Author Archives: Mia Stevens

What I learned this semester:

I have learned a fair amount this semester, but if we are limiting to three, first I would have to say the differences in how race is seen and categorized in Brazil compared to the United States. Before this class I had only thought about race in the context of the US and it is very eyeopening that how different it can be. Secondly, I learned about different ways that historians can discuss their research, in a book, journal article, documentary, wikipedia, and paper. Lastly I learned that in Brazil art is political. I had always thought that art can be symbolic of a social or political movement but not as direct as it is in Brazil. For example, the carnival acts that we acts that we watched in class were very direct in their concerns/protests of the the government. This direct protesting via art is not something that you would see in the US under the context of art.

IS Symposium

I one of the presentations I attended on Friday was given by Sarah Comstock who studied glass frogs in Costa Rica and how the male frogs provide care to the eggs based on environmental factors. Sarah emphasized what her results were and what they mean. She found that for the most part the dads rarely abandon their eggs. One example she said is that if temperature is high enough the frogs will call more and then they will need to find food making them abandon the eggs. Latin America was portrayed as a place where biology can be studied to the high biodiversity.

Mackenzie Kellar also went to Costa Rica to study glass frogs. She studied if there is a difference in the frog’s egg survival between primary and secondary forests. Primary forests or old growth forests have been standing for over 500 years where secondary forests are in the process of regrowing after the old growth has been removed. WIth the amount of deforestation that occurs it is important to know weather organisms can survive in secondary forests. Mackenzie emphasized that there was no significant difference in egg survival between the primary and secondary forests meaning that they should both perceived with the same importance. Latin America was portrayed as a place that has the highest amount of biodiversity in the world and the importance of its preservation.


How does Vik Muniz’s personal gains off of his work affect the aid he gave to the pickers?

By benefiting from the artwork not through money but through publicity, Muniz is not completing “charity” work. This questions the motivations of Muniz when deciding to start this project.

How did the release of this documentary effect environmental movements in Brazil?

By making the of the size of Jardim Gramacho landfill of more common knowledge. This documentary could have caused reilizations of how much waste is being produced, leading to decisions to limit an individual’s impact on the environment.

Joaquim Barbosa History and Culture Post

Joaquim Barbosa was a supreme justice of the Brazilian supreme court, he was the first Afro-Brazilian justice who is 73. Barbosa has not yet announced that he is running for president but it is known that he is going to run.  This article goes in depth describing him as a person and him as a justice. He is described as being a harsh person with not great personal skills, the article sites all of the arguments he got into during his term as justice. He is also seen as being anti cuption after the work he did while in the supreme court. Barbosa has done work on efforts similar to to the Brazilian version of affirmative action. Even though Barbosa is running for president he has pending corruption charges, with no trial date yet this could lead to a short political career.

New York Times

The polls have Barbosa in third which is impressive since he hasn’t even announced his candidacy yet.  Barbosa was born into poverty and started as a janitor in the courtroom then was able to go to law school and eventually became a justice.He is quite popular due to his “rags to riches” story, because of this the article says that the lower classes trust that he will seek out their interests as president. Barbosa also is seen as an outsider to politics and that he will “be a fresh new face to politics”(Darlington) There are speculations that Barbosa may be able to attract the former Lula voters, it all depends on who Lula indorces in the race.

The style of the article was reflective of horse race reporting, it was worded in a way to focus on the competition occurring between the candidates. The article describes Barbosa somewhat like a hot head which is reflected on America’s perception of Brazil. The article also discusses all of the corruption charges going around which makes Brazil seem like it’s falling apart at the seems.

Barbosa masks at Carnival. Felipe Dana/Associated Press

This article relates to class because of our following of the presidential election. We have also spent a significant amount of time dissecting the idea of race in Brazil and Barbosa is a way to add to that image of race. Since he is the first Afro-brazilian in the supreme court he is a prominent figure and his possible run for presidency would make him even more impactful.

Main article:

NYT Barbosa Profile:

3/29 Class Notes

Carmen Miranda “The Gang’s All Here”

We started class today watching a section of a musical with Carmen Miranda entitled “The Gang’s All Here.” In this section of the musical Miranda sings “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat”. This scene is representative of how Brazil is seen by America, as producing agricultural exports, beautiful sexually available women. The Brazil that is depicted in this scene is highly romanticized, and as stereotypical “island life.” As this movie scene allowing us as a class to see how Carmen Miranda was seen in America. That she is a not Brazilian just as an “exotic island woman.” There is nothing in the video that is strictly Brazilian, only things that could be applied to many different countries.

History and Culture post: Abby “Michel Temer”

Abby read and discussed an New York Times article discussing a recent interview with Brazil’s president Michel Temer. Temper has a very low approval rating and that the Brazilian public is portraying their disapproval. One way the public has done this is during carnival one of the floats depicted Temer as a vampire. Temer is going to run for president again even though he is being impeached. These efforts to run again could lead to leanly in the corruption charges against Temer. After Abby’s talk it lead to a discussion of how political campaigns occur in Brazil specifically that campaigns occur over a much shorter period of time and that adds can only be played on public TV stations and time is divided between parties and then by all the candidates. This is a stark contrast to the American system, with extremely long campaigns and number of ads being dependent on number of funds raised by candidates.

