Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

History

Tulane University is a liberal arts institution founded in New Orleans in 1834. Located in a Franco-Hispanic city on the Gulf of Mexico, the city has served as a mediator between the circum-Caribbean world and the Anglo-American North from its foundation.

Tulane’s academic mission and programs have also evolved as partnerships with regional neighbors linked by history and shared inheritances. Early Tulane scholars studied the tropical diseases prevalent in New Orleans and the Gulf-Caribbean. They also gave attention to the tradition of civil code law which Louisiana shares with the French and Spanish world to the south. Even today Louisiana is the only place in the U.S. where civil law is taught. Consequently, Tulane has a long-standing special strength in the study of Central America and Mexico.

This early historical trajectory was given a firm organizational foundation in 1924, when Tulane benefactor Samuel Zemurray, the president of the Cuyamel Fruit Company, made a large gift of a library, archaeological artifacts, and an endowment to establish the Department of Middle American Research. The library was the William Gates Collection; it furnished the foundation of Tulane’s internationally distinguished holdings of resource materials on Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico. This scholarly collection later constituted the base of Tulane’s Latin American Library established in 1962.

The Department of Middle American Research was founded to conduct “advanced research into the history (both Indian and colonial), archaeology, tropical botany (both economic and medical), and natural resources and products, of the countries facing New Orleans across the waters to the south; to gather, index and disseminate data thereupon; and to aid in the upbuilding of the best commercial and friendly relations between these Trans-Caribbean peoples and the United States.” The new division launched systematic expeditions and publications that described and analyzed the archaeology, customs, and languages of Central America and Mexico. It became Tulane’s first internationally prestigious program, responsible not only for innovative research, but for the highly popular Maya exhibit at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1933-34.

William Gates was the first director of the Department in 1924, Franz Blom replaced him in 1926, and Hermann Bayer joined him in 1927. The Department attracted important participants in its research programs. Doris Zemurray Stone, who graduated from Radcliffe in 1930, joined the Department as an associate in ethnography during the 1931 academic year and subsequently was named as an associate in archaeology. She remained active in the program until 1939, when she moved with her husband Roger Thayer Stone to Costa Rica. She lived in Latin America until her father’s death in 1961, when she and her husband returned to New Orleans. Matilda Geddings Gray was associated with the Department from 1927, assembling an important collection of textiles during an expedition she led in 1935. Both of these researchers were to become major contributors and benefactors of the Department and Latin American Studies at Tulane.

In 1930, Blom presented an ambitious plan for the establishment of the Middle American Research Institute (MARI) to the Rockefeller Foundation, which dismissed them as overly ambitious. He labored throughout the 1930s to found this new institute, actively promoting plans for the construction of a new $2,000,000 building on campus modeled after the Castillo de Chichén Itzá. The fundraising campaign was authorized in 1938, but they were not to be completed. Franz Blom and Hermann Bayer were dismissed from their posts in 1940 and 1941, and only the name change took effect.

Maurice Ries and Arthur Gropp guided MARI until 1943, when Robert Wauchope became Director. Although called to service in the Navy in 1944-46, on his return he worked to integrate the research functions of the MARI with the teaching goals of the university. He served as the first chair in 1945-1946 of the Faculty Senate Committee on Middle American Studies, which oversaw the instructional programs on Latin America in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He was succeeded in 1946-47 by Professor of Spanish John Englekirk, Jr., who served through 1949-50.

Throughout the 1940s, and early 1950s, studies of Latin America expanded to include an increasing number of Tulane departments and faculty. Anthropology, history, literature, art history, political science, economics, sociology, biology, and earth sciences formed the core disciplines in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, while the Schools of Law, Business, Engineering, Medicine, and Public Health developed Pan-American programs as well.

In 1947, the Carnegie Corporation awarded Tulane University, Vanderbilt, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of North Carolina five-year grants to develop area studies programs for Latin America. The President’s Report of September 1948 described the fruits of that funding, announcing the creation of three new B.A. programs in Public Administration, Foreign Service, and Latin American Studies. All were targeted at newly perceived professional opportunities for students after WWII.

Latin American Studies was constituted as a minor and certification program and required 24 hours of Latin American content; the 1948 Report described it as the “equivalent of a second major.” Seventeen courses were listed that year. The same Report announced the Graduate Council’s approved a new M.A. degree in Latin American Studies; and in 1948 the Faculty Senate Committee on Middle American Studies was renamed the Committee on Latin American Studies,

In 1951, William J. Griffith (History) assumed the chairmanship of the Committee on Latin American Studies that included Dean Roger P. McCutcheon, Hugh B. Carnes (Business), Gustavo Correa (Spanish), John E. Englekirk, Jr. (Spanish), Frank L. Keller (Business), Arden R. King (Anthropology), Kalman H. Silvert (Politics), Robert Wauchope (Anthropology), and Daniel S. Wogan (Spanish). Munro Edmonson (Anthropology) joined them a year later.

