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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Bate Papo! Primavera 2020--NOW ONLINE!

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Bate Papo will now be held virtually! Join the conversation!

A weekly hour of Portuguese conversation and tasty treats hosted by Prof. Megwen Loveless. All levels are welcome! Meetings take place on Fridays at different hours and locations. See the full schedule below:

January 17th, 11 AM, LBC Pocket Park
Treat: Suco de maracuja

January 24th, 3 PM, Boot
Treat: Suco de caju

January 31st, 4PM, Cafe Carmo (527 Julia St.)
Treat: Suco de caja

February 7th, 11 AM, LBC Pocket Park
Treat: Agua de coco

February 14th, 11 AM, LBC Mezzanine
Treat: Guarana

February 21st, 12PM, PJs Willow
Treat: Cha de maracuja

February 28th, 2PM, Sharp Residence Hall
Treat: Cafe brasiliero

March 6th, 9:30 AM, LBC Mezzanine
Treat: Cha matte

March 13th, 1 PM, LBC Pocket Park
Treat: Suco de goiaba

March 20th, 3 PM, Greenbaum House
Treat: Limonada a brasiliera

March 27th, 12 PM, LBC Mezzanine
Treat: Batido de abacate

April 3rd, 11 AM, LBC Pocket Park
Treat: Suco de acai

April 17th, 1 PM, LBC Pocket Park
Treat: Caldo de cana

April 24th, 2 PM, Boot
Treat: Groselha

Ancient Civilizations K-16 Series for Social Studies Educators

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Ancient Civilizations
K-16 Educator Workshop Series
Spring 2020

For educators of grade levels: K-12

Tulane University’s Middle American Research Institute (MARI), Stone Center for Latin American Studies (SCLAS), S.S. NOLA, and AfterCLASS will host a professional development workshop series open to all K-16 school professionals. These workshops will challenge educators to learn about the unexpected impact and connections of Ancient civilizations from Central America to the Gulf South. In particular, the workshops will foster a deeper comprehension of how to incorporate art, language and food across the disciplines. Participants will learn unique ways to incorporate the Tunica, Maya and Aztec cultures into the classroom in a variety of subjects. Registration for each workshop is $5 and includes light snacks, teaching resources, and a certificate of completion.

The workshop series will prepare teachers:

  • To utilize digital humanities resources in the classroom;
  • To design culturally appropriate primary and secondary research projects;
  • To teach about Pre-Columbian and ancient civilizations, language, geography and foods;
  • To encourage student self-determination through meaningful and relevant cultural projects.

Saturday, January 25, 2020
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Tunica of the Lower Mississippi River Valley
Middle American Research Institute – Seminar Room
6823 St. Charles Avenue
This workshop will introduce participants with little or no prior knowledge to ancient Tunica history, art, and language, with special focus on the role of food and native foods of this region. Participants will explore the physical, cultural and linguistic characteristics of the region. Representatives of the Tunica community will introduce their language and culture and the work they do to preserve their language.

Friday, March 6, 2020
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Understanding Maya Fare: Beyond Tamales and Cacao
AfterCLASS – Taylor Education Center
612 Andrew Higgins Blvd. #4003
In collaboration with the Annual Tulane Maya Symposium, this workshop focuses on foods of the Maya. Participants will explore the foods of the Maya focusing on the role of food over time. Join us as we hear from chocolate specialists and our Kaqchikel language scholar will discuss the importance of corn. REGISTER HERE.

Thursday, May 2020
Aztec Mexican Art and Culture
Participants in this workshop will explore the art and culture of the Aztec community. Date TBD