Author Archives: Danica Genners

Three things I learned this semester:

I learned a ton this semester on a variety of different topics. I would say that the most important things that I learned were:

  1. Cultural differences between ideas of race and how they shape society.  I really enjoyed our discussions about Anita and the Brazilian music industry.
  2. I learned about plastic surgery and its significance in society. I really enjoyed learning about plastic surgery because it is a contrast within our society and provides an interesting look into cultural norms and how they differ.
  3. I also enjoyed learning about class differences and their effects within society. This came through a low through the study of favelas and provided an interesting view of cities that are commonly portrayed and shown in the US.

IS Symposium

For IS Symposium, I presented my own research on Latin America and also was able to discuss with Sarah Vonck about her research on indigenous rights in Ecuador. For my research, I studied the effect that LGBTQIA+ legislators has on the public’s approval on same-sex marriage ratings. I looked at 11 different countries and found that just the election and presence of an LBGTQIA+ legislator within a county does have a positive and significant effect on how an individual will rate their approval of same-sex marriage. Also, overall in the region (among the countries I studied) there is a trend of increased approval towards same-sex marriage, but there is still a long way to go towards high approval. Sadly for my study I was unable to look at Brazil.

Sarah Vonck researched the newest constitution in Ecuador and how its failed implementation has impacted the indigenous populations within the Yasuni national park. She is a GIS and Spanish major so she really was able to cover both history, politics, and economics within her project.

The Wasteland Discussion Questions

  1. In what way did socioeconomic class completely shape the art that Vik Muniz planned?

Throughout the film, Muniz seemed to make many comments relating to both his own class standing, whether in his childhood or now, and about the class of the individuals he was working with. These comments really rubbed me the wrong way many times and I think is important for understanding the drive to complete this art project.

2. Other than monetary gains, what do audiences perceive are the benefits that were given to the workers through art?

In the film, Muniz really stressed that this art project would change the lives of all of the pickers, but I really am interested if others who saw the film really thought that the project made a difference as a whole.

Brazil Culture Post for 04/19

A current candidate in the Brazilian presidential race is being charged with inciting hatred and discrimination. Right-wing Congressman Jair Bolsonaro has officially been charged by Brazil’s attorney general with inciting hatred and discriminating against women, Afro-Brazilians, indigenous and LGBTQIA+ communities. Bolsanaro is polling second in upcoming Brazilian Presidential election in October. The conviction cites a list of comments that were made throughout various parts of the country by Bolsonaro. If this sentence is carried out Bolsanaro could face three years in prison and a fine of $117,000.

Jair Bolsonaro

Also in this incident, the son of Bolsanaro who is his largest supporter was also charged with threatening a journalist. Due to their status as congressmen, both cases are required to be tried by the Supreme Court which has a large backlog. Therefore, most likely the case will not be tried before the presidential election in October. This news comes shortly after former President ‘Lula’ turned himself in for a twelve year sentence in prison on corruption charges.

This article stays very neutral on the entire situation and its portrayals of Brazilians. It really focuses on including many direct quotes from Bolsonaro himself in order to remain as objective as possible on the issue. Overall, the tone of the article seemed quite worried about how the Brazilian election will turn out due to current polling of Bolsonaro and that these charges will most likely not be carried out until after the election.

This article relates to the course in many ways. The themes of discrimination and racism within this article speak to our discussions on the Afro-Brazilian movement and the current race relations within the country. This article also goes against the idea of Brazil as a “Racial Democracy” because it shows outright racist remarks being made from a well-supported presidential candidate in modern times. Learning about the current political situation within Brazil is very important in understanding modern happenings within the country.

Article Link:

Further Reading:

(In Portuguese)

Hour of the Star Discussion Question

Question:  How does the narration style influence how reader’s see both the narrator and how the story is interpreted?

Throughout The Hour of the Star, the narrator is a central character that invokes strong emotions through the style of narration. Within the telling of the story, the narrator both reveals details about himself as well as others. I found it interesting how the narrator uses words to sort of paint pictures of the story. One example is on page 26 when the narrator discusses aspects moving in slow motion, so he elongates his words. How does this imagery help the reader to visualize the scene? In my opinion, these various techniques help to create real emotions in the reader, such as frustration in my case.

Wikipedia Article: Zélia Gattai

For my Wikipedia Article assignment, I hope to improve the page of Zélia Gattai. Zélia Gattai is a writer of various forms of Brazilian literature who primarily lived during Vargas’ “Estado Novo.” She was married to a man who was an active anarchist that was targeted by the regime. Gattai’s life experiences connect well to my overall research topic for the end of the semester. I am conducting research looking at the expectations of women under the Vargas dictatorship. Through researching Gattai, I can look into how she specifically was effected during this time period.

