Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Madison Asher, '12

Ventanillas de Salud, Mexican Consulate, Washington, DC

After graduating from Tulane, Madison began a certificate program in Spanish Translation at American University. She notes that, when she used to tell people she was studying Spanish, the most frequent response was ‘€œOh, you’d like to be a Spanish teacher?‘€ As she had no intention of teaching, this program has demonstrated to her that her language skills acquired while at Tulane can be put to use outside of the classroom. She interned at the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs (OLA) in the Language Access and Advocacy department to complement her two semesters at American University. Now, she has landed a “dream” job working as the Coordinator of the Ventanillas de Salud, a health services program implemented through the Consular Section of the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, DC.

Why did you choose to major in Latin American Studies?
I remember the moment I decided to change my major to Latin American Studies. I was in Maureen Shea‘€™s Social Problems in Latin American Literature class. It was one of the first cultural classes I took that was conducted in Spanish. I fell in love with the idea of sitting in a room talking in Spanish about something other than grammar rules. We had just watched a documentary on Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and I felt this passion brewing up in me. I realized my love for the Spanish language transcends the grammatical landscape and is actually embedded in the culture of a people. From then on I took a majority of my classes on social issues of Latin America (conducted in either Spanish or Portuguese to keep my foreign language desires satisfied!)

How has your background in LAST helped you since graduation?
Of course there‘€™s the language component. Being fluent in Spanish with a substantial amount of Portuguese was the only reason I was able to take part in my current translation program and internship when I first arrived in DC. However, it has proven to be even more fruitful in my current position with the Mexican Consulate. Truthfully, one of the main reasons they hired this “gringa” is because my language skills are top notch. I made sure to take a course load that would heavily immerse me in the Spanish language and now I feel right at home working from the Mexican Consulate as a white girl from New York surrounded by Mexicans, Bolivians, Guatemalans and Salvadorans.

I also have to give some thanks to the work I was required to do during the senior capstone. I chose my thesis based on personal interests and it has proven to be more useful than I expected. I focused on medicinal practices of the Amazonian indigenous population and who knew I would still be drawing from that knowledge today. I work in healthcare in the US but with people who come from a variety pack of healthcare cultures.

Understanding the differences in these practices not only inspired me to pursue this position in the first place, but also helps me realize how differently someone I deal with may approach their health practices. In the end, my capstone paper was just okay, but the research I put into it for months far supersedes the final product. Enjoying that journey has helped me build a stronger foundation for what I hope to continue pursuing.

In hindsight, what would you have done differently as a LAST major?
I think I was a little language crazy and chose most of my classes based on the fact that they were taught in either Spanish or Portuguese. Perhaps this took away from the opportunity to get the full interdisciplinary experience. But in the end, the language skills were my most successful accomplishment (along with surviving the senior capstone, of course!) Also, I would have attended more Pachangas!

Any words of wisdom for LAST undergraduates?
Enjoy what you‘€™re learning! Even the topics you aren‘€™t particularly thrilled about, keep the information bookmarked in your brain. You‘€™ll realize that, over time, each little anecdote from your courses is interrelated and can be applied in settings you never thought possible. Choose your capstone thesis based on your personal interests, not the ones you think you’re supposed to be researching. Focus your attention more on the journey of learning all about something incredible than on the final 25 pages you have to hand in. Overall, embrace this liberal arts undergraduate education. I changed my major from a very career-oriented major to LAST because I realized my undergraduate life was an opportunity to follow my current interests, not my potential ones. And I am oh so glad that I did!

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Zale-Kimmerling Writer in Residence Valeria Luiselli

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via Newcomb Institute

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions and Lost Children Archive. She is the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship and the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, an American Book Award, and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the Booker Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a Writer in Residence at Bard College and lives in New York City.

