Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

History

Tulane University is a liberal arts institution founded in 1834. Its academic mission has been identified historically with its region. The latter includes the Mississippi River and Gulf-Caribbean basins as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Worlds linked at the isthmus in Panama. Tulane’s programs have evolved as partnerships with these regional neighbors linked by history and shared inheritances.

Tulane has a long-standing special strength in the study of Central America and Mexico. This concentration originated in a turn-of-the-century gift of a large Mesoamerican library, which became the foundation for the Latin American Library’s holdings of resource materials on Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico, which are internationally distinguished.

In the early part of the century, one of Tulane’s first internationally prestigious program was the Middle American Research Institute, which was founded in 1924 to conduct “advanced research into the archaeology, history, tropical botany, and natural resources and products of countries facing New Orleans across the waters of the south.” Tulane’s identity and destiny were to become one with this early exemplar of its institutional leaders’ commitments to create knowledge and provide service to a region whose boundaries transcended the geopolitical frontiers of the United States. Archaeology, anthropology, history, political science, literature, 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 truly Pan-American programs in the early twentieth century.

Although Tulane expanded its scope to all of Latin America after World War II, the Mesoamerican strength remains and the Stone Center acts as a sort of brokerage for relations between Mesoamerica and the United States. A steady stream of Mexicans and Central Americans come to Tulane for training, as Fulbright Professors and to use our library. Specialists on the region can be found in most departments and the university has produced several hundred dissertations and theses on Mesoamerican subjects. Every summer there are well over 100 Tulane faculty and students at work in the region, whether in archaeological excavations, Maya intensive language program in Guatemala, or dozens of National Resource Center-financed individual research projects.

Our program is today comprehensive with faculty in almost every region and discipline essential to understanding Latin America. The Mississippi-Gulf-Caribbean region is the epicenter of cultural and historical converging and radiating flows of a vast cultural and geographic network embracing Europe, Africa, the Pacific Rim, and North and South America. Today, Tulane University has active programs in African and African Diaspora Studies, the Atlantic World, Comparative Southern Studies, and Cuban, Brazilian, and Francophone Caribbean Studies. The Payson Institute for Applied Development and Technology Transfer offers courses on its New Orleans and Washington D.C. campuses and operates a federally-funded third world disaster center. Our Schools of Law, Business and Public Health and Tropical Medicine operate field programs in every region of Latin America.

Nationally, few institutions of Tulane’s size compare in the number of faculty, graduate students, undergraduate majors, library holdings, and support for research dedicated to the support of Latin American studies across the university. When viewed in relationship to the percentage of the relatively small available pool of institutional resources e.g. faculty, students, library holdings, and budget, Tulane’s commitment to Latin American Studies is comparable or superior to institutions such as Stanford and Duke, among private universities, and to the University of Texas and the University of California at Los Angeles, among large public universities, whose faculties and student bodies are three to five times larger.

Tulane is also a top producer of graduate degrees that focus on Latin America. Since the mid-l960s, over 300 students have graduated with an interdisciplinary M.A. degrees in Latin American Studies and have gone on to positions in the public and private sectors, and for additional training in the disciplines and professions. Almost forty have graduated with the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Latin American Studies since the late l970s. Virtually every one of these graduates is working or has worked in the field. A few placements include University of New Mexico, University of Texas, Smith College, Middlebury College, Banco de Bilbao, Harvard University, U.S. Agency for International Development, and some seven Mexican universities.

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Upcoming Events

16th Annual Tulane Maya Symposium: The Ancient Maya and Collapse

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The Middle American Research Institute, in collaboration with Tulane’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies, New Orleans Museum of Art, and Mexican Consulate in New Orleans, is proud to announce the 16th Annual Tulane Maya Symposium beginning on Thursday, February 14, and concluding on Sunday, February 17, 2019. This year’s conference The Center Could Not Hold: The Ancient Maya and Collapse will explore recent developments in Maya studies as they relate to the broader topic of collapse. Speakers and workshops will address the issue of political decline over the span of ancient Maya prehistory. These researchers will help us address the collapse in a multi-disciplinary fashion and bring attention to recent research in the region.

