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

La Hora del Cuento: Fall Bilingual Story Hour at the Pebbles Center

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This fall, join us for La hora del cuento 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

Stone Center for Latin American Studies to host 11th annual Workshop on Field Research Methods

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Join us at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies for the 11th Annual Weekend Workshop on Field Research Methods on Saturday, January 26, 2019. The deadline to apply for the workshop is January 15, 2019.

How will you get the data you need for your thesis or dissertation? Do you envision immersing yourself for months in the local culture, or tromping the hills and farms seeking respondents? Sorting through dusty archives? Observing musicians at work in the plaza? Downloading and crunching numbers on a computer? For any of these approaches: How might you get there, from here?

This workshop aims to help you approach your data collection and analysis for your thesis or dissertation topic, and to adapt and refine your topic to be more feasible. You will take your research project ideas to the next stop—whatever that may be, include raising travel grants. Learn to:

  • Plan more efficiently, feasible, and rewarding fieldwork
  • Prepare more compelling and persuasive grant proposals
  • Navigate choices of research methods and course offerings on campus
  • Become a better research and fieldwork team-member

Format
This is an engaged, hands-on, informal workshop. Everyone shares ideas and participates. We will explore and compare research approaches, share experiences and brainstorm alternatives. You will be encouraged to think differently about your topic, questions, and study sites as well as language preparation, budgets, and logistics. The participatory format is intended to spark constructive new thinking, strategies, and student networks to continue learning about (and conducting) field research.

Who is leading this?
Laura Murphy, PhD, faculty in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, and affiliate faculty to the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

Who is this for?
This workshop is targeted to Stone Center graduate students as well as graduate students from other programs (GOHB, CCC, humanities, sciences, and others) if space is available. The workshop will be particularly helpful for those who envision research with human subjects.

Sign up
Sign up as soon as you can! Apply by January 15, 2019, at the latest to confirm your stop. Send an email with the following details:

  • Your name
  • Department and Degree program
  • Year at Tulane
  • Prior experience in research, especially field research
  • Academic training in research design and methods
  • Include a 1-paragraphy statement of your current research interests and immediate plans/needs (i.e. organize summer field research)

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Not for credit.

For more information and/or to apply: Contact Laura Murphy or Jimmy Huck.

Call for submissions: City, Community, and Culture Symposium VOICES

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The City, Culture, and Community (CCC) program at Tulane University is now accepting submissions for the 2019 spring symposium to be held on February 9, 2019. The deadline to submit a proposal is December 21, 2018. The 2019 symposium, VOICES: Visibility, Orientation, Identity, Creativity, Environment, Spaces, seeks to understand creative approaches to how inequalities are negotiated: socially, culturally, and institutionally.

The symposium is looking for research that explores creative approaches to agency, institutional organization, and cultural production and consumption within complex social systems. What are the current issues facing our communities, institutions, and cities? How can we be creative and inclusive in our approach? We are interested in how scholars frame these questions in regards to race, gender, sexuality, and class. This symposium invites scholars to present work from a variety of disciplines, perspectives, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies. As the academy continues to evolve, interdisciplinarity proves more and more a necessity. This symposium intends to create an interdisciplinary space that can bring together scholars, practitioners, students, and community members to engage across lines and extend current conversations around agency, resilience, and social justice across the globe.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Ernesto Martinez, is an Associate Professor in Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon. In his keynote address Queer Arousals in Contexts of Racialized Harm, Dr. Martinez conducts an intersectional analysis of the ways that queer men of color negotiate epistemic injustice through the creation and consumption of film, literature, and art. His research interests include queer ethnic studies, women of color feminisms, US Latinx literature and culture, and literary theory. He is the author of On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility (Stanford UP, 2012) and The Truly Diverse Faculty: New Dialogues in American Higher Education. (Palgrave, 2014). Along with his academic achievements, Dr. Martinez also writes bilingual Latinx children’s books, produces films (La Sarentata, 2017), and serves as a board member for the Association for Jotería Arts, Activism, and Scholarship (AJAAS), a queer Latinx grassroots organization dedicated to producing art and analyzing culture and politics in the context of activism.

Conference submissions are open to graduate students, outstanding undergraduates, educators, and practitioners. The symposium is a forum to showcase original research, theory expansion, innovative analysis, practical applications, and case studies. We welcome unpublished journal articles, area exam sections, dissertation chapters, working papers, and other forms of research analysis. As the space is intended to be for workshopping and dialoguing, literature reviews will not be considered. Presentations will be organized either in panels or individually.

The submission deadline is December 21, 2018. Any questions should be directed to tulaneccc@gmail.com.

Mexican Cultural Institute's new exhibition features photographs showcasing Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

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The Mexican Cultural Institute in conjunction with PhotoNOLA 2018 will be showcasing a photographic exhibition titled Diego and Frida: A Halfway Smile from December 7, 2018 through February 15, 2019.

The opening reception will be held on December 7, 2018 from 6:00 PM through 9:00 PM.

The exhibition Diego and Frida, A Halfway Smile consists of personal photographs through which the wonderful world shared by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is revealed. One of the most controversial couples in the history of art in Mexico, united for almost 25 years, their relationship is marked by an infinity of encounters and disagreements. This axis of love witnessed innumerable contacts, closeness, complicity and deep friendships with great personalities of the time. It is through the images captured by friends like Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Nicolas Murray and Edward Weston that different stages of the relationship, life, pain and death of Frida and Diego are presented.

In 2018 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico established the Mexican Cultural Institute in New Orleans. The primary objective of the Mexican Cultural Institute is to promote the image of Mexico by supporting cultural expressions in its broadest and fullest sense, including multidisciplinary forms like visual arts, music, performing arts, film, literature and gastronomy. The mission of the Cultural Institutes is to be protagonists of the cultural scene in their different host cities.

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.

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 “Collapse” a Useful Term in Understanding Pre-Columbian Maya History?, Dr. Sabloff considers how the term “collapse” 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.

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.

To register and learn more information about the Spring 2019 series, please visit:
internationalizingsocialstudies.blog

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