The Zale-Kimmerling Writer-in-Residence Program brings renowned woman writers to the Tulane campus. Coordinated through the Newcomb Institute, the Zale-Kimmerling Writer-in-Residence program was established by Dana Zale Gerard, NC ‘€˜85, and made possible by an annual gift from the M.B. and Edna Zale Foundation of Dallas, Texas. Since 2006, the program has been generously supported by Barnes & Noble College Booksellers. In 2010, the program became fully endowed through a gift from Martha McCarty Kimmerling, NC‘€™63, and known as the Zale-Kimmerling Writer-in-Residence program.

Laura Anderson Barbata: Transcommunality Exhibit K-12 Educator Orientation

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Join us for an evening with Tom Friel, Coordinator for Interpretation and Public Engagement as he walks through an innovative tool developed to share the Newcomb Art Museum’s latest exhibit, Laura Anderson Barbata: Transcommunality. The program is designed to introduce K-12 educators to Laura Anderson Barbata’s work and focus on specific elements of the exhibit that connect deeply to the K-12 classroom. While the exhibit is open to limited public access, it plans to open to the public and school visits by Fall 2021. Educators from across the country will find this online introduction to Barbata’s work a valuable resource as the virtual exhibit serves as a unique tool for online learning.

Read more about this exhibit from the Newcomb Gallery of Art About the Exhibit page below:

“The process-driven conceptual practices of artist Laura Anderson Barbata (b. 1958, Mexico City, Mexico) engage a wide variety of platforms and geographies. Centered on issues of cultural diversity, ethnography, and sustainability, her work blends political activism, street theater, traditional techniques, and arts education. Since the early 1990s, she has initiated projects with people living in the Amazon of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Norway, and New York. The results from these collaborations range from public processional performances, artist books and handmade paper, textiles, countless garments, and the repatriation of an exploited 19thcentury Mexican woman ‘€” each designed to bring public attention to issues of civil, indigenous, and environmental rights.

In Transcommunality, work from five of Barbata‘€™s previous collaborations across the Americas are presented together for the first time. Though varying in process, tradition, and message, each of these projects emphasize Barbata‘€™s understanding of art as a system of shared practical actions that has the capacity to increase connection. The majority of the works presented are costumed sculptures typically worn by stilt-dancing communities. Through the design and presentation of these sculptures, Barbata fosters a social exchange that activates stilt-dancing‘€™s improvisational magic and world history. At the core of this creative practice is the concept of reciprocity: the balanced exchange of ideas and knowledge.

The events of this past year ‘€” from the uprisings across the country in response to fatal police shootings to the disproportionate impacts of Covid-19 among Black and brown communities to the bitter divisiveness of the 2020 presidential election ‘€” have renewed the urgency for Barbata‘€™s multifaceted practice. In featured projects such as Intervention: Indigo, participants from various backgrounds reckon with the past to address systemic violence and human rights abuses, calling attention to specific instances of social justice. In The Repatriation of Julia Pastrana, Barbata‘€™s efforts critically shift the narratives of human worth and cultural memory. The paper and mask works presented in the show demonstrate the impact of individual and community reciprocity, both intentional and organic. Through her performance partnerships in Trinidad and Tobago, New York, and Oaxaca, represented throughout the museum, onlookers are invited to connect to the traditions of West Africa, the Amazon, Mexico, and the Caribbean and the narratives these costume sculptures reflect on the environment, indigenous cultures, folklore, and religious cosmologies.

By encouraging diverse collaborators to resist homogenization and deploy the creative skills inherent to authentic local expressions and their survival, Barbata promotes the revival of intangible cultural heritage. Transcommunality horizontally values the systems of oral history and folklore, spirituality, and interdisciplinary academic thought that shape Barbata‘€™s engaging creations, celebrating the dignity, creativity, and vibrancy of the human spirit.”

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An Evening with Multi-Award Winning Author Elizabeth Acevedo

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Join us for an evening with Elizabeth Acevedo. Acevedo presents her third book, Clap When You Land, and discusses her writing process and performance background. The discussion will be followed by a reading.

Poet, novelist, and National Poetry Slam Champion, Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City, the only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She is the author of Clap When You Land, (Quill Tree Books, 2020); With the Fire On High, (Harper, 2019); the New York Times best-selling and award-winning novel, The Poet X. (HarperCollins, 2018), winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Young Adult Fiction, the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award, and the Carnegie Medal; and the poetry chapbook Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths. (YesYes Books, 2016), a collection of folkloric poems centered on the historical, mythological, gendered and geographic experiences of a first-generation American woman. From the border in the Dominican Republic, to the bustling streets of New York City, Acevedo’s writing celebrates a rich cultural heritage from the island, inherited and adapted by its diaspora, while at the same time rages against its colonial legacies of oppression and exploitation. The beauty and power of much of her work lies at the tensioned crossroads of these competing, yet complementary, desires.

This online program is free and open to the public. It is part of our ongoing series of public engagement programs with Latinx writers that explore Latin America, race, and identity. Read more about Acevedo’s work in this recent article from The Atlantic.

Sponsored by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Newcomb Institute.

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Other Supported Events

  • March 16, 2021 – An Evening with Dominican Musician and Poet, Fermín Ceballos. Sponsored by the Center for the Gulf South
  • March 25, 2021 – Open Mic Night In Celebration of Elizabeth Acevedo. Sponsored by the Tulane Black Student Union (tBSU) and the Office of Multicultural Affairs

Please help us to support local bookstores by purchasing any copies of Acevedo’s books at Tubby & Coo’s.

For more information, please email crcrts@tulane.edu or call 504.865.5164.

Kaqchikel/K'iche' Language Table: Sociolinguistic Language Variation

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Join fellow students, teachers, and native speakers to practice your Kaqchikel language skills and deepen your understanding of Kaqchikel culture. This event is held on the last Thursday of each month for the duration of the Spring 2021 semester.

The March 25th session will focus on sociolinguistic variations within the Kaqchikel language. It will be facilitated by Rebecca Moore.

Kaqchikel/K'iche' Language Table: K'iche' Language Learning

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Join fellow students, teachers, and native speakers to practice your Kaqchikel language skills and deepen your understanding of Kaqchikel culture. This event is held on the last Thursday of each month for the duration of the Spring 2021 semester.

The April 29th session will focus on K’iche’ language learning with guest speaker Nela Petronila Tahay Tzay. It will be facilitated by Ignacio Carvajal.

Global Read Webinar Series Spring 2021

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies coordinates the annual CLASP Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and is excited to collaborate with other world area book awards on this exciting online program. Join us this spring 2021 as we invite award winning authors to join us in an online conversation about social justice, the writing process and an exploration of culture and identity across world regions. This annual Global Read Webinar series invites readers of all ages to join us as we explore books for the K-12 classroom recognized by world area book awards such as the Africana Book Award, the Américas Award, the Freeman Book Award, the Middle East Outreach Council Book Award, and the South Asia Book Award.

Each webinar features a presentation by an award-winning author with discussion on how to incorporate multicultural literature into the classroom. Be sure to join the conversation with our webinar hashtag #2021ReadingAcrossCultures.

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SPRING 2021 SCHEDULE – Read more about the program here.
All webinars are at 7:00 PM EST.

  • January 12 – The Américas Award highlights the 2020 Honor Book, The Moon Within by Aida Salazar
  • February 3 – The Children’s Africana Book Award highlights the 2020 book award winning, Hector by Adrienne Wright
  • March 11 – The Middle East Outreach Award presents 2020 Picture Book award winner, Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron
  • April – Freeman Book Award, a project of the National Consortium for Teaching Asia will present a book TBD.
  • May 13 – South Asia Book Award presents The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

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All sessions are free and open to the public. All times listed refer to Eastern Standard Time (EST). Sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, the South Asia National Outreach Consortium, the Middle East Outreach Council, and African Studies Outreach Council, The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia.