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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: History of Brazil (HIST10516)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAt first glance, Brazil appears to be a country of contrasts. Pristine beaches, soccer-crazed fans, euphoric street parades, and the majestic Amazon rainforest all give Brazil a sense of endless splendour. But it is also a nation that saw the largest importation of African slaves, a series of repressive military regimes, and has recently suffered from a dramatic spike in urban violence, deforestation, political corruption, and a volatile economy. The purpose of this course is to help students understand that although neither of those two images of Brazil is completely accurate, they are not totally false either. We will trace the changes and continuities in Brazilian history from the colonial period to the present day in order to show how various relationships of power have produced a society that can simultaneously embody such a wide range of elements.
Course description This course will explore Brazil's history from 1500 (year of the first European landfall on the coast of what is now Brazil) to the present. We will trace the changes and continuities in Brazilian history from the colonial period to the present day and examine how social and political legacies from the colonial period affected Brazil's emergence as a modern nation-state. Brazil was the largest recipient of enslaved Africans during the Atlantic slave trade, and we will pay special attention to the country's history of slavery, slave emancipation, and race relations.

Content note: The study of history inevitably involves the study of difficult topics that we encourage students to approach in a respectful, scholarly, and sensitive manner. Nevertheless, we remain conscious that some students may wish to prepare themselves for the discussion of difficult topics. In particular, the course organiser has outlined that the following topics may be discussed in this course, whether in class or through required or recommended primary and secondary sources: slavery, poverty, torture, racial violence, sexual violence, class-based violence. While this list indicates sensitive topics students are likely to encounter, it is not exhaustive because course organisers cannot entirely predict the directions discussions may take in tutorials or seminars, or through the wider reading that students may conduct for the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Landscapes of Power: Brazil and its Histories (HIST10423)
Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course *
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
1,000 word primary source analysis (20%)
3,000 word essay (60%)

Non-Written Skills:
Participation and attendance (10%)
Class presentation (10%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. have a command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Dassin, J. 1998. Torture in Brazil: a Shocking Report on the Pervasive Use of Torture by Brazilian Military Governments, 1964-1979. Austin: University of Texas Press

Davis, S. 1977. Victims of the Miracle: Development and the Indians of Brazil. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lesser, J. 1999. Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil. Durham: Duke University Press.

Levine, R.M. 1998. Father of the Poor?: Vargas and His Era. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Levine, R.M., and J.J. Crocitti. 1999. The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Schultz, K. 2001. Tropical Versailles: Empire, Monarchy, and the Portuguese Royal Court in Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1821. New York: Routledge.

Schwartz, S.B. 1985. Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society, Bahia, 1550-1835 New York: Cambridge University Press.

Skidmore, T. 1999. Brazil: Five Centuries of Change. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sweet, J.H. 2003. Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Viotti da Costa, E. 1985. The Brazilian Empire: Myths and Histories, University of Chicago Press.

Weinstein, B. 2015. The Color of Modernity: São Paulo and the Making of Race and Nation in Brazil. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Weschler, L. 1990. A Miracle, a Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers. New York: Pantheon Books.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Command of a substantial body of historical knowledge about Brazil

The ability to develop and sustain historical arguments, formulating appropriate questions and utilising evidence, both in class discussions and in written work

The ability to interrogate, read, analyse, and reflect critically and contextually upon historical primary and secondary sources

The ability to research and write a sustained and independently conceived piece of historical writing

The ability to clearly and accessibly present historical information to an audience
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Timo Schaefer
Course secretaryMiss Annabel Samson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3783
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