Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

International Programs

Mayan Language Institute: Intensive Kaqchikel or K’iche’ Language & Culture Program
A FLAS-eligible Program
June 13 – July 24, 2021

Application available in November 2020
Application deadline: March 5, 2021

A NOTE ON COVID-19: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this program transitioned to an online format for Summer 2020. We hope to return to in-person instruction in Guatemala during Summer 2021. Meanwhile, the Stone Center is closely monitoring the global health situation and making plans to transition to an online learning model if necessary.

The information on this website pertains to the in-person program. For more information on the 2020 online program format, consult the pdf below. While any online 2021 program will not exactly copy the 2020 program, this document should provide some indication of how it may be formatted.

MLI_(Virtual)_Summer2020_Overview-1589464938.pdf

Questions? Contact the Program Manager at sclassum@tulane.edu or (504) 862-8629.

The Mayan Language Institute is a 6-week program to train students in either Kaqchikel or K’iche’ Maya, two of the most widely-spoken Mayan languages in Iximulew (Guatemala) today. Thanks to the collaboration between U.S. American faculty and Maya teachers, participants can study at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced levels of either language. The program’s highly individualized classes combine language immersion activities, lectures, one-on-one conversations, guest speakers and cultural excursions. The intensive nature of these classes, combined with students’ daily immersion in Maya communities, enables them to enhance their language skills rapidly while interacting with the Indigenous peoples that sustain them.

While Program Directors from Tulane oversee all academic content, the Stone Center partners with the organization Proyecto Linguístico Francisco Marroquín to manage the program’s daily operations. The PLFM is a nonprofit organization that has worked to preserve and strengthen Indigenous languages since 1969, and our association not only puts their resources at our students’ disposal, but also enables the Stone Center to support the foundation’s ongoing linguistic revitalization efforts. Students enrolled in Kaqchikel Maya will spend 6 weeks at the PLFM campus in Pan Q’an (Antigua). Students enrolled in K’iche’ Maya will spend 1 week at the PLFM campus before relocating to Nawalja (Nahualá), a small city in the highlands of Sololá, for the final 5 weeks of the program.

ACADEMICS
Students enroll in one language course and one culture course, each worth 3 Tulane credits. In general, classes meet daily Monday through Friday from 8 am to 12 pm and reconvene at 2 pm for lectures, guest talks, student presentations, etc. The schedule is subject to change to accommodate excursions, special events, speaker schedules, etc.

Courses Offered

Kaqchikel
ANTH 6870: Kaqchikel Maya Culture (3 credits)
AND
ANTH 6840: Beginning Kaqchikel Language (3 credits) OR
ANTH 7570: Intermediate Kaqchikel Language (3 credits) OR
ANTH 7580: Advanced Kaqchikel Language (3 credits)

K’iche’
ANTH 6860: K’iche’ Maya Culture (3 credits)
AND
ANTH 6845: Beginning K’iche’ Language (3 credits) OR
ANTH 6850: Intermediate K’iche’ Language (3 credits) OR
ANTH 6855: Advanced K’iche’ Language (3 credits)

HOUSING

Students enrolled in Kaqchikel Maya will arrange their own housing in Pan Q‘€™an (Antigua) and its surrounding communities. They are encouraged to coordinate with the Program Director to organize homestays with Kaqchikel-speaking families, but the Program Manager can also provide guidance about alternative housing options. Students will be responsible for all meals, with the exception of those incorporated into group excursions and celebrations.

Students enrolled in K’iche’ Maya will live in homestays arranged jointly by Maya instructors and Tulane and PLFM administrators. In Pan Q‘€™an (Antigua), they will live with PLFM host families; most rooms will be double-occupancy. In Nawalja (Nahualá), they will live with K’iche’ speaking families in the community, and each student will be assigned to an individual family unless otherwise requested. All meals, except lunch on Sundays, will be provided.

EXCURSIONS
Each summer, the Program Directors organize multiple group excursions. These range from short local trips to the marketplace, a milpa (traditional farm), or a weaving co-op, to day trips to pre-Columbian ruins, local landmarks, and conferences. Students often have the opportunity to interact with local leaders and may be invited to participate in Mayan religious and cultural ceremonies. We encourage students come prepared with an open mind and spirit of generosity.