Registration is now open!

On Friday, February 15, at 6:00 PM, the keynote address will be given by Jeremy A. Sabloff, External Professor of the Santa Fe Institute and Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, of the University of Pennsylvania. In his talk Is ‘€œCollapse‘€ a Useful Term in Understanding Pre-Columbian Maya History?, Dr. Sabloff considers how the term ‘€œcollapse‘€ has, in recent years, become quite controversial, and argues that there is good reason to question the utility of this loaded word going forward. This keynote talk will focus on understandings of the late 8th and early 9th centuries CE cultural processes and environmental events in the Maya Lowlands that culminated in what has often been seen as a political collapse. Moreover, the talk will examine whether such understanding can help illuminate comparable trends at other times in Maya history and in other complex societies in general.

Since 2002, the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University has hosted a weekend of talks and workshops dedicated to the study of the Maya civilization of Mexico and Central America. This yearly meeting has called upon scholars from a wide spectrum of specialties including archaeology, art history, cultural anthropology, epigraphy, history, and linguistics to elucidate the many facets of this fascinating Mesoamerican culture. In developing a broad approach to the subject matter, the conference aims to draw the interest of a wide ranging group of participants from the expert to the beginner.

To view the schedule, registration, and additional information, please visit the Tulane Maya Symposium website.

CANCELED 2019 Maya Symposium Educator Workshop

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies, in collaboration with the Middle American Research Institute, will host an educator workshop in conjunction with the 16th Annual Tulane Maya Symposium on Sunday, February 17, 2019. The K-12 Educator Workshop will focus on a basic introduction to Maya archaeology and cultural heritage of the Maya today. The workshop includes a tour of the Middle American Research Institute’s main gallery Faces of the Maya: Profiles in Continuity and Resilience.

Registration for educators is now available. The registration fee includes the tour of the main gallery, the educator workshop, and lunch.

The 16th Annual Tulane Maya Symposium The Center Could Not Hold: The Ancient Maya and Collapse will explore recent developments in Maya studies as they relate to the broader topic of collapse. Speakers and workshops will address the issue of political decline over the span of ancient Maya prehistory. These researchers will help us address the collapse in a multi-disciplinary fashion and bring attention to recent research in the region. Since 2002, the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University has hosted a weekend of talks and workshops dedicated to the study of the Maya civilization of Mexico and Central America. This yearly meeting has called upon scholars from a wide spectrum of specialties including archaeology, art history, cultural anthropology, epigraphy, history, and linguistics to elucidate the many facets of this fascinating Mesoamerican culture. In developing a broad approach to the subject matter, the conference aims to draw the interest of a wide ranging group of participants from the expert to the beginner.

TEACHER WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

Sunday, February 17, 2019

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tour of the MARI Main Gallery

12:00 PM
Lunch

1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
Introduction to Maya Archaeology

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Maya Cultural Heritage Management

For more information about the symposium, visit the Tulane Maya Symposium homepage.

Art History Graduate Association to host Aaron M. Hyman for talk on Colonial Cuzco's Aesthetic of Sameness

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Join the Art History Graduate Association at Tulane University in welcoming Aaron M. Hyman who will present his research in a talk titled Colonial Cuzco’s Aesthetic of Sameness on Monday, February 18, at 6:00 PM.

Aaron M. Hyman, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, is a historian of the art of the Spanish Empire, with a focus on the long seventeenth century in colonial Latin America and the Southern Netherlands. His interests include paradigms of artistic authorship and collaboration, the transmission and circulation of objects, and early modern print culture. Though his primary aim is to situate works of art within the historical conditions of their making and viewing, he is equally interested in the historiographic conditions that have limited art historical understanding or obscured and excluded objects from the historical record. His work often draws on post-colonial and literary theory to expand or complicate the boundaries of traditional art historical scholarship.

