Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

2008-2009 News Archive

June 1st, 2009

Photo: Award recipients 2009—Martín Mendoza, Jonathan Kim, Elise Dietrich, Lilith Reed, Marcelle Beaulieu, Amanda Magdalena, Derek Burdette, Hilary Smith, Adriana Hernández (Story below)

2009 Stone Center Awards Ceremony

The Stone Center’s Annual Awards Ceremony took place Monday, May 4th, 2009, from 5-6pm in the Greenleaf Conference Room. At the Awards Ceremony, six Best Paper Prize winners were honored, as well as the Best Graduate TA, and the Undergraduate Senior Scholar. Additionally, the graduate and undergraduate student organizations recognized select Faculty and peers for their contributions to student life and education. A small reception followed the Ceremony in the Jones Hall patio.

Award Winners:

  • The Stone Center Award for Best Campus-Wide Undergraduate Paper on a Latin American Topic
    Jonathan Kim, “A Reform for the Reformer? The MST’s Decline During Lula’s First Administration”
  • The Stone Center Award for Best Campus-Wide Graduate Paper on a Latin American Topic
    Marcelle Beaulieu, “First and Third World Borders: Shared Characteristics and Strategies”
  • The Alberto Vázquez Award for Best Undergraduate Paper in the Humanities by a Latin American Studies Major/Minor
    Lilith Reed, “Campo against Ciudad? The Resonance of Old Dichotomies in the 2008 Argentine Grower’s Conflict” (Nominated by Dr. Edith Wolfe)
  • The M. Karen Bracken Award for Best Undergraduate Paper in the Social Sciences by a Latin American Studies Major/Minor
    Adriana Hernández, “Public Health as a Battleground: Imperialism, Health and State Legitimacy in Cuba (1868-1934)”
  • The Donald Robertson Award for Best Graduate Paper in the Humanities by a Latin American Studies Graduate Student
    Elise Dietrich, “A Turma do Pererê: Blackness-As-Other in a Brazilian Children’s Comic” (Nominated by Dr. Martha Huggins)
  • The Richard E. Greenleaf Award for Best Graduate Paper in the Social Sciences by a Latin American Studies Graduate Student
    Amanda Magdalena, “Baseball/Softball in Shaping Female Identity in Southern California and the Midwest, 1930-1970”
  • Simon Rodriguez Award for Best Undergraduate Teacher
    Supriya Nair, Department of English
  • William J. Griffith Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Latin American Studies
    Hilary Smith
  • Senior Scholar Award
    Jonathan Kim
  • LAGO Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award
    Derek Burdette
  • LAGO Outstanding Faculty Member Service Award
    Martín Mendoza, Zemurray-Stone Post-doctoral Fellow

To see more photos from the awards ceremony, visit the Stone Center’s Flickr site.

Tulane Anthropologist in the News
John Verano was recently honored by National Geographic and highlighted in the Times-Picayune’s Higher Education Notes for his work in Peru.

“Ancient surgery report honored
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
By John Pope

A Tulane University anthropologist and his colleagues have won praise from National Geographic News for their article for a scholarly journal about the ancient Incas’ skill at skull surgery.

John Verano was an author of a report that National Geographic described as one of last year’s “Top Ten Archaeology Finds.”

Based on 1,000-year-old skeletons they found near Cuzco, Peru, the researchers said that the Incas removed small portions of people’s skulls to treat head injuries, generally those that men suffered in combat. But because there were no signs of healing, the scholars concluded that, early on, the operation probably was lethal.

However, by the 1400s, the surgeons apparently developed enough knowledge of cranial anatomy to achieve a 90 percent recovery rate, according to the article.

This technique, which has undergone many refinements in the intervening centuries, still is used to reduce pressure on the brain caused by fluid buildup after trauma. The skull fragment is replaced when swelling subsides.

The principal author was Valerie Andrushko of Southern Connecticut State University. “

Students Host and Present Latin American Studies Conferences

The month of November was active for both undergraduate students in Latin American Studies and graduate students whose research focuses on Latin America. On November 14-15, the graduate students in Latin American Studies and Spanish & Portuguese hosted “Violence and Desire: Performance and Movements in Latin America.” On November 22, Latin American Studies majors and minors in LAST 400 “Core Seminar,” the capstone seminar for the Latin American Studies undergraduate program, participated in the sixth annual Tulane Undergraduate Conference on Latin America. One of the goals of each of the conferences was to provide an opportunity for students to experience an academic conference atmosphere in a familiar environment. Many of the participants will go on to present papers at other student and professional meetings both nationally and internationally. Both of the following stories were written by Adrianne Ott, a M.A. candidate in Latin American Studies.