Currently, her article only contains one short lead section, so there are many content gaps that can be expanded upon. There is basic information about her life, but through the expansion of the article it can provide a deeper look into her experience in Brazilian history. I would hope to expand her article by dividing it up into sections where I can provide more background history on both her and her literary works. Some sections I would add are:  Early Life, Late Life, and Literary Works (maybe dividing them up separately).

In her current article, there are only two sources listed. Based on a general search conducted, there appear to be many more sources such as literature reviews and bibliography entries that I can draw on to complete this article. I could also possibly utilize parts from her own memoirs to provide more insight into her life. The current talk page on this article does not have any comments. This article is considered part of a few Wikiprojects, but it looks like they have not really completed any edits or suggested anything as of now. The article link is listed below. I would love to hear any ideas that others may have to help me to improve this article.

Article link:

Research Project Blog

Many aspects of Brazilian life drastically changed under the rule of Getulio Vargas and his “Estado Novo.” In my previous studies here at the College, I have learned about different dictatorships throughout the world and I have always found gender roles during these times very interesting. I decided to conduct my research on the role and expectations of women under Vargas. In my previous Spanish classes, I have studied the expectations of women under the rule of Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco and I believe that it would be interesting to see how women under Vargas compare and contrast in this regard. Also, I believe that my major in Political Science will provide a political background that is important when looking at such a politicized time period.

In my research I hope to look at the portrayal of women by the state as well as the political, social, and cultural expectations of women during this time period. I believe that through the analysis of both primary and secondary sources, I will be able to capture a full picture of the role women played in the dictatorship. Also, I think that it will be interesting to look at the progression of political rights that occurred. I know that during this time, women gained the right to vote and would like to study the progression that led to this political advance.

The role of women in Vargas’ “Estado Novo” is important because it still effects women in modern Brazil. To fully understand the modern portrayals and expectations of women in Brazil today, it is important to first study the history that led to the modern state. Through my research I hope to be able to learn more about the history of women’s rights in Brazil and how it compares to the US as well as other countries.

Luckily for this topic, we will be discussing gender roles under the dictatorship briefly in class and the Brazil Reader offers many primary sources from the era. For primary sources, I plan to utilize many different primary sources from the era. I am currently working on trying to find pictures that I could analyze as primary sources, but as of right now many of my sources come from the Brazil Reader. Some of these sources include a speech given by Vargas himself as well as first-hand accounts from women living under Vargas.

Secondary Sources:

From class:

“Norma Fraga: Race Class Education and the Estado Novo” by Jerry Davila

“Unskilled Workers, Skilled Housewife” by Barbara Weinstein

Outside sources found:

Barros, Gelka. “BELA E SADIA! A MULHER NAS PÁGINAS DA REVISTA ALTEROSA (1939-1945) DURANTE O ESTADO NOVO E O PROCESSO DE AMERICANIZAÇÃO DO BRASIL.” Comunicação E Sociedade 32, (July 2017): 191-209. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 13, 2018).

Joel Wolfe, “From Working Mothers to Housewives” in Gender and Populism in Latin America:  Passionate Politics ed. Karen Kampwirth. Penn State Press, 2010. 

Primary Sources:

de Masi Zero, Joana, “Ordinary People: Five Lives Affected by Vargas-Era Reforms” in The Brazil Reader eds. Robert M. Levine and John J. Crocitti, p.218-221.

Vargas, Getulio, “New Year’s Address” in The Brazil Reader eds. Robert M. Levine and John J. Crocitti, p. 186-189.

Galvao, Patricia, “Where They Talk about Rosa Luxemburg”in The Brazil Reader eds. Robert M. Levine and John J. Crocitti, p.166-171.


Class Notes 2/6/18

Fun class music:


  • With class presentationspicking up it is important to watch timing to have enough time to accomplish everything.
  • Great Decisions Lecture was on Immigration tonight (2/6/18) with Angela Maria Kelly. She is also having a talk on DACA this Thursday (2/8/18) at 4PM.
  • There is a History major information session this Thursday (2/8/18) at 11AM. This meeting is for anyone who is interested/thinking about a History major or double major.