Much of Hyman’s scholarship participates in art history’s recent global reorientation. He is currently at work on his first book, which treats the ways New World artists used European prints within their artistic practices during the colonial period. This book will represent the first monographic treatment of the scores of Latin American objects derived from European prints, a key topic in colonial Latin American art history and one with theoretical ramifications within an increasingly globalized field of art historical inquiry. The project focuses on works of art in both Mexico and Peru made after prints by Peter Paul Rubens, an artist who has come to define the art historical standards of early modern authorship, and who thus serves as a lens through which to understand the wide range of artists who reconstituted his printed compositions in oil and stone across the Americas.

For more information email artdept@tulane.edu.

The Liberace of Lucha Libre: An Evening with American-born Mexican luchador Cassandro

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Join the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, the Newcomb Art Museum, Amigos de los Amigos, and krewedelusion in welcoming American-born Mexican luchador Saúl Armendáriz, or Cassandro, on Wednesday, February 20, 7:00 PM, in the Freeman Auditorium. Cassandro will speak about his personal story of growing up and training as a lucha libre in México. He became one of the first openly gay exóticos (a wrestler who dresses in a flamboyant style), and later he had the honor of being the first exótico to win a championship title.

Cassandro will speak about how he negotiated his gay identity and overcame adversity in the world of professional Mexican wrestling. He will also share his experiences outside of wrestling, as an LGBTQ activist, circuit speaker, and most recently as the subject of a feature documentary, Cassandro, The Exótico which received critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2018.

This event is free and open to the public. Parader and performer Antonio Garza will moderate.

For more information contact: New Orleans Center for the Gulf South via email dfrazier@tulane.edu, by phone (504-314-2889), or visit the event website.

Sponsored by: Newcomb Art Museum, Amigos de los Amigos, krewedelusion, and The New Orleans Center for the Gulf South.

Life without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay

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Join the Environmental Studies Program and the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University in welcoming Daniel Renfrew, West Virginia University, who will giving a talk titled Life without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay on Thursday, February 21 at 5:00 PM in the Stone Auditorium as part of the EVST Focus on the Environment (FOTE) Speaker Series.

Life without Lead examines the social, political and environmental dimensions of a devastating lead poisoning epidemic. Drawing from a political ecology of health perspective, Daniel Renfrew situates the Uruguayan lead contamination crisis in relation to neoliberal reform, globalization, and the resurgence of the political Left in Latin America. He traces the rise of an environmental social justice movement and the local and transnational circulation of environmental ideologies and contested science. Through fine-grained ethnographic analysis, this book shows how combating contamination intersected with class politics, explores the relationship of lead poisoning to poverty, and debates the best way to identify and manage an unprecedented local environmental health problem.

Daniel Renfrew is an associate professor of Anthropology. He received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Binghamton University, State University of New York in 2007. Dr. Renfrew joined the WVU faculty in Fall 2008 after a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Towson University. Dr. Renfrew’s research interests span the environmental, urban, critical medical and political anthropology sub-fields, and his research draws from and contributes to interdisciplinary scholarship on political ecology, social movements, science and technology studies, and Latin American studies. His research has focused in particular on anthropological and political ecological analyses of environmental conflicts.

In Celebration of Black History Month and Carnaval: African and indigenous presence in Boricua culture

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In celebration of Black History Month, the New Orleans Jazz Museum is proud to kick off Mardi Gras Mambo with a lecture by curatorial assistant Ilyanette M. Bernabel entitled Carnaval: The African and Indigenous Presence in Boricua Culture on Friday, February 22, 2019, 2:00 – 3:00 PM. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bernabel will be presenting the research of her exhibition Carnival in Puerto Rico: Connections to the Homeland. The exhibition explores carnival traditions in Puerto Rico and its connection to Africa. This lecture will focus on the Carnival masked characters called Vejigantes, their unique cultural history from Spain to the Caribbean island, and the infamous musical and dance styles of bomba y plena. The goal of the lecture is to bring awareness to the similarities of two cultures as they relate to the spiritual aspect of masking.

The lecture will be followed by a performance from The Bombazo Dance Company.

Photo: Vejigante mask (made out of coconut and branches) worn for Carnival in Loiza, Puerto Rico.