Graduate Students in Latin American Studies and Spanish & Portuguese Join Together to Host Graduate Student Conference
Latin American scholars and enthusiasts enjoyed an action-packed series of events on November 14th and 15th at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. The annual Graduate Student Conference kicked off on the afternoon of Friday, November 14th. Normally a department-level effort, this year marked the first joint sponsorship between the Stone Center and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. The conference was also supported by the Latin American Graduate Organization (LAGO) and the Tulane Graduate Studies Student Association (GSSA). This year’s theme was “Violence and Desire: Performance and Movements in Latin America,” and it brought 26 presenters from around the country to Tulane’s campus, including keynote speaker John Beverley from the University of Pittsburgh. Some 41 of the Stone Center’s own scholars also spoke about their research, and the joint-sponsorship of the event allowed for a wide variety of topics among presentations. A listing of the presentations, panels and events can be found here.

Friday evening, the Stone Center and the Tulane University Latin American Student Organization (TULASO) hosted an always-popular Pachanga; which was a hit despite relocation indoors due to rain. A local band, E.O.E., who received a ‘Best of New Orleans’ award last year, put on an energetic show for a tightly packed and enthusiastic crowd. A performance by EPHNIKO in the Freeman Auditorium followed the Pachanga. Not only a hip-hop artist, EPHNIKO has researched and created a documentary on Latin American hip-hop.

Saturday morning’s activities began with a lecture by Idelber Avelar, Professor of Spanish & Portuguese, who spoke on “Strategies and Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary Brazilian Fiction.” Seven more panels continued thereafter and throughout the afternoon, leading to Prof. Beverley’s keynote address. His talk on “Rethinking the Question of Armed Struggle in Latin America” culminated an exciting and educational weekend for everyone is attendance.

The conference was enjoyed by all who participated, particularly those who traveled from around the country to present and attend, many thanks to them for making the journey to New Orleans. Congratulations to the numerous student and faculty organizers whose months of planning concluded in a very enjoyable conference. The Stone Center and Department of Spanish & Portuguese faculty and students wish to thank all participants, including student presenters, panelists, and conference attendees—whose contributions made the event a success.

Please visit the Stone Center Photo Gallery to view pictures of this year’s conference.

2008 Tulane Undergraduate Conference on Latin America

On Saturday, November 22, the Stone Center hosted the sixth annual Tulane Undergraduate Conference on Latin America (TUCLA). TUCLA is an interdisciplinary undergraduate symposium in which seniors from the Latin American Studies (LAST) core seminar present their individual research projects. Launched in fall of 2003, TUCLA provides the Stone Center’s undergraduates with an opportunity to present papers in the style and atmosphere of an academic conference. The conference is designed to enlist all of Tulane’s LAST seniors in a shared discussion of the region, its society and its cultures.

This year’s conference featured twenty presenters who were divided across six panels. Each panel was monitored by a faculty member whose role as a discussant guided the seniors in expressing ideas more clearly and to delve more deeply into each of the topics via question and answer sessions. Panel topics included Civil Society and Grassroots Organizations, The Promises and Problems of Transnational Policy, Icons and Iconographies in the New Millennium, Latin America’s New Political Landscape, Changing Urban-Rural Relations and Cultural Landscapes, and Health, Education and Labor. A complete schedule can be found here. In addition to the seniors’ Latin American Studies colleagues, their presentations also drew an audience of Tulane students from various other disciplines. Students and faculty gathered together for lunch between the morning and afternoon sessions.

This successful conference marked the end of a semester of work by the seniors as part of the “Core Seminar” in Latin American Studies, the capstone seminar for the major and minor. Thanks goes to all who participated and made this year’s TUCLA possible especially Edie Wolfe, the Stone Center’s Assistant Director for Undergraduate Affairs, and Jimmy Huck, Assistant Director for Graduate Affairs, who co-taught the course. The Stone Center faculty and staff wish the seniors the best of luck in their post-graduate endeavors.

Please visit the photo gallery to view pictures of the TUCLA Conference.

Position Announcement

Endowed Chair in Economics with Focus on Latin America; Tulane University seeks nominations and applications for the Samuel Z. Stone Chair in Economics. Click here for more information.

The 2008-2009 Graduate Student Cohort Arrives at Tulane
By Adrianne Ott, M.A. Candidate, Latin American Studies

The morning of August 25th welcomed twelve new students to the Stone Center for Latin American Studies’ graduate program. The new students and the Stone Center staff gathered in the Greenleaf Conference room for initial introductions, after which the students participated in a two day program orientation. Orientation featured faculty from across the interdisciplinary fields, and introduced students to their numerous options for study over the next few years. In addition to faculty presentations, the Latin American Library introduced its staff and collections to the incoming student body. A reception on Monday evening with faculty, staff and students, both new and returning, provided an excellent opportunity to meet new colleagues and catch up with old ones following a summer of travel and research abroad. Unfortunately, many students and faculty also received an ‘orientation’ to the New Orleans Hurricane season. Campus closure and mandatory city evacuations in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav scattered Stone Center affiliates, some only days after their initial arrival. Thankfully the city and campus were spared, suffering only minimal damage. Classes began on September 2nd and the students are now well on their way to a productive semester of coursework and research. The following biographies provide a brief introduction to the latest welcome additions to Tulane’s Latin American Studies student body:

Octavio Barajas is a Ph.D. candidate studying topics of language domination and the central Mexican writing system. He completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA, and then the master’s program in Latin American Studies at University of Texas at Austin. He has traveled to Mexico to conduct ethno-historical research in the Yucatan and more recently to learn Nahuatl in the state of Zacatecas. Octavio enjoys live jazz music and mountain biking.

