Information Session Thursday November 20th at 4:30p.m. in Denny 112
Sociology 236 / LALC 300 / PORT 380
This course takes a critical look at the layers of Brazilian society that shape, construct, and inhibit life outcomes in terms of in/equality. Students will be asked to examine how the most fundamental elements of social stratification (race, class, gender, and geography) function both separately and in tandem to organize systems of inequality in the Brazilian social, political, and economic contexts. The course uses theoretical and practical applications of stratification to evaluate how social constructions of difference influence social institutions and social policy and the effects they have in individual lived experiences. Additionally, class discussions will also consider how the forces of racism, sexism, and classism impact the attainment of basic needs, such as wages, health care and housing.
Students will have the opportunity to visit a favela where they will meet with representatives from NGOs working in the areas of race, class, and gender and have the opportunity to interview people at the grass roots level. They will visit culturally important sites linking migrant communities across Brazil as well as have the opportunity to witness Candomblé ceremonies of the Afro-Brazilian religion and participate in capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art. Students will also have the chance to visit UNESCO world heritage cites such as Pelorinho, the old slave market and the Catholic church reserved for slaves. Students will meet with faculty from several Brazilian universities that will discuss issues such as affirmative action, the homicide of Black women, the Black Social Movements, and Homeless Workers. Students will sample traditional foods, hear and dance samba.
Due to Brazil’s unique history, three major cities, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador will be visited both for their historical and contemporary importance. These three cities represent the highest racial diversity of Brazil. Sao Paulo has the largest population, but the smallest percentage of Afro Brazilians, about 35% of the city. Rio is about 48% Afro Brazilian while Salvador is about 70% Afro Brazilian. Students will visit culturally important sites linking migrant communities across Brazil as well as will meet with faculty from several Brazilian universities that will discuss issues such as affirmative action, the homicide of Black women, the Black Social Movements, and Homeless Workers. Students will sample traditional foods, hear and dance samba.
Salvador is the first capital of Brazil. When Salvador was capital the Brazilian economy was based on sugarcane and slaves. Today, the wealth of this time can be seen in the many Catholic Churches full of gold decorations, which can be contrasted to the Catholic Churches reserved for the slaves which are without gold. It is also the home of Candomblé, the Afro-Brazilian religion. Site visits will include a visit to a center of Candomblé, Pelorinho (the old slave market and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Catholic church reserved historically for slaves which today holds mass with Afro-Brazilian music, a visit to a school of capoeira, (Afro-Brazilian martial art), Steve Biko Institute (an education center for Afro-Brazilians), the Center for African and Asian Studies of the Federal University of Bahia. An overnight trip to Cachoeira (a colonial city, center of Candomblé, and of importance to Bahian independence) is also planned. Salvador is the location of the American anthropologist, Ruth Landes research on the Afro Brazilian religion and race The City of Women (1947). E. Franklin Frazier, a prominent sociologist and professor at Howard University also conducted ethnographic research here for his book, The Negro Family in Bahia, Brazil (1942).
Rio de Janeiro
In 1763, the capital moved to Rio, which became the second capital of Brazil. It is a city built on a European model and as such built to exclude the indigenous and the African elements of the Brazilian culture. It served as the home of the Portuguese royal family from 1808 to 1821 to escape Napoleon’s invasion. During these 13 years Rio de Janeiro was the capital not only of Brazil but of the Portuguese Empire, the only European capital to be outside of Europe. Rio is the second most popular destination for migrants in Brazil. It is also the traditional birthplace of favelas following the freeing of the slaves. Today it is home to over 1,000 of these communities.
Rio is also known for its Carnival, the largest in the world. However, at the production site you will find many Afro-Brazilians working on the construction of the many floats and costumes, but few of whom will participate. Rio is also home to the Museum of Native Brazilians, and the Museum of National History. In addition students will visit Crioula, an NGO focusing on race, gender, and class, St. Cristopher’s market which is a cultural market catering to Northeastern Brazilian immigrants, and a lecture from a professor of the Universidade Estadual de Rio de Janeiro who will discuss affirmative action in Brazil.
São Paulo is the largest city in Latin America. It is the industrial center of the country and as such is a destination for migrants from all parts of Brazil. It is often referred to as the New York of Latin America.
São Paulo is home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan and also has a large Italian community, a large Afro Brazilian community, as well as Brazilians of other European national origins. São Paulo is the home of the Museum of Afro-Brazilian culture, the Portuguese Language Museum, and São Paulo State Immigration Museum. São Paulo today is the economic center of Brazil and the home to the Brazilian stock exchange (BOVESPA) on one end of the spectrum and favelas on the other. Students will have the opportunity to visit both BOVESPA and a favela where they will meet with representatives from NGOs working in the areas of race, class, and gender and have the opportunity to interview people at the grass roots level.
In addition, students will visit the Center for Northeastern traditions that documents the migration of Northeastern Brazilians to the south. Students will also meet with Jackie Silva who conducts research on Black women’s homicides, Flavia Rios a sociologist who studies Black Social Movements, a representative from Educafro (an NGO focusing on race and class), a representative of Geledés (an NGO focusing on race and gender), and a representative of the movement of Homeless Workers (Trabalhadores Sem-Teto).
WASHINGTON, Sep 19 2013 (IPS) – The United States needs to phase down its drug war and tighten the reins on its cooperation with local militaries and police in Latin America, according to a new report released here Wednesday by three influential think tanks.
Of particular interest is the increase in training deployments to Latin American and the Caribbean by the Special Operations Forces (SOF) – elite units like the Army’s Green Berets and Navy SEALS – due in part to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and drawdown from Afghanistan.
Click link to read more….
Check out this podcast, called Pulso Latino/Latin Pulse run through American University:
The Americas Blog, run through the Center for Economic Policy and Research provides information and discussion on issues and news in Latin America. Use as a source for research and to keep up to date with current events!
The LALC and Africana studies Senior research presentations went well this past Saturday. Unfortunately, not many people were able to come, however there was good representation among the faculty and LALC and Africana studies majors. Topics varied between modern slavery in the NBA to urban agriculture and Indigenous cultural practices and rights in Latin America.
Students presented and after group was done they sat in the front and were asked question as a panel. The questions the audience asked were thought provoking and enabled the students to expand on, or clarify their research. These presentations demonstrated the impressive knowledge of our LALC and Africana studies majors. Congrats!
Senior Research Presentations: Departments of Africana Studies and Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies
Departments of Africana Studies, and Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies
Senior Presentations 2013
Saturday, April 27, Althouse 106
Lynn Johnson (chair, Africana Studies) and Marcelo Borges (chair, LALC Studies)
Andrew Hill: “The Emancipation of LeBron James: Re-Defining the Slave Narrative of the NBA (Africana Studies)
Thiago Branco, “The Implementation of Affirmative Action Policies in Brazilian Higher Education Institutions: Overview, Challenges, Policies, and Consequences” (LALC Studies)
Edwin Einbender-Luks, “Indigenous Activism and Reemergence in Argentina: Reclaiming History and Rights” (LALC Studies)
Chair: Carolina Castellanos
Justine Davenport, “When Hegemony Meets Change: The Status of U.S. Hegemony in Latin America as Told by Brazil, China and Cuba’s Relations” (LALC Studies)
Jeanne Muller, “Those Who Build the City: Urbanization, Informality, and Self-help Housing in Quito, Ecuador” (LALC Studies)
Chair: Héctor Reyes Zaga
Alexandra Agiliga: “Reclaiming Sexuality and Asserting Agency: Black Women in Sadomasochism” (Africana Studies)
Alexandra Kaye, “Nannies on the Move: A Study of Peruvian Female Immigration to Chile” (LALC Studies)
Carolina Vallejo, “U.S. Immigrant Desirability and the 1930s Mexican Deportations and Repatriations” (LALC Studies)
Chair: Patricia van Leeuwaarde Moonsammy
Hannah Richardson, “Environmentalism Begins at the Breakfast Table: The Presentation of Urban Agriculture as a Sustainable Paradigm for Urban Development in Latin America and the Caribbean Region” (LALC Studies)
Amanda Jo Wildey, “The Local and the Global of Andean Agriculture: Technical Changes and Rural Economy in Coporaque, Peru” (LALC Studies)
Aidan Gaughran, “Mining Mountains, Undermining Metaphors: Human-Mountain Relationships and Mining Protests in the Peruvian Andes” (LALC Studies)
Chair: Maria Bruno
2:15 Concluding Remarks
In a well attended presentation on Friday April 12 in Rubendall Recital Hall, Alvin Rangel of Tango Vesre, introduced his project and gave a brief overview of modern Argentina’s history, and the evolution of Tango over the last 100 years.
Alvin Rangel, who is currently an associate Professor of Dance at California State University, began working on Tango Vesre, which means “Inverted Tango”, in 2010. From his website, Alvin Rangel describes his project:
“Tango Vesre [Inverted Tango] is a dance performance that through live performance spotlights a 100-year evolution of all-male tango dance in the Buenos Aires of 1910 and 2010. Tango Vesre includes two duets, Parallel Tango by Alejandro Cervera and Bound Tango by Alvin Rangel. Although the work is framed within the Argentinean Tango aesthetics, the performance puts into motion issues of power negotiation, equality, marginalization, gender roles, sexual identity, acceptance, rejection and male dancing bodies.”
Rangel explained how Tango has become one of the most popular forms of dance, known for its “beauty, passion, drama and sexually-charged energy.” The tradition has established a heteronormative culture, where Tango has been branded as strictly a heterosexual dance. Tango has a clear leader and follower, emphasizing the macho Argentine culture, where the man is in control and the woman follows. Rangel wanted to break out of this strict tradition and explore the origins of tango in the slums and lower classes of Buenos Aires, and specifically when men danced with other men.
Rangel discussed his research into the history of tango and reviewed the historiography. He found that there is gaping hole in information on male-male tango practices, even though it began during the formative period in the early twentieth century.
Rangel explains, “the lack of evidence concerning the male partnerships in tango’s literature raised many questions for me as a dance scholar, dancer and choreographer. Therefore, I became interested in analyzing these male partnerships from historic, performative and choreographic perspectives, examining issues of homosexual bonding and sexual identity through tango dance practice.” In context of the discrimination of homosexuals in Argentine society in this early period, Rangel came up with the central question for his project, “Did the all-male tango dance practice enable closeted homosexuals to embody their sexual identity?” He clarifies, “This question I raise does not assume that the male/male partnerships were exclusively a homosexual performance, but rather considers how a homo-social milieu facilitated homosexual bonding.”
In his presentation he explained the origins for the term Tango Vesre – Vesre, means revés or “inverted” in lunfardo, a slang that developed among criminals as code language in prisons and slums. An example of lunfardo would be turning Café, meaning coffee, into feca, tango would become gotán, and hotel –> telo. Vesre was useful in describing how the roles are reversed in queer tango and breaks out of the strict heteronormative structure.
Rangel adopted multiple roles at once in the development of his project. He played the role of choreographer, dancer and scholar, which is quite the feat to pull off. In his presentation, he demonstrated how he developed another form of Tango called “Bounce Tango” which adopts more fluid movements and is not determined by a clear leader or follower.
In the above picture, Alvin works with his partner, Yebel Gallegos and demonstrates how he reinterpreted a classic move used in tango, usually a hooking movement using the legs and he changed it to hooking the arms instead.
For more information, see: