Author Archives: Jackson

Three things I learned this semester.

  1. I have learned important skills that have allowed me to better my research, presentation and writing skills. From writing about events from an unbiased perspective, to writing about events with a thesis and backed up with evidence and claims.
  2. I have learned to view social and economic issues like national identity, gender, discrimination, poverty, et al from different perspectives and to dive deeper into the reasons and viewpoints behind these issues.
  3. I have learned time management skills for projects (which I am still improving on) with working on multiple projects simultaneously.

Cultural blogpost: Indigenous Brazilians rally to demand land protections

Photo of protestors taken by Eraldo Peres (Associated Press).

The last five hundreds years of history has seen in the American continents a large disregard for the rights and privileges of native peoples by colonial governments. Their very ways of life have been altered significantly to the point they will never be able to go back to the way things were prior to colonization.

In April 25th of this year an estimated 3,000 indigenous people from all across Brazil marched on the capital of Brasiliia to protest around thirty three large infrastructure and economic projects on native lands that are proposals in the Federal Congress. These projects includes dams, mining, logging, and agriculture.

They are also protesting dramatic cuts to the agency in charge of native relations (FUNAI). Their third major point of protest has been violence towards natives. A year ago it was reported dozens of members of the Gamela tribe were hospitalized after a brutal attack by local ranches. A truth commission has been set up by the federal government to investigate the deaths of around 8,000 native Americans between the years of 1946-1988. It has been reported that the number of homicides of indigenous persons is the highest since 2003 at this time.

Brazil has two hundred federally recognized tribes which have 900,000 people. The main organization leading these protests is Brazil’s Indigenous Ministry Council (CIMI). These issues surrounding ingenious Brazilians have also gained international attention recently and in the past. Greenpeace did a journalistic investigation of logging encroachment on indigenous land. The UN Environmental Office has condemed violence against Brazilian natives. Two weeks ago a member of the Karipuna tribe spoke on the floor of the UN General Assembly denouncing the treatment of natives by Brazil’s government and nationals and calling it a “Genocide”.
Link to article:

Wasteland questions

What are some of the negative aspects of activist art?

Preliminary answer: sometimes the practice of activist art like the kind portrayed in the film is exploitative and can be used to elevate the clout of an artist rather than think of the long term implications of their work and charity.

How does the film add to your perception of life in favelas?
Preliminary answer: I had heard and seen vague documentaries about the poverty, but not seen the human aspect of it. It was intriguing to see people in such crushing poverty attempt their best to be happy and make the best out of the situation. The one scene that really made me sad and showed me how difficult life could be in these favelas was when the boss and his workers cried because he was mugged when trying to come back from the bank with the Picker’s wages and the workers had to get by for a week without money.

Class Notes 3/8/2018

Why this world: An author biography of Clarice Lispector

Today’s class began with Mia doing a book Analysis on a biography of Clarice Lispector by titled Why this world. Mia’s presentation helped the class have more of an idea of the author of The Hour of the Star which was our class reading. This presentation also helped the class understand what influences she had on her writing. Lispector was a first generation immigrant whose family came fled from the Ukraine when the Soviet Union was persecuting Jews. Her mother died of a disease early in her life. One eerie detail we had learned is The Hour of the Star was published days before Clarice’s death. It was discussed how in a previous book Lispector wrote where a cockroach is slowly crushed and died, that the author of the autobiography believes Lispector made this scene in that book resembles the death of Lispector’s mother who died slowly and painfully. It was discussed how the author of this autobiography mostly tried to make inferences about how certain parts of Lispector’s life were emulated in her books, with no real solid evidence. Lispector did not talk to the public that often, there was only one in-depth interview with her, and she often used pen names. She is a woman that had a lot of mystery surrounding her. This presentation then transitioned flawlessly into the next topic, our class reading The Hour of the Star.

Discussion questions and socratic seminar

Today after Mia’s presentation the class formed a circle and began a socratic seminar style discussion using questions posted on the class blog by students on Wednesday as guides. Such questions delved on themes, poverty, society, beauty standards (Macabea seeing ads with “beautiful” women), and symbolism. One of the major themes discussed in depth was death and the attitude Brazilians hold towards death versus Americans. It was expressed that Brazilians celebrate the person’s past life and burials are done quickly after passing, and life goes on, compared to in America where services take a while to organize, and mourning is usually somber. One question that was discussed was “Why do the narrator and characters constantly berate Macabea?”. This also closely tied with the question “How does the author tell us about different socioeconomic class in the novel and why?”. One such example offered was how, poverty in a class system often has scape-goats. That those that are poor are leeches, not working hard enough, dumb, and other stereotypes. It was discussed how socio-economic class and affects treatment of different people from economic, social, and mentally. It was discussed how although those living in Macabea’s ward of the city were “poor” some were better off than the others. Macabea lacked basic education and was constantly berated by most of those she knew as “slow”. The conversations the class made were productive, and students were not afraid to disagree with arguable statements made, or dive deeper into proposed concepts.


Clarice, Lispector. Translated by Moser, Benjamin.The Hour of the Star. New Directions Publishing. New York, New York, 2011.

Moser, Benjamin. Why this world: A biography of Clarice Lispector. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 2011.

Interview with Clarice Lispector with English subtitles. Sao Paulo, 1977, Penguin Books UK.

The Hour of the Star discussion question and response?

“What was the author’s purpose of having Macabea’s death be so sudden, and so insignificant?”

The ending of the book has Macabea die from a Mercedes. Throughout the book, the author keeps demonstrating how insignificant Macabea is, how ugly she is, poor she is, in poor health, mentally slow and ignorant etc. Most of the time, deaths in literature that are emphasized are usually significant, but hers was so sudden and she was marked as insignificant. Why have her die at all? The symbolism, reason, and descriptions around her death are interesting and difficult to decipher.

Wiki article idea: Juscelino Kubitschek

Juscelino was the 22nd President of Brazil who’s term was from 1956 to 1961 and made a massive impact on Brazil’s economy, and moved the capital to Rio de Janeiro to the newly constructed Brasilia. The current article is rather short, and lacking detail for a supposedly controversial and impactful figure in Brazilian history, and politics.

While it is certainly difficult to remain unbiased when it comes to political leaders, especially elected ones, remaining as unbiased as possible will require examining multiple sources, from multiple points of view and going from there. Examining Brazil’s political system, and looking more into a famous and impactful leader is important to understand the past and understand his legacy. Understanding his legacy is important for understanding the present political climate and his contributions to it. I will attempt to examine his policies, controversies, and his career before becoming President as well as after.

Critique of Wikipedia article regarding Indigenous Peoples in Brazil.

The article Indigenous Peoples in Brazil was given a C rating in terms of article quality and the article is supported by two task forces: The History of Brazil task force, and the Geography of Brazil task force. It is part of the wikiproject Brazil. The article goes into detail about what several hundred tribes were like prior to European contact as well as their treatment and history after European contact. This history of interaction goes from the first landing of the Portuguese in 1500 all the way to today. The article is relevant to the Indigenous peoples of Brazil and attempts to include as much information as it possibly can in a summary about these currently living indigenous groups, but as addressed in the article hundreds of distinct tribes have gone extinct in the last five hundred years and their history and legacy is difficult to decipher as these groups kept no written records and built structures and tools from highly biodegradable materials.

One of the main issues with this article that is bought up a lot in its talk page is the lack of citations for information. While the article does a good job like many wikipedia article of displaying lots of information in a clear, easy to understand manner, citations are important to show where the information is coming from and so future revisions can be made to keep the information concise and current. The section pertaining to Jesuits and the Military Government section had no citations at all. They did contain hyperlinks to other related articles, but no citations or directions to a source in the bibliography. As such it is difficult to know where this information came from and if it was put into the article in an ethical manner. No doubt this helped contribute to the low rating the article as a whole received. One such example is the section that discusses the legal issues SPI (the former agency that dealt with indigenous affairs) faced in the 1960s. There is a vague description of corruption, intentionally starting outbreaks, and mass murder, but there is a lack of citations to specific instances or the Ministry of the Interior’s notes regarding the investigation. Any legal documents pertaining to SPI’s dissolution would be most helpful in revising this article and explaining the full severity of these supposed atrocities inflicted by the federal government of Brazil. What is a distraction is that dates regarding certain events (like SPI investigation, Banderias, et al) lack specific dates. This makes creating a timeline difficult for the reader and any dates given by sources should be put into the article and cited. Many of the ethnic tribes listed in the article have little to no information regarding them. More research should be done on the listed tribes and put into the article.

The talk page of a wikipedia article often contains relevant critiques of issues with the article to help the authors make changes that keep the information up to date, to fix simple grammar mistakes, and to identify false information and address it. There were several valid critiques to the article. One such critique came from most likely a Canadian user as they tried to synthesize treatment of Native Americans in Brazil to Natives in Canada and they asked why there was such a vague description as to the legal status of Native Americans in Brazil (IE: Citizenship, legal protections, rights, entitlements etc). Another user critiqued saying the percentages of religious figures (percentages of Natives that worship specific faiths) was wrong. There was also debate as to the actual population of Native Americans in Brazil with one user stating that FUNAI (The agency that oversees native affairs for the federal government) had differing numbers compared to the article. There was also debate as to the current number of contacted and uncontacted tribes. If these issues can be resolved, and if future issues are noted in regard to factuality, it is best to hope these issues are resolved quickly.

The bias of the article remains neutral for most sections, but can be interpreted in the final sections (Environment and land rights) to be heavily leaning towards siding with Natives on the complex issue regarding land rights. Most sources are not from Native American primary sources but documents relating to encounters, research article, government articles and news articles, but the natives did not keep many detailed records so hearing their histories is difficult. Most of the citations that are present are up to date. To summarize the article, it has a lot of potential to give the reader a good summary of the Natives of Brazil, their culture, history and present issues, but it is held back by lack of citations and vague details in regards to key sections that are important in understanding native cultures of Brazil. It is not hard to understand why the article was given a C rating after looking over the details.