Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Academic Programs

Preparing to Write the Dissertation

Topic Selection

From the moment students enter the doctoral program in Latin American Studies at Tulane, and possibly before, they should be thinking about potential dissertation topics. A viable project will be one that transforms a focused and feasible research investigation into a valuable and unique academic contribution.

Dissertation Committee

By the beginning of the semester after completing the General Preliminary Examinations, students should decide in consultation with the Graduate Advisor the constitution of their Dissertation Committee. Once chosen, each committee member is given one of the following assignments: Director, Second Reader, or Third Reader. The Dissertation Director has primary responsibility for deciding how the committee will distribute responsibilities and will function. The Dissertation Director is usually the faculty member with whom a student has worked very closely and who has significant expertise in the student’s primary concentration.

Prospectus

Within three months of completing the General Preliminary Examinations, students should present a Dissertation Prospectus. The prospectus constitutes the first formal synthesis of the research project that culminates in the Dissertation. Students should use it to organize and structure the content of the proposed research, to describe how and where it will be conducted, to analyze its feasibility and specific methodology, to define the importance of the topic as a unique contribution to knowledge, and to create a timetable for completion. Students prepare the Dissertation Prospectus in close consultation with their Dissertation Director, the Graduate Advisor, and other members of their Dissertation Committee.

The Dissertation Prospectus to be submitted to the Dean of Liberal Arts should be approximately five doubled-spaced pages in length. The cover sheet includes the student’s name, department, the title of the proposed dissertation, and the names of the Dissertation Director and the other members of the committee. The introduction of the prospectus should contain a summary of previous scholarship on the problem. The body should include an orderly description of the plan for the investigation. The conclusion should clearly state the anticipated nature of the investigation results. Major sources of information should be indicated and a selective bibliography attached. The prospectus is usually subject to a defense in front of the Dissertation Committee. Once the prospectus is approved by the full Dissertation Committee, three copies are prepared and are delivered to the Graduate Advisor with signatures of all members of the Dissertation Committee. The Graduate Advisor submits these documents to the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts.

Funding for Dissertation Research

University Fellowships and Financial Aid are tied structurally to university appointments as Teaching Assistants or Project Associates that can only be fulfilled while in residence at Tulane. Furthermore, these positions are made available to continuing students for only two years and to new or transfer students for a maximum of four years (five years for students in the Joint LAST/Art History Ph.D. program). Consequently, where field research is a fundamental component of the dissertation project and where it cannot be accomplished with summer research grants that the Stone Center funds each year, students must solicit outside funding to support that work.

The Graduate Advisor is available to work with each student to identify additional sources of support and to prepare applications as soon as the student formulates his or her proposal. Many application deadlines occur in the early Fall, so doctoral students are advised to schedule meetings with the Graduate Advisor at least one year before they plan to begin field research.

Advancement to Candidacy for the Ph.D.

After the successful completion of all required coursework, language examinations, the General Preliminary Examination, and the Dissertation Prospectus, doctoral students officially apply for Admission to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The application form is completed and submitted by the Graduate Advisor.

After this formality is complete, the Graduate Advisor secures the signed approval of the Dissertation Chair and submits a recommendation for Admission to Candidacy to the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts certifying that all requirements for the degree have been met. Once the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts has certified that all requirements for the degree have been met, he or she will advance the student to Candidacy for the Degree of Ph.D. in Latin American Studies.

The recommendation for Admission to Candidacy must be submitted to the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts no later than September 15 for those expecting to receive the degree in December, December 15 for those expecting to receive the degree in May, or March 15 for those expecting to receive the degree at the end of the Summer Session.

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Upcoming Events

CIPR post-doctoral fellow Christopher Chambers-Ju to present on labor politics and teacher mobilization in Latin America

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Tulane University’s department of Political Science in association with the Murphy Institute and the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research is proud to begin the 2018-19 Political Science Seminar series with a presentation by Christopher Chambers-Ju titled, Varieties of Labor Politics: Teacher Mobilization in Latin America on Friday, October 19.

Dr. Christopher Chambers-Ju received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. His research examines the politics of education through a focus on teachers’ unions. Studying the cases of Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, he examines why some teachers take to the streets while others form an organized voting bloc, with distinct relationships to political parties. By focusing on teachers, Christopher seeks to shed light on broader dynamics of education policy-making and political change in contemporary Latin America. Dr. Chambers-Ju is currently a post-doctoral fellow with the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research.

9th Annual South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica

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The 9th annual South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica will be hosted by the University of Texas San Antonio and the San Antonio Museum of Art on October 19 through October 21, 2018. The South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica is a regional conference that provides a venue to bring together scholars in the fields of archaeology, ethnography, art history, and others, as well as the general public, to share information and interpretations on current research focused on the cultures of the Mesoamerican region.

The keynote address will be given by Dr. Vera Tiesler, who has been a research professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico for nearly 20 years. Her academic interest lies in illuminating the human conditions of the Maya and of past society, by correlating data gleaned from human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts with information from other material and documentation. In her keynote address Ancient Maya Life, Death, and Identities: A View from Yaxuná, Yucatan, Mexico, Dr. Tiesler will discuss perceptions of life and death of the Yucatecan Maya prior to and during the rise of the ancient city of Chichén Itzá. This northern cultural arena is poorly understood compared to other regions of the Maya kingdoms. Tiesler anchors her explorations of ancient Northern Maya Lowlanders through examinations of the burial population at Yaxuná, another ancient urban center located in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula and connected to Chichén Itzá by a causeway. The human remains unearthed during excavations provide valuable insight into everyday life, evolving social roles, collective identities, and manners of death experienced by Yucatec Maya. To reveal these mysteries, Tiesler combines several approaches, including bioarchaeology, mortuary archaeology, and artifact-based iconography. Her discussion will address the fate of individuals and neighborhoods, the regional trajectory that resulted in Yaxuná‘s rise, and then, ultimately, the city’s abandonment. She will conclude with thoughts on the advent of Chichén Itzá‘s political networks and what was perceived as a new cosmic era for the Maya.

During her career, Dr. Tiesler has conducted work on some 250 Maya burials. Her publications discuss living conditions and lifestyle among Maya social classes, social aspects of age and gender, physical appearance and body enhancement, violence, sacrifice, and ancestor veneration. Dr. Tiesler recently published her findings from Yaxuná in the book Before Kukulkán: Bioarchaeology of Maya Life, Death, and Identity at Classic Period Yaxuná (University of Arizona Press).

All conference events will be held at the San Antonio Museum of Art. The conference is free and open to the public.

To receive updates about the conference meeting, please sign up for the mailing list.

Registration for the 9th Annual South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica is now open. To register please fill out the registration form.

Schedule of Events

Friday, October 19
Keynote Address
Ancient Maya Life, Death, and Identities: A View from Yaxuná, Yucatan, Mexico
Dr. Vera Tiesler

Saturday, October 21
Screening of Out of the Maya Tombs
Panel Discussion lead by David Lebrun, Michelle Rich, and Jason Yaeger

Saturday October 20 – Sunday, October 21
Paper Presentations

CIPR talk series Critical Issues in Democratic Governance to host political scienctist Victor Menaldo

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Join the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies in welcoming Dr. Victor Menaldo as part of the fall speaker series Critical Issues in Democratic Governance, on Friday, October 26, in 110A Jones Hall. Dr. Victor Menaldo will give a talk titled Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy.

Victor Menaldo (Ph.D., Stanford University, 2009) is an associate professor of Political Science at University of Washington and an affiliated faculty of the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences (CSSS), Near and Middle Eastern Studies, and the Center for Environmental Politics. Dr. Menaldo specializes in comparative politics and political economy. Menaldo’s research focuses on the political economy of taxation and redistribution, the political economy of regulation, the political economy of regime change, and the political economy of natural resources.

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to cipr@tulane.edu.

