Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Edesio Fernandes Presents on Informal Urban Land Development

February 28th, 2013

On February 25, 2013, Tulane's Center for Inter-American Policy welcomed Edésio Fernandes to discuss urban land development, particularly the issue of informal settlement on land in urban areas. Fernandes opened his lecture by identifying informal urban settlement as a phenomenon that is international in scope and one of considerable longevity in the urban history of Latin America. He gave the example of Brazilian favelas, the large, informal shantytowns that have been in existence for more than 100 years in Brazil, as well as Peruvian laws dating back to 1961 that attempted to redress the problem of informal urban settlement in Peruvian cities. However, while Fernandes explained that informal urban settlement is not a new phenomenon, he underscored how the scale of these settlements has increased considerably since the 1980s, which adds a greater degree of urgency in formulating a resolution to the issue.

Fernandes provided impressive statistics conveying the drastic extent to which the world, and Latin America in particular, is becoming more urban by the day. Currently, more than 50 percent of the global population resides in urban areas, while in Latin America, around 80 percent of the region's population is now urban. A total of 1.5 billion people currently reside in informal settlements in these urban areas, which has led Fernandes to broadly classify contemporary urban land development as a process of informal land development in urban areas. Some consider informal settlement as a positive occurrence rather than a problem because it is often the only available avenue through which impoverished individuals and families can access housing in urban areas. However, Fernandez argues that in the long-term, informal settlement presents grave problems for its residents, problems that include lack of secure tenure and heightened vulnerability to unforeseen evictions due to the absence of a formal regulatory framework; increased vulnerability to political patronization; excessive population density and a lack of sanitation; increased fire hazards due to overcrowding and structural instability; and more devastating consequences from landslides and earthquakes due to the structural precariousness of many of the buildings of these informal settlements.

Considering the recent explosion of informal urban settlement and its negative consequences, Fernandes offered a critique of past and current attempts to remedy the problem. While in the past, many policymakers have turned towards regularization of informal settlement as a solution, Fernandes considers this remedy to be somewhat myopic in its approach because, in his words, it legalizes the illegal without closely examining the motivation behind bypassing legality in the first place. Until now, regularization has not been accompanied by preventative policy, the formulation of which would entail the close analysis of how the structural lack of sufficient, affordable, accessible and adequate land and services in urban spaces fuels the cycle of informal settlement. Until such issues are acknowledged and adequately redressed, Fernandes argues that regularization will prove futile as a preventative approach in and of itself because structural inequalities and lack of access to services and land will continue to encourage the bypassing of the legal, formal system of land tenure. Fernandes closed his lecture by reiterating that for regularization to be a sustainable solution, policymakers must develop a more consistent approach to social obligation with explicit acknowledgement of the lack of access to land and services in urban areas that fuels the ultimately problematic cycle of informal urban settlement.

-Hannagan Johnson

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Exploring Immigration and Identity in the K-12 Classroom with Américas Award Books

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Américas Award K-12 Workshop

In celebration of the 2014 Américas Award, CLASP and Teaching for Change are hosting a K-12 teacher workshop “Exploring Immigration and Identity in the K-12 Classroom with Américas Award Books.”

This hands-on workshop will explore issues of immigration and identity using children's literature. The workshop will feature the work of this year's Honorable Mention book, Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh and Commended Title Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina. Both authors will be in attendance to work with teachers on activities and strategies to best engage young readers with the complexity of immigration as it relates to family, education, and identity. Teaching for Change will highlight additional resources to incorporate teaching Social Justice and Human Rights.

All participants will receive breakfast, teaching resources, and a book (a choice of one of the two featured titles, please indicate whether you’d prefer the picture book Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote or the Young Adult title, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass). Participants are also invited to attend the Américas Award Ceremony to be held at the Library of Congress from 3:00 – 5:00 PM. Also, a month-long exhibit of the original artwork from Parrots Over Puerto Rico will be on display at the Young Readers Center in The Library of Congress.

For a workshop schedule and to access resources from the workshop, please visit the workshop website.

The Américas Award is sponsored by CLASP and coordinated by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University. Additional funding is provided by Florida International University, Stanford University, The Ohio State University, University of New Mexico, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Vanderbilt University.

For more information contact Denise Woltering (dwolteri@tulane.edu) (504.865.5164)

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Geometry, gigantism, and lacquerware, or, the origins of social hierarchy

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The Tulane Anthropology Student Association (TASA) presents a talk by Dr. William Balée, Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University. The talk is entitled: “Geometry, gigantism, and lacquerware, or, the origins of social hierarchy.”

A reception will follow.

For more information contact TASA (tulaneasa@gmail.com)

MARI Brown Bag: Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown "Maya Boomtown Archaeology? Recent and Future Investigations at Alabama, Belize"

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Dr. Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown, a visiting scholar at MARI, will present new information about her research at the site of Alabama in southern Belize in a talk entitled “Maya Boomtown Archaeology? Recent and Future Investigations at Alabama, Belize”

M.A.R.I.‘s Brown Bag talk series is meant to provide a venue for students and faculty focusing on topics related to Mesoamerica to discuss their latest research in an informal and friendly setting. If you are interested in presenting, please email Marcello Canuto (mcanuto@tulane.edu) for more information. For the current speaker list of this talk series, please click here.

Please remember to bring your lunch!

Day of the Dead and the Arts: A Workshop for K-12 Art Educators

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art are sponsoring a K-12 teacher workshop to celebrate Day of the Dead!

The workshop will focus on how to provide students with information about Day of the Dead, Day of the Dead traditions, and celebrating Day of the Dead in the classroom. The workshop will involve hands-on activities, including activities which will translate into the classroom!

All participants will receive light refreshments and teaching materials. One teacher will have the opportunity to use a Day of the Dead altar kit, provided by the Latin American Resource Center. The kit has everything you need to celebrate Day of the Dead in your classroom!

Tentative Schedule:
5:30 – 5:45 PM
Introductory Remarks (Denise Woltering-Vargas, Tulane University; Ellen Balkin, Ogden Museum)

5:45 – 6: 30 PM
Altar Viewing and Discussion (Cynthia Ramirez, Southern University of New Orleans)

6:30 – 7:15 PM
Day of the Dead in the Artist’s Classroom (Denise Tullier-Holly, Southeastern University Lab School)

7:15 – 7:30 PM
Day of the Dead at the Ogden – Activities (Ellen Balkin, Ogden Museum)

Chep Morrison: Reconnecting New Orleans and Latin America

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In Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month the 2nd Thursday Lecture Series at the Louisiana State Museum will present a talk entitled “Chep Morrison: Reconnecting New Orleans and Latin America” by Robert Gray Freeland

Four times mayor of New Orleans, Morrison was probably the best-known US citizen in Latin America in his day. As a Mayor interested in expanding international trade, he created a distinct Latin flavor in his efforts. As Ambassador of the Organization of American States (OAS), Morrison played an important part in the Kennedy Administration implementation of a Good Neighbor policy and the Alliance for Progress.

Celebración Latina

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Join us for our annual family festival as we celebrate 10 years of the festival! Please join us at the zoo to explore and celebrate the rich diversity of Latin America. Celebración Latina at the Zoo's Capital One Stage and Field will offer a true taste of the Latin American culture with live music, children’s activities and authentic Latin cuisine prepared and sold by local restaurants. Local artisans will sell hand made crafts, and local social service, health and education organizations will offer wellness, education and social service information.

Check out pictures from the 2012 and 2013 festivals!

Celebración Latina is presented by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University. Contributing sponsors include Pan-American Life Insurance Group and Jefferson Financial Credit Union.

Celebración Latina is free with Zoo admission. No outside food or beverages please!

For more information please visit the Audubon website.