Author Archives: Tanaka

Malls- Their growth in Latin America, and Decline in the North


This article in City Lab examines the explosion in the growth of Malls and their construction in the last decade. The writer begins by stating how 25 percent of the roughly 1,100 shopping malls still alive in the U.S. are projected to close by 2022.

Nolan writes,

“Developers haven’t built a new mall since 2006 (except for one in the bizarre land of Sarasota, Florida). “

Conversely, 100 new malls were built in Latin America in 2016 alone and, the largest mall in the western hemisphere is in Panama. Nolan describes this trend with an air of wistfulness for a time past.

Multiple anchors. Many different stores that attract customers and allow the businesses to benefit from each other’s presence by agglomeration. Beyond retail, Latin American malls often house other major employers, including call centers, healthcare facilities, and office space. The writer describes how he thinks malls as they exist in Latin America today, embody their original designer’s vision of them: mixed-use hubs rather than gigantic shopping hubs. He describes how these malls in Latin America are increasingly incorporating residential homes as well in apartments and condos. The writer argues that is this diversity of use that will allow malls in Latin America to outlive and out-function their North American counterparts.

While these malls in Latin America thrive on diversity and multipurpose usage, they also exist in much more specialized areas and for functions. Nolan describes how there are malls in some parts of Latin America such as Guatemala that exist specifically for dining and restaurants. He also explains how there are malls that exist specifically for interior design and how such malls, not meant for selling clothes, remain rare in the US, and Canada.

American malls are anchored by big chain stores, like Macy’s and J C Penney, and as these companies have gone out of business in recent years, they have dragged the malls built around them down with them. Nolan describes the cultural and social effects malls have had in America especially in the 80s and 90s, at their peak, and in Latin America now. Nolan examines how young people mill around malls and don the fashionable clothing brands and labels as a product of these malls, and how in the wake of stagnating incomes, and a reduction in wage increases, people have less and less disposable income and therefore less and less money to spend in shopping malls.

Nolan describes how the poor internet access and delivery services protect brick and mortar stores from the convenience and ubiquity of online shopping in Latin America. Whereas in North America, malls are doomed because of the ubiquity of the internet, in Latin America, malls remain thriving and abundant because internet access is much less ubiquitous there. It is interesting then that industrialists and capitalists identify this market opportunity and exploit the lack of internet rather than address it.  Nolan also cites the security of malls as compared to isolated stores as a reason why people migrate and become concentrated around them. Shoppers also prefer to do their shopping in a safe area. This has led to the rise of the shopping mall in Latin America.

Nolan describes how when we feel nostalgia for malls, maybe what we’re really feeling is nostalgia for a time when incomes were rising in North America, and the quality of life of average people was improving. Today, that’s what’s happening in much of Latin America. But as their mall era begins, and the American one fades, he encourages land developers and people in North America to find a more enduring model for the shopping mall.

I find it interesting how Nolan correlates economic phenomena like the growing middle class in Latin America with less economic phenomena like the activities of children and teenagers to paint  a vivid and relatable image of the shopping mall and the impact it has had on society and our daily lives.

Wikipedia Feedback

Learning points

The feedback I received on my wikipedia talk page was extremely helpful. My evaluators made recommendations that I make my intended changes and plans clear from the onset. Initially, I had gone straight into improving the article without setting out a plan for my improvements. I plan to lay out a plan first before making my improvements. I was also advised to give some background on the edits I intend to make, to give them more context.  I intend to do so, particularly with reference to the part of the wikipedia page that will explain immigration of people of German descent in South Africa, Namibia, and Rhodesia who emigrated to Latin America- specifically Brazil, and Paraguay. The challenge I expect to face is that some of this information may not be readily available in the public domain, and may require original research, which may be at loggerheads with Wikipedia policies.

I also received useful ideas for how to proceed with my research, specifically, evaluating the impact these immigrants had on the receiving communities. I feel this would be a very interesting area to examine as it may incidentally help me explain prevailing attitudes and sentiments around immigration around the world today.


I may consider exploring this as a research topic as a separate project later on as it may make the scope of my current project too wide to effectively accomplish. Another challenge I expect to face is that some of the information I may require for this project may not be readily available in the public domain, and may require original research, which may be at loggerheads with Wikipedia policies.


