Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Day of the Dead 2020 - Papel Picado Tutorial

Learn how to create your own papel picado, a traditional paper art found during the Day of the Dead. In this video tutorial, New Orleans artist Cynthia Ramirez, professor at Southern University of New Orleans walks us through how to create your own papel picado. Recorded October, 2020.

Explore el Día de los Muertos with our online curriculum Day of the Dead Across the Americas. The introduction to the unit is below.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of ancestors found throughout Latin America. Día de los Muertos is celebrated differently throughout Latin America, with the Mexican traditions being most familiar to US residents. Día de los Muertos, celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, is celebrated on All Saints and All Souls Days, an important part of Catholic traditions. Other aspects of the tradition come from pre-Hispanic roots, in Mexico, or influence of west African cultures, in much of the Caribbean.

Día de los Muertos is a time of remembrance and celebration of departed ancestors. It is a family holiday where people gather to remember loved ones and celebrate them. One of the most important traditions is the construction of altars to the dead. The altars are constructed in homes, in public places, and in cemeteries. Families also go to cemeteries to clean and decorate the graves of loved ones. In some places, people spend the night at the cemeteries in all-night celebrations.

Altars traditionally include items such as the favorite food and drink of the people the altar is dedicated to, representations of skulls (these can be made of sugar, paper, or any other sort of material), bread, pan de muertos, in the shape of bones and skulls, papel picado, cut paper, and Calaveras, or representations of skeletons. In Mexico, marigolds are traditionally used for decoration due to their smell. They were associated with death in pre-hispanic times and that association continues. The items placed on the altar are called ofrendas, or offerings.

Calavaras, or skeleton representations, come in many forms and styles. The term calavaras is also used to refer to the work of Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913). Posada, a famous Mexican artist and political cartoonist, is most well-known for his representations of skeletons dressed in fancy cloths which were meant to satirize upper class individuals. These representations have been adapted for use in Day of the Dead traditions, particularly his famous Calavera Catrina, a female skeleton wearing a large floppy hat.

The Mexican Día de los Muertos tradition is based in large part on Aztec traditions. The Aztec, a people who lived in Central Mexico (Figure 1) at the time of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, celebrated a feast to honor their ancestors that occurred around the same time as All Saints and All Souls Day. These two traditions were mixed together and became the tradition we now associate with Día de los Muertos, a syncretic tradition. The Aztec celebration which occurred around this time was dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl who ruled over the land of the dead with her husband.

Read more here.


All Events

Upcoming Events

Bate papo! Speak Portuguese!

View Full Event Description

Join us for an informal conversation hour with members of BRASA. All levels welcome. No registration necessary – come and stay for a few minutes or the whole hour! For more information, please contact Megwen at

FRIDAY – April 2, 2021
1:00 PM
Special edition Bate-papo with BRASA! Jones Hall patio.

FRIDAY – April 9, 2021
3:00 PM
Bate-papo. Jones Hall patio.

FRIDAY – April 16, 2021
1:30 PM
Special edition Bate-papo with Rice University.

This event is sponsored by TULASO and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. Admission is free. All levels welcome.

On/Off-Screen: The Other Histories of Cinema in Latin America

View Full Event Description

On/Off Screen. The Other Histories of Cinema in Latin America / Las otras historias del cine en América Latina explores practices of film distribution, exhibition and cinemagoing in Latin America. Over the past decade, the receiving end of the film chain, including patterns of film distribution and exhibition and the experiences of cinemagoers, has received increasing scholarly attention. Although this turn has made inroads beyond Eurocentric, Anglo-American limits, there is still a need to highlight other important cinematographic regions, especially Latin America. The symposium brings together scholars working in/on this domain from Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Cuba, and the US, etc to engage in conversations about film culture across the Western hemisphere.

More information can be found on the website, here.

Teaching and Understanding Women's Activism in the Face of Violence

View Full Event Description

(Description via Vanderbilt CLAS)

Join Vanderbilt CLAS and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University for a teacher workshop about incorporating topics of social justice and gender equality in the curriculum. In 2019, Amalia Rubin and Parker Benedict joined forces to create She Stands Up, a project that aims to spark meaningful conversations in high school classrooms about the power of women’s activism in the face of violence. While the project’s lesson plans focus on social mobilization in Latin America, where reporting of violence against women has been steadily increasing in recent years, She Stands Up creators hope to inspire teachers and students alike to tackle relevant and difficult topics in the classroom. In this special workshop, Amalia and Parker will take us through the research behind the project, introduce us to their website (full of resources!), and lead us in an activity from one of their lesson plans. Current and aspiring high school educators are encouraged to attend, and all educators are welcome.

A Discussion of Obscuro Barroco: "Imaginaçoes de Carnaval"

View Full Event Description

Join Drs. Ana López, João Luiz Vieira, Leslie Louise Marsh, and Catherine Benamou for a discussion of the documentary film Obscuro Barroco.

Obscuro Barroco is a documentary-fiction film about the dizzying heights of gender and metamorphosis in Rio de Janeiro. Following the path of iconic transgender figure Luana Muniz (1961-2017), the film explores the different quests for the self, through transvestism, carnival and political struggle. In turn, it asks questions about the desire for transformation of the body, both intimate and social.

You can watch the film, browse resources, and meet the panelists on the event webpage, here
We encourage all attendees to watch the film prior to the event.

Special thanks to Tulane Department of Communication, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Eres Tú, and PORTulane for their support in this program.

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

View Full Event Description

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

View Full Event Description

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.


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


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.