Carnegie Institute funding in 1953 enabled full-scale coordinated group research at MARI in coordination with the Committee on Latin American Studies. But the group research projects were not completely successful, as researchers and faculty preferred individual projects. In spite of committed efforts from both parties to forge a coherent and unified program, the research mission of MARI and the instructional program of the Committee on Latin American Studies would move forward on separate tracks.

In 1956, the Latin American Studies Instructional Program, the Institute of Comparative Law, and MARI submitted a grant to the Rockefeller Foundation to establish an Institute of Latin American Studies. They were unsuccessful, but in 1956-57 Latin American Studies became a department of instruction. By 1960, it had expanded to include Bernard Gicovate (Spanish), Donald Robertson (Art), Philip B. Taylor, Jr. (Politics), Jan P. Charmatz (Law), Rodolfo Batiza (Law), and Gilbert Chase (Music).

In the interim, MARI continued its research and publication mission. In late 1957, the National Science Foundation approached Wauchope about undertaking the general direction of the publication of the Handbook of Middle American Indians, which was to become a major focus of MARI for many years. E. Wyllys Andrews IV, who had become an associate of MARI in 1949, had established important excavations at Dzibilchaltun, north of Mérida. E. Wyllys Andrews V followed his father as the director of MARI’s projects in Yucatán in 1972-74 and took over as MARI’s director when Wauchope retired in 1975.

In 1962, the U.S. Department of Education awarded funding to Tulane University to establish a National Resource Center in Latin American Studies under provisions of the newly established National Defense Education Act. In 1965, the Ford Foundation awarded the university a major five-year grant to expand both the faculty and the curriculum. Consequently, in 1966, Tulane University established the Center for Latin American Studies. William Griffith (History) was its first director; Richard Greenleaf (History) became its second director in 1970. By then, the Center’s new faculty included Roland H. Ebel (Politics), James D. Cochrane (Politics), Paul Lewis (Politics), Victoria Bricker (Anthropology), and Ralph Lee Woodward (History). A

Richard Greenleaf directed the Center for twenty-eight years, retiring in 1998. The achievements of the Greenleaf era were fundamental in establishing the Center as one of the preeminent academic programs at Tulane University and in the nation. He increased the size and breadth of the faculty, which reached its current size under his directorship. He garnered major support for its programmatic development from the Mellon, Rockefeller, Ford, Tinker, and Zemurray Foundations to name only a few. In 1975, in partnership with Samuel Z. Stone, he helped launch the Centro de Investigación Adiestamiento Público Administrativo in San José, Costa Rica, as a sister institution of the Center. In 1974, he established a new Ph.D. degree in Latin American Studies. His many other accomplishments are the subject of a special issue of the Center’s Newsletter on the occasion of a symposium in his honor (see Archive).

In addition to Greenleaf’s many achievements, the Center flourished because of the indefatigable support of eminent scholar and benefactor Doris Stone. The Center was renamed the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies in 1983 in honor of her husband, in whose memory she made significant contributions to the Center’s endowment. Doris Stone died in 1994 , and her son Samuel Stone and his family continue as active collaborators in the Center’s life and programs.

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Upcoming Events

CIPR talk series Critical Issues in Democratic Governance to host political economist Dr. Katrina Burgess

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Join the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies in welcoming Dr. Katrina Burgess as part of the fall speaker series Critical Issues in Democratic Governance, on Friday, November 16, in 110A Jones Hall. Dr. Burgess will give a talk titled Courting Migrants: How States Make Diasporas and Diasporas Make States.

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

Katrina Burgess (Ph.D., Princeton University) is Associate Professor of Political Economy of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She is author of Parties and Unions in the New Global Economy, which won the 2006 Outstanding Book Award for the best publication on labor issues granted by the Section on Labor Studies and Class Relations of the Latin American Studies Association, and co-editor with Abraham F. Lowenthal of The California-Mexico Connection. She has also published numerous book chapters, as well as articles in World Politics, Latin American Politics & Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, South European Politics and Society, Comparative Political Studies, Politica y gobierno, and International Studies Review. Dr. Burgess has also served as Assistant Director of the U.S.-Mexico Project at the Overseas Development Council in Washington, D.C. and Associate Director of the California-Mexico Project at USC in Los Angeles.

Patterns of migrant engagement in politics back home cannot be understood without examining the ways in which homeland states reach out to their migrants. Since states engaged in what can be called diaspora-making are unable to deploy many of the tools of rule within their borders, they are especially reliant on the cultivation of loyalty. The agents, motives, and loyalty-cultivation strategies of diaspora-making have important implications for whether homeland parties mobilize voters abroad, as demonstrated by the contrasts between Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Celebrate Brazilian culture during the 2018 Brazilian Bash

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The third annual Brazilian Bash will take place on Saturday, November 17, from 3 – 9 PM at Second Line Brewing. The event will include scrumptious food, exhilarating music, kids activities, and more! Homemade Brazilian food will be available for purchase from Dona Nola and Miss Farofa. During the event you will have the chance to purchase tee-shirts and donate money to Favela Brass. Favela Brass provides free brass, percussion, and English lessons for children in a small favela in Rio de Janeiro. All money raised will be invested in instruments for the school.

The event is free and open to the public.

Ja faz um ano e estamos super felizes de anunciar a terceira festa Brazilian Bash. Venha participar de um dia com comidas deliciosas, cervejas locais, musica pra dancar, atividades para as criancas e muito mais. Fique ligado para o menu, bandas e calendario de atividades.

Vamos estar vendendo camisas do Favela Brass e aceitando doacoes para suportar a escola de musica para criancas de baixa renda no Rio de Janeiro.

Este evento e GRATIS e para toda familia.

Tulane Anthropology Colloquium Series to host Walter E. Little for talk on Maya clothing consumption

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The 2018-2019 Tulane Anthropology Student Association’s colloquium series An Exploration of Power Through Practice, will continue on Friday, November 30, 3:30 PM. Join us in welcoming Dr. Walter E. Little who will present his research in a talk titled Maya Clothing Consumption and the Problem of Handmade.

Dr. Little is a professor at the University of Albany. His research focuses on the socio-economic and political lives of Latin Americans, primarily indigenous peoples. My multi-sited ethnographic research in Guatemala and Mexico combines political economy and symbolic/interpretive perspectives in order to better understand the politics of identity, international aid and economic development, heritage and tourism in urban places, and handicrafts and marketplaces. In this talk, Dr. Little will explore the contradictory consumption practice of Guatemalan Mayas via ethnographic research in Kaqchikel and K’ichee’ speaking towns to address critiques of what constitutes ‘handmade’ clothing. The new production techniques and shifting economic conditions that challenge notions of what is handmade have resulted in debates that challenge gendered and cultural identity positions.

The colloquium is free and open to the public.

The Tulane Anthropology Student Association is the graduate student organization whose year-long representatives serve as liaisons between the anthropology faculty and student populations. TASA representatives also organize the colloquium series. Colloquia are held in the first floor of Dinwiddie Hall and provide a venue for upper level graduate students, faculty members and outside scholars to present and discuss their anthropologically-themed research. TASA representatives also attend Graduate School Student Association (GSSA) as well as Graduate and Professional School Association (GAPSA) meetings and participate in the decisions made by these overarching Tulane graduate student organizations.

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

2019 Global Read Webinar Series: Diversity in Children's Literature for the classroom

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This spring, the World Area Book Awards (Américas Award, Africana Book Award, Middle East Book Award, South Asia Book Award, and the Freeman Book Award) will sponsor a free 60 minute webinar on a book recognized by one of the awards and facilitate a discussion with the author on how to incorporate the book into the classroom.

The 2019 Global Read Webinar Series will focus on the theme diversity in children’s literature. The webinar will be recorded and archived online and have accompanying curricula to correspond with the book.

Webinar Schedule

January
Middle East Book Award

February
Africana Book Award

March
Américas Book Award

April
Freeman Book Award

May
South Asia Book Award and picture books from all book awards

Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A K-12 Summer Educator Institute in Cuba

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute at Tulane University are proud to announce a two-week summer educator institute exploring the geography, culture and history of Cuba. For an educator, Cuba is rich with lessons to bring into the classroom. This program highlights the important historical and cultural connections between the United States and Cuba. Participants will explore key sites and meet local experts and artists who will provide unique insight for educators who teach such subjects as U.S./Latin American Relations, World Geography, World History, and Spanish among others. Come and visit the site of the historic Bay of Pigs, explore Milton Hershey’s sugar plantation and hear firsthand about the Cuban national literacy campaign from the teachers themselves.

More information coming soon!

Please email crcrts@tulane.edu or call 504.865.5164 for additional details.