Past Special Topics

Fall 2019

PORT 497: Imagining Brazilian Cities

Instructor: Krista Brune
Course Description: This class focuses on artistic representations of the global metropolises of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the modernist capital of Brasília, and the northeastern city of Recife. Readings will highlight the diverse experiences of urban life with chronicles of turn-of-the-century city life, avant-garde depictions of modernizing metropolises, and contemporary short stories. To ground our discussions of Brazilian cities, we will analyze a range of literary and artistic works, including short stories, chronicles, poems, songs, films, photographs, and paintings. Critical readings from the field of urban studies, architecture, anthropology, history, and other interdisciplinary fields will allow us to further explore cities in Brazil. This class will be conducted in Portuguese.
Prerequisite: PORT 405 or permission of the instructor

Spring 2019

PORT 397: Brasil: Nossa Arte, Nossa Língua

Instructor: Dayse P. Bedê
Course Description: This advanced course that uses Brazilian cultural expressions in music, film, fashion, literature, and visual arts as a tool to refine students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. This course encourages students to explore the diversity of artistic expression in Brazil. By studying Brazilian art, students will also deepen their knowledge of the Portuguese language and Brazilian culture and history. In this class, students will increase their fluency and accuracy in spoken and written Portuguese through in-class discussions, oral presentations, and short compositions. Through guided analysis of artistic works, students will review finer aspects of grammar and colloquial uses of language in Brazil. Class will be conducted entirely in Portuguese.
Prerequisite: PORT 3 or PORT 197 (or equivalent)

Fall 2018

PORT 497: Luso-Brazilian Theater Workshop

Instructor: Sarah J. Townsend
Course Description: The first half of this course will be devoted to reading three plays by writers from Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries. During the second half of the semester, students will choose one of these plays and work on developing a performance production. This will entail doing additional research on the play and its cultural context, reading reviews and critical responses to prior performances, rehearsing scenes, making collective decisions about staging decision, designing a simple set, and possibly offering a public performance. For those who are shy about acting, there will be opportunities to participate in non-speaking roles such as set designer and dramaturg. While undertaking these activities we will also be reviewing grammatical structures and learning new forms of colloquial expression.
Prerequisite: PORT 405 (or equivalent)

Spring 2018

PORT 497: Through the Looking-Glass: Race in the United States and Brazil

Instructor: Sarah J. Townsend
Course Description: This course offers a comparative study of the political and cultural dimensions of race in the United States and Brazil. Among the topics we will discuss are constructions of the “Indian,” similarities and differences in the systems of slavery, Jim Crow versus the Brazilian myth of racial democracy, the influence of funk and rap in Brazilian music, and cases of collaboration between African-American and Afro-Brazilian activists. Materials will include historical and political writings as well as films, literature, and music. The class will be taught in English. Students can receive credit for either the Portuguese minor.

Fall 2017

PORT 497: Race and Gender in Contemporary Luso-Brazilian Cinema

Instructor: Krista Brune
Course Description: By examining feature films and documentaries from the past two decades, the class explores how cinema approaches social, cultural, political, and economic realities of race and gender in Brazil, Portugal, Angola, and Mozambique. Our viewings and readings will lead us to address how histories of imperialism, colonialism, dictatorial regimes, and racial injustices emerge as thematic concerns in contemporary film. We also examine convergences and divergences between different parts of the Portuguese-speaking world and, in turn, consider the possibilities and limitations of studying these works in a comparative Lusophone framework. Secondary readings on film, history, and contemporary Lusophone culture, and interviews with filmmakers will complement our studies. This course will be taught in English. Students pursuing the Portuguese minor may count this course toward their requirements if they write their papers in Portuguese.