Thank you very much to Fish and CaraTop. Your advice was amazing, and you guys are the realest.

What is Rivera-Rideau’s argument about the evolution of Reggaeton?

Rivera-Rideau’s central argument in this chapter is that- reggaeton was a vehicle for the evolution of culture, behaviours, and the identity of Latin American artists and the portrayal of Latin American culture in the media since the Latin Boom of the 1990s until today. He argues that the racialisation of reggaeton led to the creation of a Latin American racial class between black and white on the racial spectrum with association common to both groups, but especially to black communities and hip hop.

Rivera explores Daddy Yankee’s original smash hit brought reggaeton to the United States despite his singing being in Spanish, he appealed widely to English audiences as well. Gasolina was about historic sound, self identity, otherness, race, and place. The US. media at the time ignored this history and the complex themes that reggaeton explored, increasingly labelling it as Puerto Rican, and then Latino. This emphasis on portraying Daddy Yankee as new, and only sparingly mentioning his already illustrious career in reggaeton in Puerto Rico fit well into the tendency of the US. record labels to present their Latino artists as “new discoveries.” These artists, Enrique Iglesias. Shakira, were presented in the Latin boom in stereotypical ways; hypersexual, “hot tamales” The media also emphasized these artist’s whiteness- a racialization of performers of Latino descent. This phenomenon created a racial niche in which Latinidad artists occupied between white and black- the Puerto Rican being closer to black than white, and other artists like Shakira and Ricky Martin, nearer to white on the racial spectrum and capable of being assimilated into whiteness, fit. In this way, music was used to create racial classes and divisions which it in turn reinforced. The artists that followed would try to fit into these stereotypical moulds. The media also reinforced distinctions between Latin American artists and African American artists and therefore widened the already existing divisions between Latin American communities and black Latin Americans whose authenticity of identity then became suspect.

The influence that the media and record labels had in the development of Latin American music, its racialization and therefore the racialization of its performers is undeniable and Rivera Rideu makes this clear when he describes the creation of the Hurbans largely through the development of Latinadad culture and music. He describes the impact companies seeking to segment their markets to more easily market their music to groups as a driver of the divisions between black and Latinadad groups.


In the formation of a Hurban group- Rivera notes the importance of music and commercial companies and record labels in developing our identities. The new Hurban group also references the importance of place in forming our identities. In this way, reggaeton shares linkages with black American identity in its roots in urban life. In both Puerto Rico, and the United States of America, the term urban carries with it implications of blackness. Scholars such as Robin D. Kelley and Murray Forema reference urban areas as being predominantly black spaces. This is especially evident in terms like “inner city,” which references urban black neighbourhoods. In this way, concepts of place and race play into each other inseparably. These generalizations simplify the complexity of black and Latinadad culture, perhaps again in a bid to simplify a single market for music record labels and corporate entities.


Rivera then links the association of place- “urbanness,” with gender-” masculinity,” by noting the relationship between perceptions of urbanness, with masculine black “thugs.” These traits make black and Latino groups counterculture to the white middle class majority. Scholars like Linda Chavez, then propose hypotheses that African Americans and Puerto Ricans are viewed as experiencing cultural poverty, and therefore beyond and without true need of intervention or assistance. Rivera notes how these observations ignore the racial, colonial, and exploitative roots of these problems  now explained away as being cultural. Rivera describes a shift in the cultural ownership of Hip Hop from being seen singularly black, to being both Latinadad and black-owned around the 1990s

Common links between Hip hop and reggaeton are further explored as describing their places of origin, describing the violence of urban centers, the partying, drug use, and emphasized sexuality. The media portrayed the inner cities this way, and the music produced describing them this way and all of this worked together to reinforce the already dominant narrative that hip hop and reggaeton were counterculture.


Gender hierarchies shaped the evolution of reggaeton in that reggaeton described the day to day life of Latinadad staying in urban centers where gender hierarchies were a part of everyday life, and the differences between gender were start and clear. Similarly, class hierarchies, and race influenced its evolution because as artists composed their music, they sought to tell the authentic story of the lives they lived and singing about race, gender and class all served to make these issues more public and mainstream. This all served to make reggaeton viewed as being contrary to general culture which was viewed as being more conservative and restrained.


