Watch Nicaraguan priest, poet, and activist Ernesto Cardenal’s talk “Politics, Poetry, and the First Latin American Pope” at the John Seigenthaler First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.


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Watch Shooting for Survival in the Amazon: Teacher Workshop

Anthropologist Glenn Shepard will present on the culture of the Kayapó people, their place within the contemporary social and political landscape of Brazil, and discuss their rain forest conservation efforts. Krakrax Kayapó and Benupu Kayapó will also show excerpts of their films about Kayapó culture.

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Watch “Shooting for Survival in the Amazon.” In this podcast, two generations of Kayapo filmmakers present clips from their work. Commentary by Kamiete Metuktire, Bepunu Kayapo, Krakrax Kayapo, Terence Turner, Richard Pace, and Glenn Shepard.


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In her keynote address, entitled “Indigenous Media from U-Matic to You Tube: Media Sovereignty in a Digital Age”, Dr. Faye Ginsberg discussed how indigenous engagement with media has changed over time and discussed the problems that indigenous filmmakers face, including issues with funding, archiving and distributions.


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Quality and Inequality: A panel discussion about current trends in specialty coffee research.


Watch the puppet show “The Amazing Twins: Ancient Maya Tales from the Popol Wuj”, created by CLAS and the Nashville Public Library. The Popol Wuj is one of the most important indigenous texts of the New World. Written in the Western Highlands of Guatemala around 1550, and translated into Spanish in the 18th century by the Friar Francisco Jimenez, it is a collection of myths, legends, and histories written by the K’iche’ Maya, who dominated the Western Highlands at the time of the Spanish conquest.


During Brazil Week 2013, Vanderbilt students and professors participated on the Panel: “Vem Pra Rua! Understanding the Recent Protests in Brazil”.


In May 2013, CLAS and Music City Baroque presented Hacemos Fiesta/ Let’s Celebrate: Baroque Music from the New World. The performance featured a variety of works, including choral, instrumental, sacred and secular.



Watch video of Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, and Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico who has served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and as secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, speaking at the 2012 Impact Symposium on March 21. The discussion was moderated by Vanderbilt sociologist Katharine Donato.This year’s Impact theme is “Rise of the Rest: What is the Future of American Foreign Policy?”

This seminar, taught by Mareike Sattler and Avery Dickins de Giron in Spring 2012,  introduced students to Maya culture from ancient to modern times. Maya people and culture have been featured prominently in popular culture over the last few years, and especially now, as the media have played up ancient Maya prophecies that supposedly predict an apocalyptic end of the world in December 2012. What exactly did the Ancient Maya say about this event? How do modern Maya live today? .

The Center for Latin American Studies brought Professor María Elisa Velázquez Gutiérrez to campus as a visiting resource professor in the spring of  2012. Professor Velázquez gave a talk entitled “Africans and Afrodescendant women in Mexico City during Colonial Times: Social Relationships and Cultural Reproduction” for the Black Atlantic History Seminar. To read more about the work of Professor Velázquez please click here.

In October 2011, CLAS Visiting Resource Professor Afro-Cuban artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons participated in a discussion entitled “Exile, Memory and Identity: A Conversation on Race in Cuba.” This conversation included panelists Jane Landers of the Department of History, Vivien Fryd of the Department of the History of Art, and William Luis of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Antanas Mockus, a former mayor of Bogotá who recently ran as the Colombian Green Party presidential candidate, spoke at Vanderbilt University on April 26, 2011. While on campus, Mockus met with faculty and participated in a working group involving Nashvillians who work on urban transportation and planning issues.Mockus was born in Bogotá and received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France. He then earned a master’s in philosophy from Bogotá’s Universidad Nacional, where he served as president from 1991 to 1993. Mockus developed a reputation as a progressive leader in his two terms as mayor of Bogotá.

Gustavo Gutiérrez, author of A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation and other ground-breaking works on issues of spirituality and Latin American history, spoke on the Vanderbilt University campus November 8, 2010. Gutiérrez’s address, “Liberation Theology: 40 Years Later,” was sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, which jhosted a series of events in 2010-11 to examine the impact of liberation theology on Latin American society and politics.

The Guatemalan ambassador to the United States, Francisco Villagrán de León, spoke at the First Amendment Center on the subject of “Challenges to Development in Guatemala.” Villagrán de León is a career diplomat with more than 25 years in the Guatemalan foreign service. The lecture was the keynote address of the workshop on integrating new models of health care delivery and economic development based on lessons learned from Guatemala through collaborative projects among CLAS, the Shalom Foundation, and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.

Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos. In 2000 Lagos was elected the first socialist president of Chile since Allende was overthrown. Despite high unemployment and tensions with other South American nations regarding access to energy resources, Lagos enjoyed widespread popular support with approval ratings over 70 percent when his term ended. In 2007 he was appointed to his current position as the United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change. Lagos earned a law degree from the University of Chile and a doctorate in economics from Duke University. During the 1980s he returned to Chile and founded the Party for Democracy, which gained power through its “NO” campaign against the Pinochet legacy. During his time as minister of education, Lagos introduced a major policy to decentralize Chile’s education system. Later, as minister of public works, he engineered a unique and successful plan to revamp Chile’s road system.

“Immigration in a Time of Economic Crisis: Downturns and Returns in US/Mexico Relations.” The Vanderbilt Center for Latin American Studies, ConexiónAméricas and the Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute presented this roundtable discussion of the effects of recent economic downturn on Mexican immigration to the U.S. The panel brought together leading experts to analyze the interrelation of immigration, economic crisis, and increased border security—and what this means for Mexico as well as the United States. The discussion featured Jorge Durand, a leading expert on Mexican immigration issues, a CLAS Visiting Resource Professor, and the author of “Crossing The Border: Research From The Mexican Migration Project”. Other panelists included David R. Ayón (Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute); Katharine Donato (Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt); Renata Soto (ConexiónAméricas); Moderator: Gary Gerstle (Department of History, Vanderbilt).

Indian rights advocate Rigoberta Menchú. In Her 1983 autobiography, Rigoberta Menchú chronicles the oppression suffered by the indigenous people of her country at the hands of elite landowners and a right-wing military regime. Her book drew international attention to the atrocities of the Guatemalan army, became a staple on many college campuses and propelled Menchú to the Nobel Prize in 1992. Menchú was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and ran for president of Guatemala in September of 2007, the first indigenous candidate in the country’s history.

Former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso. He is a renowned sociologist who served as Brazil’s president from 1995 to 2003. He examined the challenges that face Latin American democracies today, such as the rise of populism, effects of globalization and the emergence of a new left. Cardoso, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, received his doctorate in political science from the University of Sao Paulo.

Jesús Martín-Barbero. He is considered one of the most distinguished scholars of communication in Latin America. He represents a tradition of discourse in communication and culture that challenges dominant thinking and paradigms. Jesús Martín-Barbero has articulated some of the key issues in Latin American communications thinking, placing communication and culture as essential pillars in any approach to change in Colombia and the region.

Dr. Tiffiny A. Tung. Dr. Tung is a bioarchaeologist who examines mummies and skeletons from archaeological contexts to evaluate the health and disease status of ancient populations from the Peruvian Andes. Her research interests include skeletal biology, paleopathology, and violence-related trauma, particularly as they relate to elucidating the impact of imperialism on community health and individual lifeways. Her current research in the Peruvian Andes examines how Wari imperial structures (AD 600 – 1000)

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