal walk and people watching on the Malecón.
  • Day 2 – HAVANA
    Habana Vieja (Old Havana) Tour with local preservation experts to discuss in depth the history of local landmarks, historical preservation efforts, and future plans. Visit Muraleando Lawton, a community art project in the Lawton neighborhood of Havana. Hear from the founders of this project on how the neighborhood developed to promote skills in the community and support the local economy and meet with local community leaders, students and elderly folks at the community center.
  • Day 3 – HAVANA
    Lecture with Professor Carlos Alzugaray on Cuba Since the Special Period. Visit the elementary school Sergio Luis Ferriol in Habana Vieja. Connect with teachers and administrators about their experiences in the classroom.
  • Day 4 – HAVANA
    Visit the Museo Nacional de la Alfabetización (National Museum of the Literacy Campaign) and connect with members of the literacy brigade, teachers from the literacy campaign.
  • Day 5 – HAVANA
    Visit and explore Ernest Hemingway’s house. Have lunch in the infamous fishing village of Cojimar. In the afternoon, explore art by taking a tour of the Cuban Collection of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes accompanied by a curator then visit with artists at the Taller de Gráfica.
  • Day 6 – HERSHEY
    Day trip to the Hershey, Cuba and nature park. The site where famous chocolatier Milton Hershey developed his chocolate business by setting up sugar mills in the early 1900’s. Explore the natural side of Cuba in this country town.
  • Day 7 – HAVANA
    Learn about children’s literature and the book publishing business in Cuba by visiting Cuba’s national publisher UNEAC and hear first hand from children’s book authors. We will hear from children’s book author Olga Marta Pérez about the children’s/ youth Literacy Scene in Cuba today.
  • Day 8 – HAVANA/REGLA
    Take the ferry across the bay in Havana to the town of Regla to learn about Afro-Cuban dance and music from musicologist Cari Diez and an Afro-Cuban dance performance group.
  • Day 9 – SANTA CLARA, TRINIDAD
    Travel to Trinidad via Santa Clara, a town founded by 175 people on July 15, 1689. It is the site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution in 1958. Visit to the Che Mausoleum in Santa Clara. Also visit the historic sugar plantation of Manaca Iznaga before arriving in Trinidad.
  • Day 10 – TRINIDAD
    Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, founded on December 23, 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuellar. Trinidad was a central piece of Cuba’s sugar-based economy. Guided city tour with the city historian. Visit the Trinidad library to learn about the importance of libraries and debate questions of intellectual freedom with the staff.
  • Day 11 – PLAYA GIRON (SITE OF BAY OF PIGS) Ciénega de Zapata, Playa Larga
    Day excursion to the historic site of the Bay of Pigs, one of the landing sites for the 1961 US-backed invasion. Visit the Finca Fiesta Campesina farm, the Playa Girón museum, the Parque Ciénaga de Zapata, the Laguna del Tesoro, and the Taino Indian village. Snorkel in the Bay of Pigs!
  • Day 12 – HAVANA
    Visit the U.S. Embassy and hear first-hand about the state of current relations between the U.S. and Cuba. In the afternoon, we head over to meet up with the famous hip-hop group, Obsesión to hear about their music and experience as hip-hop artists in Cuba.
  • Day 13 – MATANZAS/VARADERO
    Take a day trip to Matanzas, the capital of the Cuban province of Matanzas. Known for its poets, culture, and Afro-Cuban folklore, we will explore the Triunvirato Plantation and the Castillo San Severino where we will hear about the history of slavery in Cuba. The rest of the afternoon we relax and explore the beautiful beaches of Varadero, a popular resort town covering Cuba’s narrow Hicacos Peninsula.
  • Day 14 – HAVANA
    Wrap-up curriculum workshop followed by a free afternoon ending in a celebratory dinner.
  • Day 15 – HAVANA/U.S.
    Morning departure for the U.S.

Explore our past trips through these photos and curricula:

Program Application

For more information, please contact Denise Woltering-Vargas at dwolteri@tulane.edu or call the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at 504-862-3143.

Apply for the Summer 2018 Teaching Brazil Teacher Institute

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Teaching Brazil: Expanding Perspectives on Colonial History
K-12 Educator Summer Institute

Salvador, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo, Brazil | July 7 – July 17, 2018

DEADLINE TO APPLY AS A CURRICULUM WRITER EXTENDED: MARCH 9, 2018

The centers for Latin American Studies at Tulane University, Vanderbilt University, with support from the University of Georgia will take K-16 educators in various disciplines to Brazil. The institute will approach Brazilian culture from a multidisciplinary perspective focused on colonialization. The trip will include a pre-departure orientation and two weeks of overseas travel. The institute will explore the cities of Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo to focus on their respective role in colonial history.

