Mexican Studies Group


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In Fall 2013, Helena Simonett (CLAS) organized a brown bag lunch talk with Arturo Santamaría Gómez (Professor of Sociology, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Mazatlán) on soccer and Mexican neo-national identity, titled “Futbol y patria: La nueva identidad mexicana,” and a panel by Marian Mendoza Gómez (Universidad Veracruzana) and Paulo Martínez (Vanderbilt University) on Mexico’s recent educational reform and ensuing nationwide protest and brutal governmental response: “La encrucijada de la Reforma Educativa en México: Una mirada interdisciplinar a la crisis social y política.”

The Mexican Studies Group, co-sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and CLAS, brings together faculty and graduate students from history, political science, literature, sociology, art, anthropology, music, pedagogy, and Latin American Studies. For spring 2014 semester events, please contact co-organizer Edward Wright-Rios (History).

Brazilian Studies Reading Group


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The Brazilian Studies Reading Group welcomed various scholars this past fall to share their research with students and faculty. During Brazil Week, CLAS co-sponsored a discussion with Bianca Freire-Medeiros (Sociology, Center for Research and Documentation on Brazilian Contemporary History [CPDOC] at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio) based on a chapter entitled “Tourism in ‘the largest favela in Latin America'” from her new book, Touring Poverty (Routledge, 2012). In October, Mario Ramiro (Visual Arts, University of São Paulo, Brazil) presented a history of sound urban intervention and discussed his artistic involvement in the CLAS co-sponsored Vanderbilt/USP collaboration, “Boom Box Bikes.” Additional talks were also given by Vera Lucia da Silva (Ph.D. candidate, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina) and Courtney Campbell (Ph.D. candidate, History).

The Brazilian Studies Reading Group is a seminar led by graduate students and sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center, which provides a forum for the discussion of contemporary Brazilian topics. Each semester, the group facilitates interdisciplinary dialogues with pre-circulated readings, discusses works-in-progress by graduate students and faculty, and invites recognized scholars to present new work. Seminar coordinators are Ashley Larson (Latin American Studies), Max Pendergraph (History), and Guilherme Russo (Political Science).

CLAS Summer Awards Programs

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships

The Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University receives funding from the Department of Education to support Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) awards for intensive studies of Portuguese or indigenous Latin American languages. Fellowships provide tuition expenses for the study of Portuguese, Kˈicheˈ Mayan, Quechua, or another indigenous language (up to $5,000) and a stipend of $2,500. Any graduate or undergraduate student with Luso-Brazilian or indigenous language-related interests and who is a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident is eligible to apply.

Latin American Studies Field Research Grants
Awards are for approximately $2,000 each and are intended primarily to support travel expenses related to field research for individuals conducting pre-dissertation research in Latin America during the summer of 2014. Any Vanderbilt graduate student in the College of Arts and Science with Latin American-related interests is eligible to apply, although preference will be given to doctoral students. The award is not intended for advanced dissertation research, but rather to support initial hands-on field research and the development of independent research projects.

Simon Collier Travel Award
A historian of Chile with an expertise in Argentine tango, Simon Collier served as a former director of Vanderbilt CLAS and was chair of the Department of History. Simon Collier Travel Awards preferentially fund student research in Chile and Argentina; awards may also be given for projects on cultural arts and research elsewhere in Latin America. Ranging from $500 to $2,000, these awards are available to both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Vanderbilt University.

Applications are due February 5, 2014, and will be announced in late February. For more information and to download applications, go to vanderbilt.edu/clas/funding-opportunities/student-summer-awards.

For further information, please e-mail the associate director (helena.simonett@vanderbilt.edu) or the administrative assistant (alma.paz-sanmiguel@vanderbilt.edu), call (615) 322-2527, or visit the CLAS office at 230 Buttrick Hall.