ABOUT PAN Q’AN (ANTIGUA)

Nestled between the Agua, Acatenango, and Fuego volcanos in the department of Sacatepéquez, Pan Q’an, or Antigua, Guatemala is a quaint colonial city with a population of around 45,000 inhabitants, many of them native speakers of Kaqchikel. It was founded in the mid-sixteenth century as the capital of the Spanish colonial government; the strict grid of its cobblestone streets and the stunning baroque architecture of its churches and municipal buildings reflect the Spanish influence. Though the city was largely abandoned after a volcanic eruption provoked the relocation of the Spanish capital to Guatemala City in 1773, it began to grow again in the mid-1800s in response to increased investment in agricultural production, primarily coffee. Today the town, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Guatemala’s most popular destination for foreign travelers looking to explore the city’s historic sites, climb the nearby volcanos, or study at one of the many Spanish-language schools. The temperate climate, with average temperatures ranging from lows in the 50s to highs in the 70s make the city an attractive destination year-round.

ABOUT NAWALJA (NAHUALA)

The municipality of Nawaljá (Nahualá in Spanish) is located in department of Sololá, in the western highlands of Guatemala. It sits at an altitude of 7,500 to 8,000 feet and is somewhat cooler than Pan Q’an; temperatures at night may dip down into the 50s, even during the hottest months. The municipality was established beginning in the year 1862 when a dispute among the people of the neighboring town Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan caused a group split off to found a new town. Its vicinity to the main highway through Guatemala has made it possible for Nawaljá to grow and flourish since then. It is unique among towns of a similar size in that almost all of the town’s 6000 inhabitants are native K’iche’ speakers, who use their language in all aspects of their lives. The K’iche’ spoken in Nawaljá, one of the seven major dialects of K’iche’, is distinctive from other K’iche’ dialects for its conservatism. For example, it still uses the “formal pronoun” (la/alaq) and has retained a ten-vowel system. It is fairly easy for students familiar with Nahualeno K’iche’ to branch out into other variants of K’iche’ as well. Many families continue to participate in traditional economic practices: they cultivate land to produce corn for their own use (milpa) and vegetables to sell, and they are involved in the weaving of a variety of textiles and cloth for the Guatemalan and export handicraft market. The women weavers from Nawaljá are recognized as being very skilled at producing huipiles of a fine and high quality. In recent years, the region has begun to change, as it is shaped by widespread migration to the United States and income from remittances has given rise to an Indigenous middle class.

ABOUT MAYA LANGUAGES AND COMMUNITIES

The Mayan language family encompasses approximately 30 different languages currently spoken by communities in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. Iximulew (Guatemala) is home to speakers of over 22 different Maya languages. K’iche’, with approximately one million speakers, and Kaqchikel, with around a half million speakers are among the most widely spoken and along with Mam and Q’eqchi’ are considered part of “The big four.” Between European colonization and the middle of the twentieth century, these languages were sustained primarily within the intimate spaces of home and community. Starting in the1930s, a push for bilingual education began promoting public use of the languages and creating a need for greater standardization of the languages. This trend gave rise to collaboration between missionaries, government agencies, non-profit organizations to train linguists and create pedagogical materials. The PLFM, founded in 1972, was an early and active participant in this literacy campaign, as it trained local Maya language speakers to write and analyze their native languages. It was the alphabet developed by their scholars that was approved by the Second National Linguistic Conference in 1984 and is currently the official orthography for all 22 local Mayan languages.

The of violence and discrimination historically suffered by Indigenous peoples, especially during the nation’s civil war (1960-1996), has resulted in a complex relationship between many Maya people and their languages. One the one hand, some remain ashamed to speak them in public or reticent to teach them to their children. On the other hand, decades of activism have led to greater visibility, acceptance, and promotion, at least in the official state rhetoric. Since 2010 the Guatemalan Ministry of Education has required all schools to teach both Spanish and the local Indigenous language, though enforcement and resources remain spotty. Meanwhile, the works of writers, artists, and activists have increased the visibility and respect.

ABOUT THE PLFM

The PLFM was established in 1972 through collaborations between Benedictine friars and the American Robert Gersony to train Indigenous leaders in linguistics so that they might create their own materials. Their first cohort included scholars from the K’iche’, Kaqchikel, and Mam communities and rapidly expanded to include representatives from Q’anjob’al, Akateko, Chuj, Ixil, Awakateko, Jakalteko, Ch’orti‘€™’ Tz’utujil and Q’eqchi’. Nearly 50 years later, the program continues pursuing this mission. It has published dictionaries, grammars, and other pedagogical materials on many Mayan languages. The organization sustains itself by offering Spanish-language classes to foreigners and applying the proceeds to their trainings and publications. The Stone Center is proud to contribute to their work through the Mayan Language Institute.