Reggaeton is useful as a way to understand cultural exchanges in that it is a genre of music which has influenced and been influenced by a plethora of other music genres and the observation of how it has evolved and continues to evolve over time exhibits the same way in which cultures interact and creolize.


Rivera argues that reggaeton’s history has been influenced significantly by U.S. interpretations of it and the media and record companies have often portrayed it in ways, whether incidentally or intentionally, that polarized the groups that produced it and made them seem separate and distinct despite their common origins in many cases. He ends the chapter by exploring the possible futures that reggaeton and hip hop may have and their continued rise in popularity on global platforms like Youtube.

Noticias: Trump Lies as Global Warming’s Victims Die

Trump Lies as Global Warming’s Victims Die

 Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan write describing the impact Climate change is having on the world discussing the responsibility that lies with politicians and governments, and their lack of accountability.
They write this article discussing the role that politics and the media is playing in deterring climate action and awareness. The immediate bias that is evident in this article is that Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan write basing all of their first hand sources on people that support their argument. They neglect to examine the opposing argument, almost focusing entirely on arguing against the media and the news.
Also clear in this article is a heavy political sentiment in which they oppose and criticise President Donald Trump and the American response to hurricanes. They neglect to clearly make the connection between the disaster events taking place across the world, and the climate change phenomenon.
However, the writers also quote reputable scientists, and clearly state that the climate change has been made into a political one, rather than a scientific one. This lends some credence to their argument as it makes clear that even this article is something of a political debate.
Ultimately, the writers make it clear in their writing that the climate change phenomenon whether fact or fiction, will continue to cause dangerous climate phenomenon, citing the record hurricanes and storms the world has been experiencing in the past year.

The war against the liberalisation of gender and sexuality in Latin America

This article examines the importance of education in Latin America in eliminating social inequality and injustice. It is immediately fascinating that a publication coined, “The Economist” examines the issue of gender and sexuality in such depth and offers such insights and analysis on it- an issue normally thought purely social and a humanity. It immediately speaks to the relevance and impact of sexuality and gender on every other area of industry, commerce, science and the arts. Gender and sexuality are ubiquitous issues. This article demonstrates then that these issues and the problems around them are just as ubiquitous across the world. From Europe, to Brazil, Peru,  to Argentina. It argues that the solutions to these problems lies in making conversations as ubiquitous as the issues themselves.

The article begins by examining the battle for education in Latin America, and how as education policy is politicized across Latin America, the question of whether or not children in Latin America grow up with gender and sex education is an ongoing and urgent one. Referencing efforts to introduce a new curriculum more cognisant of gender roles and identity in Peru and the backlash that this effort has attracted in the conservative leaning groups in the region. This has not been an isolated incident.  The article immediately begins by outlining that girls and boys have the same right to education regardless of their genders and sexuality. The problem then is that these “assigned gender roles” result in girls dropping out of school. This poses one of the first clear problems identified by this article and the larger relevance of sexuality and gender in society.

Assigned gender roles can lead to girls dropping out of school.

Efforts like this campaign to educate children on sexuality and gender in a new curriculum have led to an acute backlash and conspiracies that the identity of the Latin American child is under threat from conservative and catholic and some protestant groups. Movements like the Con Mis Hijos No Te Metas (“don’t mess with my kids”) have been birthed in the wake of these upheavals.

This article points out general public and political statement is against conversation about gender identities and sexuality becoming mainstream. Protests by Con Mis Hijos No Te Metas led to the censuring of the Peruvian minister of education and the appointment of a more conservative leaning minister. Immediately, a problem is identifiable here:

Gender issues cannot be solved while they are not talked about.

The article then cites the opposition to the legalisation of gay marriage in Mexico last year, and the protests that followed  under the slogan of Con Mis Hijos No Se Metan (“no one messes with my kids”)- eerily similar to the Con Mis Hijos No Te Metas (“don’t mess with my kids”)  of Peru. Similar protests under similar banners took place in Europe for example in France and Poland.

It is clear then that the conservatives are united across geographical remoteness, and are coordinated in their opposition of gender related conversation and progressiveness. The article suggests a link between such attitudes and the church, and the overall opinion that women are inferior to men having led injustice and violence. Nevertheless, the writer admits that a lot of progress has been made in the last recent years.

