Course lecturers: Dr. Fabio de Castro and
Prof. dr. Kees Koonings
Tel./mail: 020 525 3257 /
Period: 7 February – 28 March 2017
Time: Tuesday 13:00 – 17:00 hours
Course load: 6 EC
Max. participants: 25


As the fifth largest country in the world and one of the tenth largest economy, Brazil plays a major role in economic and social processes in Latin America and is an increasingly more prominent player in the regional and global politics. The recent socio-political development of Brazil is characterized by democratization, social reforms and sustainability.

However, this process has been influenced by the legacy of a long period of military rule (1964-1985) and an even longer history of social inequality and exclusion. Despite the economic growth and the formation of a modern, urban society under the military regime, this period was characterized by authoritarian governance, political repression and deepened inequality. Because of this, the last twenty years democratization, citizenship, political participation and social integration were at odds with a elitist political culture, personalism, violence and social exclusion. At the same time, sustainable development has become a focal point in Brazil’s economic and social development, given the large extent of natural vegetation and high biodiversity of the country. On the one hand, Brazil is an urbanized country where more than 80 percent of the population lives in the city. On the other hand, the rural areas play an important economic an social role in the country itself as well as for the world. An important question is whether, under the current conditions of democracy consolidation and the call for sustainable development, the scope and influence of non-privileged civil groups has expanded. Has democracy in Brazil led to increased citizenship and to what extent do social and political obstacles affect the consolidation of the democracy? And how do international interests of environmental protection and sustainable energy (especially biofuels) relate to the influence of the rural communities and local development? This course aims to address these and related questions in order to understand the historical development and contemporary dynamics of the modern Brazilian society.

Form of instruction and assessment
This course is offered for 6 ECTs in the period February – March 2017. Each session consists of a lecture from 13:00 to 16:00hs, followed by a working group from 16:15 to 17:00hs (with corresponding literature). The course is assessed on the basis of working group assignment (20%), a book review (20%) and a final written open book exam on the lectures and the literature (60%). If desired, the course can be extended to 7,5 ECTs by writing a short assignment for the extra 1,5 ECTs.

Literature (provisional)
The literature will consist of a reader of arcticles and book chapters (about 60 pages to study per meeting). The main course literature will be F. de Castro, K. Koonings, and M. Wiesebron (eds) 2014. Brazil under the Workers’ Party Continuity and Change from Lula to Dilma – Palgrave. Apart from that, we will provide the student with a limited number of articles and book chapters.

Picture: FIESP. O Brasil venceu. Brazil (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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