Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

LASA 2010 Displays Academic Diversity of Tulane Faculty, Students

October 25th, 2010

By: Shearon Roberts

Photo: CIPR Executive Director Ludovico Feoli, Stephanie Stone Feoli and Xela Korda attend the Tulane Reception (Photo courtesy of Valerie McGinley Marshall)

With roughly 20 presentations and a well-attended Stone Center reception, Tulane faculty and graduate students actively engaged in the 2010 International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association in Toronto, Canada. The conference, held from October 6-9 at the Sheraton and Hilton Hotels in Toronto featured Tulane academic research that focused not only on the conference’s theme of Crisis, Response and Recovery, but on topics ranging from evolutions in Cuban cinema to generational impressions of tango.


Stone Center staff Denise Woltering and Executive Director Tom Reese with friend and colleague, Julie Kline of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Photo courtesy of Valerie McGinley-Marshall)

Research presented by Tulane faculty and students both underscored trends in Latin American studies globally, while others focused on far more niche research areas. The panel theme for Annabella España-Nájera, the Stone Center’s Zemurray-Stone post-doctoral fellow, was one that reflected the LASA conference theme of crisis, titled “Crisis and Governability in Central America.”

“We had quite a bit of overlap between the papers in the panel, which was great in terms of feedback,” said España-Nájera. The popularity of the topic helped create a good dialogue on her presentation, she said, which explored ideological differences between citizens and representatives in Central America and Panama. “We also had some interesting questions from people in the audience that gave us some ideas about where we could go forward with the paper.”

On the other hand, Daniel Sharp, Tulane Assistant Professor of Music, found himself in a more interdisciplinary panel discussion. His panel explored Brazilian cosmopolitanism as it played out in art, music and theater. Sharp’s research presented his reading of the song “I’m going to sack your market,” a dramatization of a hunger riot, based on a recent account of an event that occurred in the Pernambuco interior backlands. Sharp, an ethnomusicologist, said he benefited from the panel discussion which provided further insight for him on the literature of cosmopolitanism, culture and performance. Tulane Associate Professor of History, Justin Wolfe, served as the panel’s discussant, which brought an interdisciplinary approach to the session, Sharp said.

“Even more importantly than the direct comments on my own work, what ended up being very useful was to witness [Tulane’s] Edie Wolfe’s terrific, nuanced approach to studying cosmopolitanism in Brazilian artists’ depictions of Paris,” Sharp added. “Her presentation gave me an example of how I could hone my own work.”

The importance of presenting at LASA, Sharp said, was to take his research beyond the boundaries of his subfield of ethnomusicology. “For me, what is useful at LASA is to see connections between approaches within other disciplines, whether they be art history, history, anthropology, literary and cultural studies and theater,” Sharp said.

LASA 2010 was also useful in guiding Stone Center PhD candidate Xelaju Korda through her dissertation research findings. Her panel, “Ethnographic Approaches to Latin American Sexualities,” ideally focused on her study of prostitution and sex tourism in three Brazilian towns in the northeastern Ceará state in Brazil. Korda’s presentation on a sub-set of her subjects, that of bi-sexual and lesbian brothel/bar workers, explored how they shaped their identity in the face of familial and societal scorn.

“This was the first time I went [to LASA] since changing my dissertation topic so I don’t know because my previous focus was urban violence,” said Korda, whose father drove from Ann Arbor, Michigan to see her present. “There were several interesting panels I enjoyed related to my topic or to Brazil more generally.”

Many of those panels featured Tulane, attendees said. “I was constantly seeing Tulane faculty and graduate students throughout the conference,” Sharp said. “This sort of presence is very important, I think. Tulane is known as an important center of Latin American Studies. We are poised to sustain that reputation.”

To see a full list of Tulane participants at LASA, please visit: Tulane @ LASA 2010