PROGRAM COST:

Kaqchikel: TBD
K’iche’: TBD

***Total program price will likely fall between $3,500 (tuition only) and $6,500 (tuition and housing and/or logistics fees) depending on the mode of instruction (in-person or online).

Tuition and fees include 6 Tulane credits, international medical insurance, transportation between the Guatemala City Airport and their housing, group activities and excursions, housing and three meals/day except Sundays (K’iche’ ONLY). Tuition and fees do NOT include airfare to/from Guatemala, passport/visa expenses, personal communication expenses, course materials and supplies vaccinations, laundry, incidentals, housing and most meals (Kaqchikel ONLY).

FINANCIAL AID

The Mayan Language Institute has been designed to meet all requirements of the federal FLAS grant, which may cover much of the cost. For more information and to see if you qualify, visit the Grants & Funding page of the Stone Center website, or speak with the FLAS coordinator at your university. Note: FLAS applicants should apply separately to the MLI by the posted application due date.

REGISTRATION

All MLI registration will be processed by Stone Center staff. Students will initially be enrolled in one 3-credit Latin American Studies placeholder course, used for billing purposes only. After students’ language placement in Guatemala, they will be enrolled in their respective culture and language courses.

MEDICAL AND GLOBAL RESCUE

The Stone Center will enroll MLI students in a comprehensive study abroad medical insurance policy provided through Geoblue. This insurance is included in the cost of the program. Students are also covered by Global Rescue, an emergency travel assistance program offering medical, personal, and security advice and assistance, as well as emergency evacuation services. After enrollment, students will receive an email with instructions for setting up the GRID app on their phones.

BILLING

Tuition and fees will be charged to student accounts in the late spring. Students are responsible for making sure that the bill is paid in full by the end of the billing cycle on the 15th of the following month. Students can access their account through the Gibson Portal: gibson.tulane.edu.

For FLAS students: The Stone Center works closely with FLAS coordinators at other institutions to apply these grants to student accounts. However, every school has a different policy regarding how it issues the funds: some pay the full bill directly to Tulane, some directly pay tuition to Tulane and issue the living stipend to individual students, and others issue the entire award to students (who must then pay tuition and housing/logistics fees). Each student is ultimately responsible for making sure that his/her bill is paid in full and on time. If you have questions or problems or potential issues please contact the Program Manager.

REFUND AND CANCELLATION POLICY

If a student withdraws from the program at any point between acceptance and departure, the student forfeits their deposit plus any additional expenses that the Stone Center cannot recover from program providers. Prior to 15 days before the program start date, a student may submit a written withdrawal request to be considered for a refund of up to 75% of the program fee (deposit excluded). Refund requests received less than 15 days before the program start date will only be eligible for a maximum of 25% refund of the program fees (deposit excluded). Students withdrawing after the program start date will not be eligible for any refund.

ACCESSIBILITY AND ACCOMMODATIONS

The MLI is a strenuous program that challenges its participants physically, emotionally, and academically. Nevertheless, the Stone Center is committed to making all its programs accessible to all students. Persons requiring special facilities or accommodations should notify the Program Manager as soon as possible. All effort will be made to accommodate their needs, but students should be aware that reasonable accommodation may be required.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
Both Tulane and non-Tulane students at the graduate and undergraduate levels are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be degree-seeking students at their home institutions and in good academic standing with a GPA of at least 2.5. Spanish-language proficiency is strongly recommended.

Application: studyabroad.tulane.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=10237

Components
  • General Student Information
  • Current Transcript
  • Personal Statement (approx. 500 words)
  • Faculty Recommendation
  • Proof of Valid Passport
  • $50 non-refundable deposit (WAIVED for FLAS applicants who contact the Program Manager at sclassum@tulane.edu)

Application Deadline: Friday, March 5, 2021

Questions? Contact the Stone Center Program Manager for Special Programs
Hannah Palmer
Phone: (504) 862 – 8629
Email: sclassum@tulane.edu
100 Jones Hall, Tulane Uptown Campus

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Upcoming Events

The Materiality of Insurgency in the Colonial Andes

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The Stone Center recently agreed to co-sponsor Dr. Ananda Cohen-Aponte’s upcoming talk, “The Materiality of Insurgency in the Colonial Andres” which is scheduled for Thursday, October 29 at 5:00 PM via Zoom. The talk is part of the year-long “Representation and Resistance: Scholarship Centering Race in Western Art” lecture series organized by the Newcomb Art Department and co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Program and is also the 2020 Terry K. Simmons Lecture in Art History for this year.

