Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

"Saludos desde San Jose!" written by Jack Mace

By Annie Gibson

I am handing over my blog on the CIAPA Experience to the students participating in the program. This way you all can have a better idea of what life is like for a student at CIAPA. This blog entry is written by Currin Wallis. She is a freshman student who has begun her first semester of Tulane at CIAPA in Costa Rica 2012. Pura Vida, Professor Gibson

Jack’s Blog:

Saludos desde San Jose! Greetings!

Hello. I am writing this blog entry from my dorm room, room 205, which sits on the top floor of a large, hotel-like building on the joint Tulane â’‘¬‘€œ CIAPA campus in San Jose, Costa Rica. This building is where us Tulane students spend a lot of our time: studying for our various classes, eating, and sleeping, in that order of importance. The time as of now is 2:30 pm, on a Tuesday, October 7. Around me sits piles of essays and sketches strewn across my desk, and in front of me, pinned to a drawing board, is the schedule of my classes for the Fall 2012 Semester, which I double-check constantly out of forgetfulness. If I were to turn around and look out my open door, I would see the miniature rainforest that covers the CIAPA campus, and farther on, a towering golden â’‘¬Å“Mâ’‘¬Â, for McDonaldâ’‘¬’“¢s, back-dropped by the rolling, tropical-green hills and mountains that surround the city of San Jose. As I write this, the city is alive with a heavy rain, and thunder rumbles fiercely overhead, as it does almost every afternoon in this place. My name is Jack, and Iâ’‘¬’“¢m one of the students studying at CIAPA in San Jose, Costa Rica.

As a student here at CIAPA, there is much and more to do, and almost everything we do is tied together with our studies. During the week my five other peers and I go about our daily business: going to class, taking the bus into San Jose, making our way to the local gym of which we have been granted membership, personal trainers, and thumb-print recognition access. Fellow gym members, most of them young, will often greet us with a â’‘¬Å“pura vidaâ’‘¬Â, or â’‘¬Å“pure lifeâ’‘¬Â, a saying that Ticos (Costa Ricans) are fond of as both greetings and farewells.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, we visit two respective high schools in San Jose and work with English classes there. The last time we visited, we played the Spanish version of Scrabble with the class, and the next two hours saw countless conversations in Spanglish about life in general. The group that connects us with these schools is called the Youth Action Foundation, and it works with high schools all over Costa Rica to improve the quality of education for kids in primary and secondary school.
The rest of the week is spent studying and reading for our busy class schedule, which includes topics like Comparative Politics, Central American Government, and Latin American Art History. All of the classes are humanities, and I miss science, but they blend into such a cohesive study of Latin America â’‘¬‘€œ specifically Central America â’‘¬‘€œ that I often find myself forgetting which class Iâ’‘¬’“¢m studying for. Weekends are usually a time to break free from the weekâ’‘¬’“¢s routine and travel around the area, but occasionally we head out on organized, group weekend trips. So far these trips have led us to the cloud forests of Monteverde, white-water rafting in the mountains of Rara Avis, and, in the future, to the Caribbean beaches of the city of Limon. Again, I canâ’‘¬’“¢t express enough the beauty of this place.

Over the course of my stay here, Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve made attempts to define the identity of this place called â’‘¬Å“Rich Coastâ’‘¬Â, and I have found it to be very difficult to pinpoint. Instead, flashes of inspiration will come to me in certain moments, much like the silent flashes of lightning that, late in the night, briefly illuminate the dark masses of mountains that surround CIAPA. I once watched out of a bus window as a series of young people marched on the street, banging unceremoniously and without rhythm on drums; this was Costa Rica. On one of our many weekend trips as a group, we visited the cloud forest of Monteverde, and were able to walk amidst and listen to the forest come alive with rain in the night; this was also Costa Rica. Costa Ricaâ’‘¬’“¢s identity is hard to define, but Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve come to the conclusion that Costa Rica is a proud country: proud of its natural splendor, proud of its history as one of the leading countries in Central America in political and economic stability, and proud of its happy people. At the same time, globalization and foreign influence have done their deeds, and Costa Ricaâ’‘¬’“¢s identity is now attempting to cope with things like a beautiful, unique tropical bird perched on a giant, humming McDonaldâ’‘¬’“¢s arch. Unfortunately that is only one of many examples of identity crisis. But this brings me to the National Theater.

When the United States was undergoing Industrialization, there began a large movement of appreciating and in turn depicting the vast, previously untouched nature of North America that was now being taken for granted. The United States has its Hudson River Painters, and Costa Rica has the National Theater in San Jose.