Contraception is now widely used. Women have fewer children and a bigger say in the decision.In some countries, abortion has been legalised. Gay or lesbian marriage has been legalised too, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and some parts of Mexico. Female wages corresponding to males at the same levels in organisational hierarchies are nearing each other now, although differences still exist across many industries and countries.

However, gender related violence is worryingly high:

at least a third of Latin American women suffer domestic or sexual violence.

Women strike in Argentina after the brutal rape of a 16 year old girl.

Contraception is still very hard to access in many poor areas.

The article states that although progress continues to be made, the conservatives continue to dominate the conversation, and a more equal conversation needs to take place to alter education and eliminate the “subconscious prejudices”  that so lead to gender discrimination and violence.


Wikipedia post on African Immigration to Latin America

In light of the media coverage and news around Latin American immigration to the United States, and the treatment these immigrants have and continue to receive upon arrival in the United States, I decided to flip the table, and examine immigration into Latin America and the form it has taken over the years.

The article I found on Wikipedia was titled:

African immigration to Latin America

It examines the origins of the black populations in Latin America and traces them back to the immigrations of refugees from Angola and Mozambique particularly, during the Angolan and Mozambican Civil Wars. This article mentions too, the origins of white African immigrants from these same countries during the Portuguese Colonial War. The article makes a distinction between these refugees and Africans who were forcibly removed from their native countries and communities on the continent during the Atlantic Slave Trade. This is an important distinction which begs the ethical question: were the slaves immigrants? The simple answer is No. In reality, the issue may be more complicated.

The article also makes note of the fact that integration of these immigrant populations was easier because of an already pre-existing diaspora black population that had been formed through the slave trade. The wikipedia article further states that it was this, and Latin America’s general open attitude towards immigrants that lent it as a prime destination, in the face of Europe and the rest of the world closing its borders.

The article cites a Reuters article that describes increasing African immigration to Latin America. Content gaps I immediately identify in parsing this article are that it does not offer reputable citations for its statistics of African immigrants to Argentina, Brazil, and Puerto Rico numbering in the 2000s.


Additionally, it does not make a distinct transition from the historical view, to the modern trends of the last century. In one breath, the author transitions from discussing post- slave trade immigration to discussing immigration in the 21st century. For both of these periods, statistics and citations are absent. A more detailed breakdown for immigration for the region and countries in it would benefit this article as well.

There has been only one modification made to the article and the Talkpage has had no discussions on it in the last year. This is indicative of the sparse contributions and revisions made to the article.

The Ways and Means of Activist Art, from Latin America to LA


Alfadir Luna, “El Señor del Maíz” (2012), Chromogenic print, from the exhibition Talking to Action: Art Pedagogy, and Activism in the Americas at Otis College of Art and Design, Ben Maltz Gallery (photo by Anayatzin Ortiz. Colección Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey)


The article: The Ways and Means of Activist Art, from Latin America to LA examines the different ways in which art has been used by the people of Latin America in activism. While the writer does not explicitly describe the various ways, rather, adopting a sweeping, summarizing view of activism through art, his use of pictures and links to other websites and articles showing the same information serves to emphasize the relevance and presence of this activism through art.

 His description of universities’ and educational institutions’ involvement in activism serves to qualify this as a genuine, notable, even scholarly phenomenon. His initial description of Latin American heritage as being marked by “periods of colonialism followed by independence, utopian idealism, and in many cases, oppression, corruption, and inequality.” serves to tell the story of how Latin America came to be what it is today. Saying this, he continues to describe how at every stage, oppression and corruption has been met by resistance and protest by the people of Latin America. In saying this, the writer references the courage, justice, and sense of responsibility in the people of Latin America and their dynamic identities.
The writer references many different countries with specific examples of the nature of activism expressed through art there:

SEFT-1 in Mexico

– a quirky, futuristic vehicle that travels along Mexico’s system of dilapidated railways, exploring the nation and its ideas about progress along the way;

Frente 3 de Fevereiro in Sao Paolo

-collective that investigates the military oppression of Afro communities in Medellín, Rio de Janeiro, and Haiti

In promoting educational institutions’ conversations around Latin American issues and identity, the author helps to encourage dialogue around Latin America and conversations about it around the world.



