Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

LAGO Holds 3rd Annual Graduate Student Conference

December 6th, 2009

Photo: LAGO Co-facilitator Amanda Magdalena with Keynote Speaker Dr. Jean Franco at the Friday night pachanga in Jones Hall.

From December 4th to the 5th, with the support the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Latin American Graduate Organization held its third annual graduate conference. This year‘€™s theme was ‘€œSpace and Identity: The Politics of Expression in Latin America‘€ and centered on the fact that the history of Latin American has maintained a legacy of struggle at the intersection of space and identity and the notion that the manifestation of this struggle has been expressed in various forms ranging from political, social mobilization, artistic expression, literary movements, and multifaceted trends in music and popular culture. Graduate students from over a dozen universities in the United States joined together on Tulane’s uptown campus for the conference.

Tulane graduate student Robert Kappel speaks on alcohol in the Guatemalan highlands.

Conference participants spoke on diverse topics of space and identity in Latin America from contested spaces, cultural production and politics to hybrid identities, particularly as expressed through literature and the arts. Issues of gender and ethnicity and imagined communities and histories were discussed alongside topics relating to politics, economics, the environment and indigenous populations in the Americas.


The first day of panels on Dec. 4 was followed by a pachanga in Jones Hall in which conference participants, Tulane students and professors, panel moderators and guests were able to mingle and get to know each other and discuss their diverse interests in Latin America. Music at the pachanga was provided by DJ Sereia, Stone Center Ph.D. student Elise Dietrich.

DJ Sereia

Following the pachanga, Dr. David Ortiz of the Department of Sociology gave the introductory comments to the screening of the Argentine film The Take (2004) which is set in suburban Buenos Aires. In the movie thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. The workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a system that sees their factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale. The film was written by Naomi Klein and directed by Avi Lewis.

The second day of panel presentations on Dec. 5 followed a breakfast and guest faculty lecture by Dr. Justin Wolfe of the History Department. Dr. Wolfe‘€™s lecture was entitled ‘€œPerforming Race on a New Stage: Transnational Encounters and Politics in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Caribbean Nicaragua.‘€ After the conclusion of the day‘€™s panels, conference participants and attendees gathered in the Freeman Auditorium of the Woldenberg Arts Center to hear the keynote address given by Dr. Jean Franco, a renowned Latin American scholar and Professor Emerita from Columbia University. Dr. Franco was introduced by the Chair of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Dr. Marilyn Miller.

Dr. Franco with Profs. Hortensia Calvo, Marilyn Miller, Idelber Avelar, Florencia Bazzano-Nelson, and Antonio Gómez.

Dr. Franco‘€™s lecture, “‘€™Un oasis de horror en medio de un desierto de aburrimiento:‘€™ Bolaño‘€™s apocalyptic visión‘€ focused on Mexican writer Roberto Bolaño and his novel 2666. Dr. Franco‘€™s lecture engendered stimulating conversation and discussion and was extremely well-received by both conference participants and attendees. Following the lecture, there was a wine and cheese reception in the breezeway of the Woldenberg Arts Center.

Dr. Idelber Avelar addresses a question to Dr. Franco.

Conference participants from Tulane included:

  • Danielle Smith: ‘€œIt‘€™s Official: An Analysis of the New Legal Status of the Guaraní Language in Paraguay in the Wake of the 1992 Constitutional Reforms‘€
  • Katarina Kneiss: ‘€œThe State, the Church and Feminism: The Criminalization of ‘€˜Therapeutic‘€™ Abortion in Nicaragua‘€
  • Melina Leodas: ‘€œBlack-Brown Coalition Building in Post-Katrina New Orleans: Dream or Possibility?‘€
  • Kurt Hofer: ‘€œA rereading of the Boom through Latin American Revolutionary Film: La Hora de los Hornos as cultural manifesto‘€
  • Irene Lugo: The Transnational Coatlicue: Two Centuries of Cultural Discourse
  • Amanda Magdalena: ‘€œNegotiating Citizenship: Identity, Masculinity, and Sexuality within Mexican American Baseball, 1910-1960‘€
  • Corey Waters: ‘€œOrganizational Structure and Empowerment: An El Salvador NGO‘€
  • John Ben Solieau: ‘€œEnvironmental Interaction: Indigenous Societies and Policy Intervention in the Brazilian Amazon‘€
  • Bradley Hentschel: ‘€œInternational Intervention and the Monopoly on the Legitimate Use of Force: The Colombian Case‘€
  • Heriberto Cabada: “Cuba: A “Democracy with Adjectives”?
  • Emily Schulman: ‘€œPostdictatorial Porteño Poetry: Contested Space in the Chilean Poetic Imagination‘€
  • Christina Abreo: ‘€œEntre hippylandia y disneylandia: Community- control Tourism in San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala‘€
  • Gwen Murray: ‘€œ(Re)Presenting Cidade dos Homens: Co-production, Difference and Democracy‘€
  • Stephen Jacobs: ‘€œRecording Ritual in Text and Image: Viceroy Morcillo‘€™s Entrada – Potosí, 1716‘€
  • Derek Burdette: “Who Made that Statue: Race and Ethnicity in the Imagined Histories of Miraculous Cristos in Colonial Mexico City”
  • Megan Allen Kareithi: ‘€œWomen of Santiago: Gender Conceptions and Realities under Pinochet‘€
  • Robert Kappel: ‘€œAlcohol in Three Highland Guatemalan Communities‘€

Panel Moderators included:

  • James Huck (Stone Center for Latin American Studies)
  • Rebecca Atencio (Department of Spanish & Portuguese)
  • Guadalupe García (History Department)
  • Katie Acosta (Department of Sociology)
  • Martín Mendoza (Stone Center for Latin American Studies)
  • Luciana Monteiro (Department of Spanish & Portuguese)
  • Kate Drabinski (Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies)
  • Idelber Avelar (Department of Spanish & Portuguese)
  • Florencia Bazzano-Nelson (Art Department)
  • Vicki Mayer (Communication Department)
  • Antonio Gómez (Department of Spanish & Portuguese)

LAGO Co-facilitators and members Gwen Murray, Hilary Smith, Herbie Cabada, Amanda Magdalena and Melina Leodas.

This conference was made possible through the generous support of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and with the help of the Tulane GSSA.

To view more pictures of the event, please visit the Stone Center’s Flickr page:
Day One
Day Two