While it may be a bit of an overstatement to compare these two countries in terms of rejuvenating the appreciation for the national environment, it is certainly undeniable that both played, and are playing a part in the conservation of national identity when it comes to natural splendor. The National Theater is a huge building at the center of the Plaza of Culture in San Jose, which in turn is in the center of the city. The Plaza was originally built around the Theater, which was one of the first buildings to arise in the area, tall and majestic, dwarfing the one-story colonial homes it stood amidst at the turn of the 20th century. Now it stands as a cultural center for both locals and tourists. On the two occasions Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve been to the theater (both of which played notable substitutions for our actual Tulane Interdisciplinary class), the shows seemed to emanate an irresistible love affair between Costa Rica and its people.
The first show was a performance by the Jazz pianist Chucho Valdez and his band, the Afro-Cuban Messengers. The performance was impossible to describe with words, but I can say that it gave me a newfound appreciation for Latin American music. When I got back to CIAPA I immediately downloaded all of Valdezâ’‘¬’“¢ music from â’‘¬Å“iTunesâ’‘¬Â. The performance was also unique in that involved the crowd pretty vehemently. Towards the end the band had everyone in the theater dancing, singing, and clapping. I canâ’‘¬’“¢t say for sure that this is a Costa Rican quality, but I can say that I would rarely see that in Seattle, Washington (where Iâ’‘¬’“¢m from).

The second performance celebrated an anniversary of the Theater, and involved three separate acts of dance. Throughout the show we saw naked women and men running around attempting not to conform to society; a man and a woman falling in and out of love with fiery Latin flare; and a slow, ritualistic dance with big jungle cats, lots of water, and artificial steam and bird noises. All of these acts shared the same quality of attempting to celebrate Costa Rican culture, and by the end, it had succeeded at least with me. Of course, I acknowledge that these performances are filtered from real experiences with these aspects of Costa Rican culture, but when it was over I at least had the feeling that I knew Costa Rica a little better.

In conclusion, come to Costa Rica, but donâ’‘¬’“¢t go to college here â’‘¬‘€œ there are too many distractions. While you are here, please visit the National Theater.

Pura vida,

Jack Mace

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Annie Gibson

    Administrative Assistant Professor - Department of Global Education

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Latin American Library Works-in-Progress Talk with Greenleaf Fellow Sofía Vindas Solano

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Please join the Latin American Library for a work-in progress talk by 2019-2020 Richard E. Greenleaf Fellow Sofía Vindas Solano. Her presentation, entitled “La consolidación de los museos de arte moderno de Guatemala y Costa Rica: nociones visuales de lo local, regional y global en sus colecciones, 1950-1992” will take place on Monday, February 17th, 2020 at 3:30pm at the Latin American Library Seminar Room. The talk will be in English. Refreshments to follow.

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Resumen: Se presenta un avance de la investigación doctoral que examina la consolidación de un espacio artístico-cultural público institucionalizado de arte moderno en Guatemala con el Museo Carlos Mérida y, en Costa Rica, el Museo de Arte Costarricense, para entender cómo este proceso influye en nociones visuales sobre identidades nacionales, regionales y globales presentes en las colecciones de los museos entre 1950-1992. Interesa realizar la comparación de estos espacios y colecciones para evidenciar cómo se transmiten, transforman y digieren las tendencias artísticas entre estos países. Además se pone énfasis en la relación transnacional entre países y artistas, con organismos como la OEA para examinar el impacto de la actividad cultural de José Gómez Sicre en el arte centroamericano.

Abstract: My research at The Latin American Library is part of a doctoral dissertation in progress on the consolidation of an institutionalized, public artistic and cultural space of modern art in Guatemala through the Carlos Mérida Museum and, in Costa Rica, in the Museum of Costa Rican Art, to understand how this process influences visual notions about national, regional and global identities in museum collections between 1950-1992. By comparing these spaces and collections, we are able to trace how artistic trends are transmitted, transformed and digested between these countries. Emphasis is placed on the transnational relationship between these spaces and artists, with organizations such as the OAS, to examine the impact of the work of José Gómez Sicre on Central American art.

Sofía Vindas Solano is an art historian focusing on modern art in Central America. She is currently a doctoral student in the graduate program in History at the University of Costa Rica where she is working on the consolidation of art museums in Guatemala and Costa Rica. Sofía Vindas earned a B.A. in History and Art History as well as an M.A. in Political Science at the University of Costa Rica, where she is also an instructor. She also works as a freelancer on curatorial and research projects. More recently, she has published articles on anti-imperialism in Costa Rican caricature and on the debate surrounding Art Biennale I of 1971 in newspapers of the time.

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About Richard E. Greenleaf (1930-2011)

Until his retirement in 1998, Richard E. Greenleaf served as the France Vinton Scholes Professor of Colonial Latin American History, and as the Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University. He also served as Chair of the Department of History. Dr. Greenleaf grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and took his Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of New Mexico, where he studied under the dean of Inquisition scholars, France V. Scholes. Greenleaf’s doctoral dissertation, “Zumárraga and the Mexican Inquisition 1536-1543,” served as the basis for his many excellent publications on the history of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Latin America. Greenleaf authored eleven major scholarly books, co-authored or contributed to seventeen others, and published almost four dozen articles in the field of Latin American and New Mexico history. He was the recipient of many distinguished awards, among them the Silver Medal, the Sahagún Prize (Mexican National History Award), and the Serra Award of the Academy of American Franciscan History for Distinguished Scholarship in Colonial Latin American History. In his long and distinguished teaching career in New Mexico, Mexico City and New Orleans, Greenleaf served as mentor to 34 doctoral students at Tulane, and countless masters and undergraduate students. Richard E. Greenleaf died on November 8, 2011.