Research Interests- The Columbian Exchange, and The History of Gods and Colonization- in Latin America

The History of gods in Latin America and their impact on the Spanish colonial machine.

I have possible interests in conducting research on the topic of the evolution of religion in Latin America. I would specifically want to explore the history of deities worshipped before colonisation of latin America took place: the origin stories of the Native Americans, their gods and deities. I would like to then superimpose these stories in order to better understand how the native Americans must have interpreted their first interactions with the Spanish and other colonial powers. Which of their deities did they identify them as? Why? Was it how they dressed? I would like to then briefly analyse how these beliefs must have evolved as the Native American interactions with the colonial powers progressed. Did they adopt the new gods the French brought with them across the ocean? How readily? What happened to their own gods and beliefs? Did a fusion of cultures take place? A “creolization” of religious beliefs and cultures where the traits of their different religions and gods fused and formed a new god. These are the questions I would like to explore in my research.

Specific information on the origins of the deities in existence in Latin America exists but is limited on Wikipedia. This article for example on the deity Abira has only one line that does very little to explain the Native American people’s attitudes and beliefs in Abira. Credo has articles around the deities in general, but none on the deity Abira- “the creator God of the people of Colombia”- Wikipedia.

Diseases for Resources- an analysis of the true nature of colonial trade in Latin America

A second topic I would very interested in exploring is the health repercussions the Native American society’s interactions with Europeans had on their populations. I would like to explore the death tolls from the various diseases that overtook these communities that had not up until interacted with dysentery and the myriad diseases the Spanish brought with them from Spanish cities. I would like to explore what impact this unprecedented biological pathogenic explosion must have had on the Spanish colonial machine. How much more effective was the Spanish conquest because of the emergence of disease as a factor in the colonisation of Latin America? Was it intentional? What was the impact on the genetic diversity of the population? What was the impact on their culture and their ability to resist colonisation? I would like to explore these questions in my research.

Wikipedia has information on this as do many other scholarly sources in what they term “The Columbian Exchange” It has been classified as a Level 4 vital article of importance on Wikipedia, and rated as a C-class article. There has been little activity on the topic’s talk page with the most recent activity being from 2009. On Credo, this topic has multiple articles and sources on it, however a distinct analysis of the impact of these diseases on the colonisation process seems missing. Perhaps this is because of lack of accurate record keeping in the period this phenomenon transpired. Notwithstanding, an impact analysis seems lacking and this remains a possible research topic of great interest.

What is at stake for Latin America in 2017?

The Guardian, by Naomi Larson Tuesday 7 February 2017 11.06 EST Last modified on Tuesday 27 June 2017 08.41 EDT

Naomi Larson examines the issues that will be most important on the Latin American agenda.

A thousand swimming pools VS Acute water shortages and poor sanitation.

First, Naomi Larson examines the importance of inequality and the important impact it shall have Latin American economies and the future of the region. She notes how Latin America has some of the richest people in the world.[1] In spite of this, the region’s healthcare, education system, public and social services do not reflect this. She explains how an unwillingness to pay taxes by billionaires and high income individuals of the region, to fund this reform can be attributed as the reason why there has been no notable improvement in the state of living of the average person. She recognises the faults of such an enterprise, and why it may not appeal to everyone, but that it still has enough merit, and “proof of work” to deserve some consideration at the very least.

Next, she examines the importance of more inclusive policies and attitudes about women participation and gender equality. Quoting Camila Bustos, she explains how many parts of Latin America especially in the rural areas can still do a lot to increase participation of women in the economy, and in government. Her logic is painfully obvious:

We need more women to work!

In 2015, 49.55of the global population were women. 81 countries had a majority of women36 countries had a majority of men75 were within 0.5% of gender parity.

Women as a fraction of the population 2015

Women as a fraction of the population 2015

A beautiful infographic on Quartz shows the state of gender distribution around the world. Alarmingly, and appropriately, the story is entitled:

Men on earth now outnumber women by 66 million

Most of Latin America has more women than men. It seems logical that for an economy to at least function, you cannot disallow 50% of the productive population from being productive. Women have to be allowed to take a more active role in society, the economy, and government.