Innovative programming and annual summer teacher institutes over the past five years by the three institutes provide the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and studying the region. Taking advantage of each institution’s strength, the institute equips teachers with multidisciplinary content, curricular resources, and methods of inquiry for deploying that approach themselves in their K-12 classrooms, creating a model that is generative of innovative approaches to K-12 education more broadly.

Objectives:

  • Advance and disseminate knowledge of Brazil by providing opportunities fro K-12 educators to experience first-hand the history, politics, language, and culture of Brazil;
  • Provide introductory Portuguese language training that emphasizes regional linguistic variations;
  • Contribute to the development of internationalizing curriculum that accurately and effectively brings Brazil into the classroom through standards-based approaches.

REGISTRATION

Thanks to a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center grant, this program is able to provide a special opportunity for educators to participate as Curriculum Writers at a reduced program cost. There are limited spots to participate as a curriculum writer so please get your applications submitted early! Please note that curriculum writers are responsible for submitting a curriculum by August 1, 2018. See the Curriculum Writer Guidelines for more information and check below on how to apply.

Curriculum Writer program cost: $1373 + internal airfare estimated at $300
Deadline to Register as a Curriculum Writer EXTENDED: MARCH 9, 2018

Regular Program Cost: $2,744 + internal airfare (approximately $300)
Deadline to Register: MARCH 15, 2018

PROGRAM COST INCLUDES:

  • 10 nights lodging;
  • 2 meals a day;
  • gratuities;
  • in-country transportation;
  • internet;
  • liability insurance;
  • medical evacuation insurance

NOT INCLUDED:

  • International round-trip airfare TO Brazil (we meet in Salvador and leave from Sao Paulo)
  • Hotel extras;
  • Meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional activities covered by individuals;
  • Individual travel insurance;
  • Visa fees

Cards will be charged 50% on March 19, 2018 and the remainder April 19, 2018.

In order to register, please:

1) Complete the registration form
2) Apply to be a Curriculum Writer (see instructions below).

Deadlines:

  • February 26, 2018: Deadline to apply for Curriculum Writer Scholarship
  • February 28, 2018: Winners of Curriculum Writer Scholarships will be notified
  • March 5, 2018: Deadline to accept conditions of Curriculum Writer Scholarship and return letter of commitment to Denise Woltering Vargas [dwolteri@tulane.edu] and Colleen McCoy [colleen.e.mccoy@vanderbilt.edu]
  • March 15, 2018: Final Deadline to Register for Brazil Institute 2018

INSTRUCTIONS TO APPLY FOR THE CURRICULUM WRITER SCHOLARSHIP
Thanks to a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant, Tulane University, Vanderbilt University, and The University of Georgia are able to provide funding for K-16 teachers interested in developing a curriculum as part of their participation in this 2018 summer teacher institute to Brazil. Curriculum writers will be charged a discounted in-country program fee of $1373 + internal airfare (apx. $300) and international airfare. You must commit to writing a curriculum project – check out the Curriculum Writer Guidelines here. There are limited spots for this opportunity, please apply early. If you would like to apply to be a curriculum writer for this summer’s teacher institute in Brazil, please:

1) fill out the contact form HERE
2) submit the CURRICULUM WRITER APPLICATION by FEBRUARY 26, 2018 to crcrts@tulane.edu or mail to Denise Woltering Vargas at Tulane University, 100 Jones Hall, 6801 Freret Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118.
Please call 504-862-3143 with any questions.

La Hora del Cuento: Summer Bilingual Story Hour at the Pebbles Center

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This summer, join us for La hora del cuenta bilingual readings series at the Pebbles Centers of the New Orleans Public Libraries!

On the first and last Saturday of every month, we will read a bilingual book at the Algiers Regional Library and the Children’s Resource Center Library beginning on Saturday April 28 until Saturday, August 25. Children and parents welcome!

Story Hours Dates and Locations

Algiers Regional Branch
Saturday, May 5
2:30 PM

Saturday, June 2
2:30 PM

Saturday, July 7
2:30 PM

Saturday, August 4
2:30 PM

Children’s Resource Center Library
Saturday, April 28
12:00 PM

Saturday, May 26
12:00 PM

Saturday, June 30
12:00 PM

Saturday, July 28
12:00 PM

Saturday, August 25
12:00 PM