Cultural Blog Post: Japanese Population in Sao Paulo (David)

Class today began with a Brazilian culture blog post discussing the Japanese population in Sao Paulo. David discussed the wave of Japanese immigration to Brazil and how Japanese culture is a large part of Sao Paulo, especially in the neighborhood Liberdade. This presentation tied into class discussions about the formation of a national Brazilian identity.

Class Discussion:  Independence and Construction of Brazilian National Identity

Class today focused around the story of Brazil’s independence from Portugal and the different ways that the story is told. Discussion centered around the formation of a Brazilian national identity:  Who was included as a citizen, excluded, and who had the right to vote. Within this topic, we also looked at the implications of relying on different historical sources to understanding national identity. We began by looking at primary source photos of King Joao VI and Emperor Pedro !, shown below, while discussing the historic tale of Brazilian independence.

After discussing the historical tale of independence, Professor Holt distributed a partial copy of the 1824 Brazilian Constitution. We discussed in small groups after analyzing the document and its implications for who is defined as a citizen of the newly independent Brazil and who had the right to vote. One main aspect of Brazilian citizenship that was discussed was the focus on loyalty. The newly independent kingdom was wary of Portuguese and African populations within the country and their loyalty to Brazil. The 1824 Constitution provided a primary source document on the legal formation of Brazilian national identity during the time of independence. Class ended by looking at Kraay’s argument around the Dois de Julho Celebration versus the national September 7th independence day celebration. He argues that these celebrations showed the anti-Portuguese and anti-African sentiment that existed during the time of independence.

Key Terms:

  • Liberdade, Sao Paulo: Japanese neighborhood in Sao Paulo
  • Emperor Pedro I: First emperor of the newly independent kingdom of Brazil.
  • Household: Households were seen as the primary political unit in early Brazil. They were headed by one main male figure who held the voting rights within the unit.
  • 2 de Julho: Celebration of winning Brazilian independence from the Portuguese, primarily celebrated in Bahia
  • September 7th: Brazilian Independence Day. This day is thought of as the day that Pedro I declared independence through a declaration.

Further Questions:

  1. How have the early ideas shaped how Brazilian identity is seen today? Especially when looking at the construction of race.
  2. In what ways is the story of Brazilian Independence central to Brazilian history and how they view their history today?
  3. In what way do celebrations challenge/show the formation of national identity? Especially how do they show state identity and does that differ from national identity?

More Sources on Topic:

Roett, Riordan. “The Historical Background: Colony, Empire, and Republic.” In The New Brazil, 19-36. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2011.

Kraay, Hendrik. “Between Brazil and Bahia: Celebrating Dois De Julho in Nineteenth-Century Salvador.” Journal of Latin American Studies 31, no. 2 (1999): 255-86.

Barickman, B. J. “Reading the 1835 Parish Censuses from Bahia: Citizenship, Kinship, Slavery, and Household in Early Nineteenth-Century Brazil.” The Americas 59, no. 3 (2003): 287-323.


Critique of “Race and Ethnicity in Brazil”

The Wikipedia article “Race & Ethnicity in Brazil” has some very well-written aspects while others need some work. In the article all of the categories and sub-categories of information seemed to all relate well to the topic, and the authors really tried to cover a wide range of material. Throughout all of this material, the most distracting aspects of the article was the vast amount of work that was uncited. Even some of the sources listed did not seem to work or did not provide a link to the material that was listed. Also, the author had the tendency to use various names and cite people without introducing them or why they are notable. A sentence would just include a person’s name with no context. It appeared that the article tried to cover many topics without sources to back up their statements. In many cases the evidence was put into tables that seemed to be more confusing than helpful. Grammar also was a major issue throughout the article and distracted from the content.

The section of the article dedicated to the historical background of the article was one of the most incomplete in my opinion. This section appeared to be very superficial and only focused on the European settlement aspect of history, while barely going into more aspects of the effects of the slave trade and history of slavery in Brazil. There are very few mentions of the indigenous tribes of Brazil as well which plays a part into the formation of race and ethnicity throughout history. After reading the article, I read the talk page which spoke to some of the same issues of biases and either lack of sources or poor sources. The current article is rated as a C-class article and is a part of various wikiprojects, which speaks to the large amount of critiques available on the talk page. It is also considered to be of top-importance.

Overall, this article was very different from how we approached the subject during our last class discussion. The article did touch on some of the same topics, such as DNA testing and racial categories that exist on census surveys, but overall deemed to lack mention of the cultural aspects of race and ethnicity in Brazil. Without definitions and cultural contexts much of the content of the article does not show the full picture. After reading this article, I am interested to learn more on the subject in class so I can better compare what we learn to how the article is presenting the information.