Heriberto Cabada comes to the Stone Center from Miami Florida, where he earned his B.A. in International Relations from Florida International University. Herbie’s Cuban heritage has fueled his interest in Latin American Studies, and while at Tulane he plans to study the current and future status of democracy in Cuba, as well the relationship between political institutions and individuals. He brings with him three years of professional experience as an elementary school teacher.

Lisa Crossman is a student in the joint Art History and Latin American Studies Ph.D. program. She received her M.A. in art history at Tulane, and her bachelors from Northern Arizona University. Lisa has traveled widely in Latin America, and most recently conducted research in Argentina and Uruguay. Her areas of interest include visual culture, cultural exchange, and the southern cone. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, backpacking, and the great outdoors in general.

Christian Legett graduated from Tulane in with a B.A. in Latin American studies and is continuing that path in this Masters program. He spent a semester in Buenos Aires, and led several mission trips to Honduras. His research interests include state reform, human rights, and revolution, but don’t let his intellectual side fool you; Christian is also an ardent practitioner of Brazilian jujitsu. In fact, he founded Tulane’s mixed martial arts club, and continues to lead their weekly meetings.

Melina Leodas graduated from University of New Mexico with a BA in Latin American Studies and Spanish. She has studied in Mexico, Cuba and Spain, and also spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While at Tulane, Melina is interested in working with the Latino community in New Orleans and hopes to leverage her background in Spanish language and literature.

Amanda Magdalena comes to the Stone Center after two years in Mauritania with the Peace Corps. While in New Orleans, she plans to research immigrant identity. Amanda graduated from the University of Memphis where she studied abroad in Spain and Costa Rica. Outside of classes, you might find her sewing, quilting, or playing the guitar.

Gwen Murray graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts. She spent three years in Brazil, traveling, working and studying media and development, with a particular focus on how participatory media can serve as a development tool. Outside of Latin America, Gwen has diverse interests including dogs, sloppy burritos, wine and walking as a means of transportation-let’s just hope she doesn’t combine all four at once!

Adrianne Ott comes to the Stone Center from Washington, D.C. with plans to research sustainable energy resources in Latin America, as well as the economic, social, and political impact of growing Chinese investment in the region. She has a B.S. in International Affairs from Georgia Tech. In her spare time, she trains for off-road triathlon and competitive eating. She is also an avid rock climber and enjoys Christian fellowship.

Danielle Smith comes to Tulane from Springfield, Illinois, where she graduated from Illinois College with a B.A. in English, Spanish and International Studies. While with the Stone Center, Danielle plans to research grassroots environmental movements in South America, especially among traditionally marginalized populations. Of particular interest to her are the differences in environmental ideology across cultures and what environmentalism means to vulnerable communities. Danielle enjoys running and a wide variety of live music in New Orleans.

Tia Vice earned her B.A. in Spanish from Furman University in South Carolina. She studied abroad in Spain and participated in a travel seminar in Mexico and parts of Central America. After graduation, she worked for an adult literacy program as an AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer and later worked for a bank. Her research interests include the African Diaspora in Latin America, international development, and U.S.-Latin American Relations. In her free time, Tia enjoys eating shrimp and grits, playing music, and dancing salsa and bachata.

Originally from Columbia, Maryland, Kristin Wallace received her B.A. in Latin American Studies from Carleton College. Kristin has traveled extensively throughout central Mexico and has also spent time in Honduras and Colombia. She served as an Americorps*VISTA volunteer with ACCION USA, Inc., where she was introduced to the professional field of microfinance. Following her year with VISTA, Kristin worked for five years in ACCION USA’s Loan Service Center in Boston. At Tulane, Kristin is pursuing a joint master’s degree in Latin American Studies and Business and will be focusing on microfinance and economic development in Mexico.

Corey Waters, a Massachusetts native, is a graduate of Salem State College, where he earned his B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Latin American Studies. At Tulane, Corey’s areas of focus will include gender studies and Latino immigrants in the United States. He seeks to create positive change by discovering and acquiring new perspectives, communicating them, and acting on behalf of human rights, social equality, and truth in the Americas. It is rumored that Corey also has a mean serve on the tennis court.