Lessons Learned

I’ve been really grateful that I’ve been able to be a member of this course. I thought that moving so far from home would mean spending long periods of time without hearing my own languages being spoken in public, and yet every lecture I got to see representation of my culture being discussed among students. It’s been amazing, and I’ve learned a ridiculous amount of information, but some major concepts have really stuck with me.

  • The Origins of a Mixed Population & the Racial Democracy Fallacy
    I knew coming in that Brazil had a diverse population, but this course really opened my eyes to an issue I was otherwise kept away from. How and why Portugal was able to import so many slaves, and the lasting impact their presence had in Brazil is one of the most crucial concepts someone could possibly learn from this class. This idea of a Racial Democracy wrecks havoc on society, and serves to disguise major ongoing issues that burden the lives of so many Brazilians today. On a personal note, I did some research and found out that my great-grandparents came to Brazil from Italy…right around the time of the Branqueamento. Yikes!
  • Gender Dynamics
    I’m glad I jumped on Beyond Carnival as fast as I did. Homosexuality isn’t really a subject to chat about over dinner, but I always knew that Brazil’s LGBT+ population was there. This book gave me such a great way to not only learn about the history of gay men, but also how masculinity was valued in Brazilian culture. On the opposite end, Marina’s I.S. on Martyrdom and Maternalism was so interesting, and drew a spotlight onto women’s roles in Brazilian society. Choosing my own book and having her knowledge in the classroom helped create a full image of gender in Brazil.
  • Culture of the Favelas
    I could only ever hear stories about the Favelas, and know basic facts about how they’re structured, but now I feel like I could talk freely about the culture within these neighborhoods.  This part of the course really drove home the need to address income and racial inequality in Brazil, along with geographic barriers. Pat yourself on the back for free health care, but that doesn’t matter if a mass portion of your population can’t even access it. It doesn’t make sense to talk about Brazil without addressing this glaring division in cities, and I’m glad we were able to explore it throughly.

When visiting Brazil, I would just alternate between farmland and cities, just visiting my family. I didn’t know enough about the actual ongoing issues in the country. This course really does mean a lot to me, as it helped resolve questions I’ve had about Brazil that no one was able to answer for me. I’ve truly learned so much, and really appreciate everyone’s contributions in helping each other learn more about Brazil.

Até logo gente.