Naomi Larson goes on to explain the necessity and importance of peace and stability in the region. She explains how peace in Colombia is so important, and dependent in many ways on government financing. Her argument insinuates too, the importance of accountability in this financing, and the threat and risk of corruption, illicit trades in drugs and weapons. Worryingly, even here, in matters of peace and security, inequality is painfully evident. Naomi Larson explains how the poor people are especially vulnerable that most Latin American countries share: crime trends worryingly point to a trend of 35 murders per 100 000 people.  Here ago, corruption, and illicit trades such as drugs and weapons make a bold reappearance of causes of such high rates of violence. It is also interesting to note how deforestation and so many of the problems she cites are directly tied to the environment. Can a society prosper in a damaged environment?

This article further examines the impacts of foreign powers policies in what demonstrates how truly “globalized” today’s world is. Here, the article explores the outlook of Latin America with a thematic focus on the effects of the mass deportations looming over the region due to policies touted by the United States’ President Trump. As a developing region, this sudden influx of people may have dire effects on unemployment rates, crime, and population pressure on infrastructure and natural resources. Again, the region has a marked vulnerability to climate change and weather hazards and these issues will be extremely important items on the regional agenda.

Naomi Larsson dissects the important issues on the Latin American agenda and poses possible ways to tackle them. She examines seemingly disparate phenomena and ties them together with the recurring themes of globalisation, our shared planetary environment which distributes the effects of climate change and other dangers to peace and stability. In many ways, the important issues facing Latin America are common to most other regions of the world and this article makes a convincing argument towards that. None of the challenges the world faces this year are insurmountable, and as Naomi Larsson writes,

Stronger, but more meaningful, regional integration is one of the best responses to Trump’s threat” and to other problems at this moment in human history.

[Souce] The Guardian: Tuesday 7 February 2017 11.06 EST ,

“As they travelled, the castaways continued to burnish their reputation as healers.”

Andre Resendes in “Following the Corn Trail,” describes Cabeza de Vaca, Castillo, Dorantes, and Estebenico’s journey across the continent and their interactions with the many native peoples they meet. The focus of Resendes’ narration is on the peaceful and now respectful if not revered interactions that now take place between the four survivors and the native populations. Resendes attributes this new reverence the natives show towards the group of survivors to their adopting this new “healer” persona. Resendes stating that, “As they travelled, the castaways continued to burnish their reputation as healers.” explains that Cabeza de Vaca and his party continued to call themselves healers as they interacted with various native communities. This is significant because the natives in turn accorded Resendes and his group great respect, and accompanied them safely on their journey, from one settlement to another, gifting them with offerings, and gathering food and supplies for them. Without this guidance and assistance, Cabeza de Vaca and his party might never have survived this journey.

Cabeza de Vaca leverages his surgical knowledge from Spain and Resendes makes reference to an account given when Cabeza healed a man who had been pierced by an arrow. Cabeza then made an incision, before removing the arrowhead and helping the man to recover. Acts like these earned his party great respect from all the native American tribes. Without this respect, they might have been assaulted or treated with hostility. The loyalty, attention and praise they garner as they seem to pray for people and treat illness earn them great respect and almost turn them into an incredible community shared and traded by many different native communities. The leaders of these native communities according to Resendes propagate tales of the feats and acts performed by Cabeza and his group and this only further spurns the groups notoriety and popularity. This is epitomised by the willingness of entire groups to forego food until it is offered and given by the four survivors now, “healers.”


Cabeza and his group are touted as healers, and “Children of the sun,” incarnations of divinity who give and take blessings at will. Through their advertised “power,” they create a new kind of raiding culture where one native community raids the next, as an offering before passing them on. This new raiding culture although exploiting the native people, enables Cabeza and his group to continue on their group, and so they act oblivious to it, and benefit by it. As the Indians began to fall ill, the explorers, now healers seemed to fall prey to their own deceptions, and began to believe they really could call upon the power of God. The Indians in a very real sense became enslaved to the four healers, in a way that seemed to fulfill life coming full circle.


Ultimately, it was this brandishing of their “healers,” title that enabled them safe passage in their travels, and although the action negligible in its morality, Cabeza de Vaca and the three other survivors manage to interact with the Indians amicably as a result of their commitment to this acquired title.