Mayan Language Institute: K’iche’ and Kaqchikel Mayan Language and Culture Antigua, Guatemala • June 14–July 27, 2014

The Mayan Language Institute is an intensive, FLAS-eligible, six-week summer immersion language program in Guatemala for the study of K’iche’ Mayan or Kaqchikel Mayan. Students study with both U.S. faculty and native speakers and participate in cultural activities, lectures, discussions, and excursions. Mareike Sattler, who leads Vanderbilt’s academic-year K’iche’ Mayan program will help led the institute.

With more than 1.5 million K’iche’ and Kaqchikel speakers in Guatemala, the goal of the institute is to help students develop and advance proficiency in their chosen language and to gain a better understanding of the cultural and political contexts that have affected the historical development and preservation of the language. Efforts to protect these languages are playing a pivotal role in the Maya struggle to regain control over their political and cultural destiny.

Students pursuing K’iche’ Mayan will spend three weeks in Antigua and three weeks in Nahualá. Students pursuing Kaqchikel Mayan will spend their six weeks in Antigua. All students will be placed with local families for homestays.

The Mayan Language Institute is a partnership with Vanderbilt’s CLAS, Tulane University, University of New Mexico, University of Texas, and University of Chicago. For more information and to apply, go to stonecenter.tulane.edu/pages/detail/320/Mayan-Language-Institute-in-Guatemala.

Portuguese Language and Brazilian Culture Summer Program in São Paulo June 22–August 1, 2014

This intensive, academic program is organized by Tulane, Vanderbilt, and Emory universities with the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). The program is open to both graduates and undergraduates and is eligible for students with summer FLAS fellowships. Students take a Portuguese language course (two levels are offered) taught by PUC-SP faculty and a Brazilian culture course taught by faculty from one of the partner universities; in 2014, Rebecca Atencio from Tulane will direct the program.

Most students stay with host families in São Paulo for a total Portuguese immersion experience. São Paulo, the largest metropolis in South America, is an exciting center for fine arts, theater, music, and cultural life. This city is a medley of Brazilians from the country’s 26 states and from multiple ethnic groups, which makes for an exciting mix of traditions and fabulous food on every street. 2014 will be an especially exciting year with the World Cup beginning June 12.

For more information and to apply, go to stonecenter.tulane.edu/pages/detail/315/Summer-in-Brazil.

Spring Break Service Projects in Latin America

Vanderbilt’s spring break volunteer programs to Latin America shattered records last spring with nearly 200 students traveling to the region. The trend continues for spring 2014, with interest in these programs growing steadily. Given the variety of both program description and location, it is not surprising that the programs are attracting more and more students each year. Manna Project alone has 12 spring break trips planned to locations throughout the region, including Guatemala, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and Belize. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Manna Project, a student-led service organization that has gained international recognition for its impact on universities at home and communities abroad. As a brainchild of former Vanderbilt Alternative Spring Break participants, Manna is a testament to the compassion, collaboration, and potential that characterize such excursions.

Alternative Spring Break continues its incredible service with trips this year to the border of Mexico and Nicaragua, and Project Pyramid boasts sites in both Haiti (The Haiti Outreach Project) and Guatemala (Nutri +). Project Pyramid exemplifies the interdisciplinary cooperation that CLAS works to foster across the university. Project Pyramid’s overarching goal is to alleviate poverty through three pillars of sustained partnerships, education, and responsive action by bringing together Vanderbilt graduate, professional, and undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines.

Study Abroad Programs to Latin America

Vanderbilt offers a number of programs for undergraduate students to study abroad in Latin America through both semester and summer programs. The Global Education Office (GEO) administers programs to Argentina (Buenos Aires), Chile (Santiago and Valparaiso), Dominican Republic (Santiago), and Brazil (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro); recently added programs in Fortaleza, Brazil, and in Chile offer research-oriented experiences.