Outgoing authoritarian rulers sometimes design democratic institutions in ways that preserve their political and economic advantages. For example, over two-thirds of countries that have transitioned to democracy since World War II have done so under constitutions written by the outgoing authoritarian regime. This lecture will examine the reasons behind this phenomenon, as well as how different types of political power and economic resources in a society following democratization. Not only do these disparate origins determines polities’ basic architecture, the rights of citizens, and how representative and inclusive the political system becomes, but also has a big impact on the size of future governments and their commitments to social justice and egalitarianism. Statistical analysis and case studies of Chile, Sweden, and several other countries show why some democratic transitions yield unequal political representation and rights for citizens.

Celebrate Caribbean culture and heritage during Caribbean Carnival of New Orleans

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Bayou Bacchanal, the original Caribbean Carnival of New Orleans, is back for its 16th annual celebration of Caribbean culture and heritage. Presented by Friends of Culture, Bayou Bacchanal will include two days of Caribbean cuisine, dance, music and celebration.

World Wide Dance
Beginning Friday, November 2 stop by the newly-opened, Algiers based, Haitian restaurant Rendezvous, for World Wide Dance. This late-night dance party begins at 10:00 p.m. and doesn’t end until the final dancer clears the floor. Enjoy live sets by locally and regionally based, Trinidadian DJ Phil and DJ Spice. Admission is $10 in advance and $12 at the door and includes access to the World Wide Dance celebration. A cash bar and bites from Rendezvous will be available for purchase.

Bayou Bacchanal Parade and Party
After an evening of dancing and celebrating, rest up for the annual Bayou Bacchanal Parade on Saturday, November 3. Assembly begins at 11:00 a.m. and the parade takes off at noon from Harrah’s. Parade-goers are welcome to come dressed in traditional carnival attire while engaging, marching and dancing to the beats of Soca music along with Casa Samba throughout the French Quarter. The parade’s final destination will be at North Peters & Mandeville Street where the party will then transition to Crescent Park.

From 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. several Dancehall, Soca and Reggae performers will grace the Bayou Bacchanal stage for this daylong festival. Guests can expect live performances by local, national and international artists such as: Soca Artist Preacher, Pan Vibrations, Tigress of Trinidad & Tobago, and Mystic of Trinidad & Tobago.

Beats will be provided by DJ Spice and hosted by Lady Pepper. Authentic Caribbean foods, drinks and special merchandise will be available for purchase. Trini Lisa and Boswell’s will be among the official vendors for Bayou Bacchanal 2018. Fest-goers can expect Caribbean staples such as salt fish, curry goat and roti. Tropical drinks including ginger beer, passionfruit juice and Sorrel will also be available. Guests are also encouraged to dress in tradition Carnival attire for a chance to win a grand prize of $2000.

Admission to the Bayou Bacchanal fest is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information on Bayou Bacchanal or Friend of Culture, visit their onsite information booth during the festival or click here.

Bayou Bacchanal Post Party
Closeout Bayou Bacchanal at Island Flavor Bar and Grill and enjoy tasty Caribbean bites, music and dancing. DJ Ray will be spinning beginning at 11:00 p.m. Celebrate the closing of Bayou Bacchanal with a bang!

Forging a New World: Books & Writing in Early Spanish America, 1492-1821

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On Wednesday, November 14, the Latin American Library at Tulane University will host Dr. Hortensia Calvo, Doris Stone Director of the Latin American Library, for a talk titled, Forging a New World: Books & Writing in Early Spanish America, 1492-1821.

This presentation is part of the Tulane University Women’s Association’s Jane and Herbert Longenecker Lecture Series. The event is dedicated to María García Daly.

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

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This fall, 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, August 25 until Saturday, December 29. Children and parents are welcome!

Story Hours Dates and Locations

Algiers Regional Branch
Saturday, September 1
10:30 AM

Saturday, October 6
10:30 AM

Saturday, November 3
10:30 AM

Saturday, December 1
10:30 AM

Children’s Resource Center Library
Saturday, August 25
10:30 AM

Saturday, September 22
10:30 AM

Saturday, October 27
10:30 AM

Saturday, November 24
10:30 AM

Saturday, December 29
10:30 AM