Turns out I got more busy than I thought these past weeks and I have not been able to post links about Brazil. In one month we start class and then we will be talking about this stuff constantly. Exciting stuff. I wanted to share a few more links for articles that connect to what we will be discussing in class and in our May trip in Brazil.
First, Nevin shared a nice little NY Times article about what to do in Salvador in 36 hours. We are going to spend more than that there, so hopefully you get to experience everything this article shares.
Second, let me share some posts I had saved from a few months (or years ago). I figured I would share it now since these are things related to class but different from our assigned readings. On the topic of race, a resource I meant to share earlier is the Rough Translation (a great podcast BTW) episode on Brazil's affirmative action programs. This is a super interesting dive into the controversial topic. On the topic of inequality, this Oxfam profile on Brazil provides a snapshot of the issues we will see, and this PBS NewHour segment shows the ways people are using technology to tackle inequality in the country. On the topic of gender, while not specifically about Brazil, this NY Times opinion piece talks about women's empowerment to fight violence.
I think this will be all for now. I will see the class in a month. If anything interesting pops up before I will post something. If not, see you in a month!
WHAT I AM LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Majur-Africaniei
Welcome to the third blog post about Brazil in preparation to our trip in May 2020. This post I will share one interesting CNN segment that I saw this week and a podcast that I really like when it comes to understanding Brazilian politics and society. First, the CNN segment: it was a brief report on cachaça, Brazil's spirit. People always asks me what is the difference between rum and cachaça and I never knew how to explain it, this article helped me with that. This segment also reminded me of a Timbalada song called "Cachaça". The kind of music Timbalada plays is very much the soul of Bahia and Salvador. We will visit percussion schools and have classes that mirror their music style.
I have been meaning to post about Explaining Brazil for a couple of weeks. This is a great resource produced by great reporters, dealing with many issues. I will post a link to the podcast on Sticher (here) but you can find in any podcast aggregator. Below I share links to the episodes that relate directly to our course themes.
This gives you a lot of interesting and easy to access information about Brazil. If you are already into podcasts, just add this one to your list!
WHAT I AM LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Elza Soares- A Carne
Feliz Ano Novo!
With the new year I want to share what some international sources are saying about the first year of President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil in October of 2018, taking power January 1st, 2019. Today marks the first year of Bolsonaro's administration. We will talk more about him, his election, and controversies surrounding his presidency when we meet in class in March. For now I just wanted to introduce you to him by sharing some of the reports and opinion pieces about his first year from some English-language sources.
I think understanding more about Bolsonaro will be especially important in May when we are in Brazil since students will be staying with host families for three weeks. Bolsonaro is a galvanizing and polarizing figure, and I think it will be crucial for students to understand his rise so they can best ask questions about the current political climate in Brazil. We will be in Salvador, a city where Bolsonaro lost to PT candidate Fernando Haddad in all precints during the presidential runoff, even though he won the national vote with almost 55% of the valid votes. Reading about the national scene and then understanding the political views of baianos and soteropolitanos (how people who live in Salvador are known) will be an interesting and important aspect of the fieldwork students will be conducting.
So here are some headlines about Bolsonaro's first year:
"My country was very close to socialism, which led us to a situation of widespread corruption, serious economic recession, high crime rates and continuous ceaseless attacks against family and religious values that are part and parcel of our traditions," Bolsonaro said in a speech in September before the UN General Assembly in New York.
We will revisit Bolsonaro many times in this blog and in our class. This was just a first taste for those who may not be following Brazilian politics that close. In my next post I will share a podcast that I think can also help you better understand Brazil before our time in the country comes in May. Enjoy the rest of the break!
WHAT I AM LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Drik Barbosa, Emicida, and Rael- Luz
This is my first post sharing interesting links that can help you understand more about Brazil. First, some fun news from Salvador, where we will spend most of our time in May of 2020. This year a large shopping mall in the city hired its first Black Santa. Even though the city is over 80% black or of mixed descent, this is the first time a mall decided to change the perspective of what it means to be Santa. Here is a link to the news from a Brazilian website. This was the only link I found in English.
Below I will now share two videos. The first is a classic video from PBS and Henry Louis Gates Jr. that is part of his Black in Latin America series. The episode on Brazil does a good job at showing some of the basic issues with the idea of racial democracy in Brazil.
The second video is an interesting video posted by the Chinese Global Television Network (CGTN), posted in May of 2019, about the city of Salvador and the African roots in the city. This video provides students going a glimpse of what you will see in May of 2020.
I will keep adding more videos, podcasts, and newspaper articles that I find about Brazil. If you happen to find something interesting, please share with me on Twitter, down here in the comments section, or via email.
WHAT I AM LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: BaianaSystem and Tropkillaz- Saci (Remix)
On October 30, 2007 Brazil won the bid to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I had just defended my Master's Thesis and was starting my Ph.D. program. At that point I wasn't even sure what my dissertation topic was going to be, or if I would ever get a job... But one thing popped in my head as soon as I heard the news. I knew then and there that if by 2014 I had finished my Ph.D. and was at an institution that promoted short term study abroad courses, I was going to propose a study-abroad course to Brazil on the politics of the FIFA World Cup.
Things worked out well on that front. In 2012 I started as a VAP at Luther College with just enough time to propose then plan a January Term course to Brazil. The title was Politics and World Cup in Brazil, and the focus of the course was the connection between mega-events like the World Cup and the economic and political developments of the country. We went a few months prior to the World Cup and visited four host cities: Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and Manaus. The course attracted mostly soccer players with 14 of the 16 students who went playing for the school's men's or women's team. This trip was a blast for students and they learned a lot along the way. One thing that they kept asking was the connection between socio-economic inequality and race in Brazil. You can see some of these discussions in their blog posts.
So in 2017 when I took students to Brazil again I decided to shift the focus to address some of the key question asked by my students. At this time Brazil was in the middle of many have called their worst economic depression, so our conversations about inequality, poverty and race would be timely. The course, titled Development, Inequality, and Race visited three cities: Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia. The combination of lectures and visits to key places in the three cities made for a great engaging course. The students were also great, and shared their experiences on the course blog. Because this time there were many more women in the course than men, questions regarding gender and inequality were very prevalent in our discussions.
Fast forward to today. Brazil is still going through a deep economic crisis, and the current president (elected in 2018) is known for his questionable views on race and gender (check it out here and here, even labeling himself "prejudiced with pride." This seems like an appropriate time to focus a Brazil study abroad course on issues widely discussed by my students in previous courses and widely visible in Brazil's current landscape. Now at a new institution I am excited to take students to Brazil once again. At the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University (CSBSJU), a new study abroad model allows us to take an on-campus course for half a semester in the spring and then spend three week in Brazil in May. I developed a course titled Inequality, Race, and Gender in Brazil and will take nine students to Brazil in May, where we will spend most of time in Salvador, Bahia while also visiting other parts of the state.
I created this blog with the intent to create a space where my students can find some popular resources beyond what we will cover in class this spring and to share my students' blog posts when we get there in May of 2020. I hope this can also help other faculty members who take students to Brazil or hope to take them one day with general resources that can be helpful in a course about race, gender, and inequality in Brazil. In the next months I hope to share some sources, resources, and discussions I have with my students in class. If you stumble upon this blog and have a question, do not hesitate to ask it on the comments section or send me an email.