Summer programs to Latin America include the Vanderbilt Initiative in Scholarship and Global Education (VISAGE) to Guatemala and Costa Rica, a new Costa Rica course, and occasional Maymesters. 2014 Maymesters give students the opportunity to study in Brazil or Peru through Spanish 204: “Cultural Studies in the Andes (Cuzco, Machu Piccu, and Lima)” or Earth and Environmental Studies 210: “From Volcanoes to Rainforest: Geology and Ecology in Southern Brazil.” Each year, CLAS also offers Portuguese language study in Brazil through the Portuguese Language and Brazilian Culture Summer Program in São Paulo, and the study of K’iche’ Mayan in Guatemala through our Mayan Language Institute.

Boom Box Bikes: A Collaborative, Urban Sound Intervention

In October, CLAS was co-sponsor of “Boom Box Bikes,” a unique collaborative public performance that culminated with a workshop and art intervention, a form of artistic expression where the public is confronted with art in everyday environments, rather than having art contained within a sanctioned space.

Professors Mark Hosford (Department of Art-Vanderbilt) and Mario Ramiro (Department of Visual Art and Communications-University of São Paulo) led students from various disciplines in group workshops creating the uniquely designed mobile stations. After completion, students rode through campus and various locations in Nashville with the bikes, having been transformed into mobile sound systems that became a moving mixing board.

Faculty and students created, sampled, mixed, and produced music and sounds in order to have a collaborative effect between each bicycle as they rode together and fanned apart. Sounds ranged from a recording session with the Vanderbilt VORTEX percussion ensemble , traditional rock and electronic music, to native bird recordings from Brazil.

The interdisciplinary project was part of a larger collaborative platform Conversations/Conversas, an initiative by Vanderbilt’s Department of Art and the School of Visual Art and Communications at University of São Paulo, which creates artistic connections between Nashville and São Paulo, Brazil. The goal of the project is to reflect on the legacy of modernist architecture, the future of urban imagination, and sustainability.

 

K-12 OUTREACH

In fall 2013, CLAS Outreach impacted over 35,000 with programming, including K–12 teacher workshops, educator conferences, curriculum, classroom speakers, films, and cultural events.

K–12 teachers took weekly Portuguese classes led by graduate student Steve Wenz (Spanish and Portuguese) that included teletandem sessions with teachers in Brazil. Several presented at the regional World Language Conference on ways to explore the language and culture of Brazil in the K–12 classroom; presentations at regional and national conferences will follow.

CLAS and Tulane again co-coordinated the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the Library of Congress in September 2013. Over 40 D.C. area teachers attended this year’s teacher workshop, which focused on ways to include Latin American and Latino children’s literature into the K–12 classroom.

CLAS and Glendale Spanish Immersion Elementary School offered a workshop on strategies for K–8 language teachers.

Partnering with the Nashville Public Library, CLAS premiered the marionette performance The Amazing Twins: Ancient Maya Tales from the Popol Wuj, created interdisciplinary curriculum for distribution to teachers, and organized educational sessions at Wright Middle School.

CLAS had major impact on Cheekwood’s Día de los Muertos festival, organizing educator workshops and new educational activities, such as the showing of the Pupol Wuj marionette show, for the annual celebration.

CLAS and Center for Second Language Studies Represent Vanderbilt at TFLTA Fall Conference

Vanderbilt was well represented at the TFLTA (Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association Conference) held in Nashville in November 2013. CLAS K–12 educators who attended the summer 2013 Portuguese Institute at University of Georgia-Athens led a session entitled “Exploring Portuguese with Your Spanish Class,” where they shared hands-on ideas with their colleagues about how to incorporate Portuguese language learning and the study of Brazil into their classes.

Connie Sharp, librarian at Jones Paideia Magnet School, and Claire González, assistant director for outreach at CLAS, led a session entitled “Teaching the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature,” highlighting recent award-winning books and strategies for incorporating them into the K­–12 classroom. The Américas Award was founded in 1993 to commend authors, illustrators, and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that authentically portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the U.S. and to provide teachers with recommendations for classroom use. Virginia Scott, director for the Center for Second Language Studies, delivered the conference’s keynote speech, “Say it Forward.”