Spring Series: Markets

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In the 2020 spring series, Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America, speakers will discuss voter behavior, public opinion and political psychology in Latin America, amidst traditional challenges like clientelism and political polarization and new ones such as the influence of China. These presentations collectively explore how voters in Latin America are torn between multiple competing forces and how difficult the challenge of effective democratic representation remains in the region.

11:45 in the Greenleaf Conference room
Please RSVP to CIPR@tulane.edu

February 17 Prof. Scott Morgenstern (University of Pittsburgh): Battling for Hearts and Minds of Latin America: Covariance of Attitudes towards the United States and China
March 9 Prof. Daniel Hidalgo (MIT)
March 16 Prof. Taylor Boas (BU) A Kingdom of this World: Evangelicals and Electoral Politics in Latin America
April 3 Prof. Abby Cordova (University of Kentucky) Vote Buying and Voter Turnout in Compulsory Voting Systems in Latin America: Implications for the Political Behavior of the Poor

For more information e-mail cipr@tulane.edu or view the poster.

LAGO Symposium on Community-Engaged Scholarship

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The Latin Americanist Graduate Organization (LAGO) is pleased to announce its Symposium on Community-Engaged Scholarship. This full-day event will include a series of presentations featuring graduate students, faculty, and local leaders working at the intersection of academia and community. All are welcome to attend one or more of three talks. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.


SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULE

9 – 9:30 AM | Breakfast

9:30 – 11 AM | “The Role of the Arts in Community Engagement and Activism”
Moderator: Megan Flattley (Stone Center PhD Candidate)
Panelists: Dr. Jeffrey U. Darensbourg (Tribal Councilperson and enrolled member of the Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas), Gabrielle Garcia Steib (Media Artist and Writer), Dr. Edith Wolf (Stone Center Assistant Director for Undergraduate Programs)

11 – 11:30 AM | Break/Networking

11:30 – 1 PM | “Co-Creating Digital Testimonios with Latinx Youth: A Community-Engaged Approach to Scholarship and Action”
Presenters: Jenn Miller Scarnato (City, Culture & Community PhD Candidate) and Rebeca Sauly Santa María Granados (Youth Member of Puentes)
Discussion Moderator: Dr. James D. Huck, Jr. (Stone Center Assistant Director for Graduate Programs and Puentes Board Member)

1 – 2 PM | Lunch

2 – 3:30 PM | “Guiding Principles and Strategies: The Social Sciences and Community Engagement”
Moderator: Carolina Timoteo de Oliveira (Stone Center PhD Candidate)
Panelists: Dr. Claudia Chávez-Arguelles (Tulane Anthropology Faculty), Ruth Idakula (Executive Director at the Center for Ethical Learning and Social Justice Renewal), and Linett Luna Tovar (Stone Center Masters Program Alumna)

3:30 – 4:30 | Networking/Wrap-up

The LAGO Symposium on Community-Engaged Scholarship is co-sponsored by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Tulane Mellon Graduate Program in Community-Engaged Scholarship.

Latin American Writers Series: Damián Cabrera

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Join us for an interview with Damián Cabrera about his life, interests, and influences. The discussion will be followed by an open Q&A. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Damián Cabrera was born in Asunción Paraguay and grew up in Alto Paraná along the Brazilian border. His publications, which explore the realities of the Triple Frontier, include one collection of short stories, sh… horas de contar… (2006) and the novels Xiru (2012)—winner of the Roque Gaona Prize—and Xe (2019). Cabrera has served as editor of the journals El Tereré (2006-2012) and Ku’Ótro (2008) and is an active member of artistic organizations such as Semenario Espacio/Crítico and Ediciones de la Ura. He also teaches film at the Universidad Columbia de Paraguay and art and design at the Universidad Nacional de Paraguay.

Latin American Writers Series: Andrea Palet

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Join us for an interview with Andrea Palet about her life, interests, and influences. The discussion will be followed by an open Q&A. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Andrea Palet is an editor, columnist, and educator from Chile. With almost three decades of experience in the publishing field, she has edited magazines and books in both Europe and South America. In 2014, she became the founding editorial director of Editorial Laurel in Santiago, Chile. Under her leadership, the house has released the works of more than 20 novelists, essayists, and chroniclers. Palet also oversees the Master of Editing program at the Universidad de Diego Portales. A collection of her columns, Leo y olvido, was released in 2018 by Ediciones Bastante.

Latin American Writers Series: Rodrigo Fuentes

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Join us for an interview with Rodrigo Fuentes about his life, interests, and influences. The discussion will be followed by an open Q&A. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Rodrigo Fuentes is a Guatemalan-born writer of short stories. He received the II Premio Centroamericano Carátula in 2014, and his collection Trucha Panza arriba was a finalist for the 2018 Premio Gabriel García Márquez . His works have been published in Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, El Salvador, as well as in translation in France and Scotland. Fuentes is also the co-founder and editor of the magazine Suelta and of the digital publishing house and literary journal Traviesa. He currently teaches in the Department of Spanish at College of the Holy Cross.