Details can also be found here on the lecture series website:
https://liberalarts.tulane.edu/departments/newcomb-art/representation-and-resistance-scholarship-centering-race-western-art

Film discussion: "O Pai, O" - Carnaval and the intersectionality of oppressions in Salvador/Bahia

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Language: introduction in Portuguese Questions and comments welcome in Portuguese, English, or Spanish

Facilitators: Sílvia Lorenso, Associate Professor and Director, Middlebury School in Brazil Guimário Nascimento, History Teacher, Colégio Nossa Senhora Soledad, Salvador Tatiane Cerqueira, Mestre and PhD student at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, UFSC

Click here to access the film.
*Warning: Some scenes in the film contain graphic violence and sex.

Office of Study Abroad

"Landfall" Premiere at New Orleans Film Festival

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies (SCLAS) and The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute (CCSI) at Tulane University will again sponsor several films in this year’s New Orleans Film Festival. We are excited to support a diverse mix of films, including several narrative features, documentaries, and experimental shorts. In addition, CCSI director Dr. Ana López will lead a series of Q&A’s with select directors.

Landfall, is an English-language Puerto Rican documentary film, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo.

Via New Orleans Film Festival website:
“A kaleidoscopic portrait of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane María, Landfall investigates a storm of much greater magnitude: the economic crisis crippling the island long before María arrived.”

Tulane’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute is sponsoring this film. More information and tickets are available here

"Verde" Premiere at New Orleans Film Festival

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies (SCLAS) and The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute (CCSI) at Tulane University will again sponsor several films in this year’s New Orleans Film Festival. We are excited to support a diverse mix of films, including several narrative features, documentaries, and experimental shorts. In addition, CCSI director Dr. Ana López will lead a series of Q&A’s with select directors.

Verde, is a Spanish-language, Dominican feature film, directed by Alfonso Morgan-Terreno.

Via New Orleans Film Festival website:
“When a bystander is killed during the robbery of a goldmine, the spilled blood stains more than the three men responsible, saturating the tight-knit fabric of their tiny Dominican village, seeping into the landscape itself. In a feature debut that pairs clear-eyed observation with ghostly intelligence, Alfonso Morgan-Terrero takes a familiar story, a dark passage of revenge and bloodshed, and sinks its noirish elements deep into the texture of its surroundings: rough-hewn structures, alleys of broken rock bathed in grimy orange streetlight, and the enveloping green of the forest. Under the film‘€™s hypnotized gaze, kinship, brotherhood, and enmity are blurred and masquerade as one another”.
-Jonathan Kieran.

Tulane’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute is sponsoring this film. More information and tickets are available here

"Right Near the Beach" Premiere at New Orleans Film Festival

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies (SCLAS) and The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute (CCSI) at Tulane University will again sponsor several films in this year’s New Orleans Film Festival. We are excited to support a diverse mix of films, including several narrative features, documentaries, and experimental shorts. In addition, CCSI director Dr. Ana López will lead a series of Q&A’s with select directors.

Right Near the Beach, is an English-language, Jamaican feature film, directed by Gibrey Allen.

Via New Orleans Film Festival website:
“After the death of famous runner Jeffrey Jacobs, the Jamacian public becomes enamored with the details of his life and speculates as to the motivation behind his murder. Jeffrey’s father, a reserved and kind farmer, struggles to grieve while inundated by the inescapable coverage. Through moments of blinding rage and quiet contemplation, the camera is a window into a life burdened by the death of a child that will never know justice. Against a backdrop of beautiful vistas, Right Near the Beach takes a lyrical approach to the exploration of homophobia in Jamaica. Rather than treat the murder as a voyeristic mystery, the film challenges us to contemplate the anguish of loss while everyone else debates the value of one person’s life”.
-Greta Hagen-Richardson

Tulane’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute is sponsoring this film. More information and tickets are available here

Summer in Cuba Information Session

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Learn more about the Cuban and Caribbean Institute‘€™s flagship study abroad program. Summer in Cuba is open to Tulane and non-Tulane undergraduate students from all years and majors. Plus, public Health majors have a unique opportunity to earn credits abroad with the Public Health in Cuba track.