History and Culture post: Natalie “Three Killings”

Natalie informed the class about three killings that occurred over spring break in Brazil and their connection to a recent enacting of a constitutional provision by Temer. Temer gave the military the power to act against the people of Rio. Temer justifies this that it is to target gangs, however, it has been affecting more than just gang members it affects people in favelas, poor people of color. A councilwoman, Marielle Franco, who was responding to a recent death was killed along with her driver. It is believed that she was killed in relation the work she was doing in calling attention to the violence in Rio. There is some media attention that has reclassified this crime as some of the violence that Franco was fighting against. The government has used this to justify the increasing military presence in Rio, even though this is what Franco was fighting against her death is being spun by the media as such (see link below for more)

History and Culture post: Andrew “Yellow Fever”

Andrew discussed the current outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil. There has been a state of health emergency and a major effort to vaccinate the public. Once reason the outbreak is so large is because the health officials underestimated how much the virus would spread. The spread of mosquito borne diseases is greatly affected by transportation technology. The faster technology has allowed mosquitos to survive journeys to new areas which they would not survive the trip if the journey was longer.

“50 Years in 5: Brasilia” Dr. Holt

The study of the creation of Brasilia allows historians to raise the question how city planning can shape a society. Juscelino Kubitschek(JK) was the President of Brazil after Vargas he was a populist. JK created many developmental projects during his term which in order to fund he took out many IMF loans which in order to pay off lead to inflation. When JK was president there also was great fear around the spread of communism.

Book Presentation: Jordan The Modernist City: An Anthropological Critique of Brasilia

Jordan gives an overview of James Holston’s book allowing us as a class to have a further understanding of Brasilia and the goals of creating it. Jordan discussed the goals of creating Brasilia, that it was a way to make Brazil what it could be and how it fell short of that goal. When designing Brasilia, the architects attempted to create a classless society where everyone lives in harmony. That is a fairly lofty goal and they did not even come close to reaching that goal. Brasilia was successful in marking the creation of a new Brazil. The modern architecture of Brasilia was an attempt to change how the citizens live and interact with the city. Jordan has also updated The Modernist City’s Wikipedia page if you are interested in learning more.


Ades aegypti: the species of mosquito that spreads yellow fever along with dengue fever, chikungunya, zika fever, and mayaro.

Further reading:

“The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat” video: 

“Neoliberal vampire” Paraíso de Tuiuti float: 

On Brazilian Campaign ads: 

Police Militarization: 

Effects of Marielle Franco’s death: 

WHO report on Yellow Fever outbreak: 

The Modernist City: 

(The Hour of the Star)

Lespector includes parentheses interjected throughout the novel, these include commentary on life(and death) and on what is occurring in the book. What is the goal/the purpose of these interjections?

These comments are being made by the narrator and they are in parentheses in order to indicate that they are asides and not apart of the normal dialogue. These asides are made by the narrator which is also representative of Lispector herself. The narrator and Lispector are acting like guides through this “murky” flow of consciousness novel. There are many examples indicated that Lispector is showing her own voice in these parentheses. One of these examples is “(I warned that this was a cheap tearjerker, even though I refuse to show any mercy)” (25). This is in reference to the “thirteen titles” that are named at the beginning of the book. Since these titles are a way for Lispector to show the multifaceted aspects of the novel her reference to these draws the reader’s attention to the many titles.

Wikipedia–Alice Dayrell Caldeira Brant

I have chosen to write my article on Alice Dayrell Caldeira Brant. This article has a large content gap; it only has brief biography of Brant. I would like to add more about her diary and create a more extensive biography. This article has no posts on the talk page, giving me a lot of possibilities for this page. This page will improve the coverage of Brazil by the inclusion of youth author. Her diary also gives historians a view into 1890’s life in Brazil therefore making her coverage on Wikipedia important

Research Blog Post

I will study the history of the environmental movement in Brazil. How/when did this movement begin? What forces caused it? Also the history involving deforestation of Brazil. There is the historical context of European countries exporting the Brazilwood to Europe. This investigation will also uncover the changes in motives of the people that are removing the trees.

The Portuguese were the first to export brazilwood, they were selling it to many countries including the British who used it as a dye. It was high in value due to the red color it produced.

I am interested in this project as a Biology major and environmental studies minor, studying the progression of the movement in a country that is not mine. Personally I am interested in agriculture and how that may be a motive


Primary Sources

Dean, Warren. “The First Wave.” In The Brazil Reader History, Culture, Politics, edited by Robert Levine and John Crocitti. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.

Hemming, John. “Noble Savages.” In The Brazil Reader History, Culture, Politics, edited by Robert Levine and John Crocitti. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.

“Map of Brazil, from Miller Atlas by Pedro and Jorge Reinel, Lopo Homen, Cartographers and Antonio de Holanda, Miniaturist, 1519 | Bridgeman Images: DeAgostini Library – Credo Reference.” Accessed February 13, 2018.


Secondary Sources

Dean, Warren. Brazil and the Struggle for Rubber: A Study in Environmental History. Cambridge University Press, 1987.

“Dyes and Dyewood | Iberia and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History – Credo Reference.” Accessed February 13, 2018.

Lockhart, James, and Stuart B. Schwartz. Early Latin America: A History of Colonial Spanish America and Brazil. Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Mittermeier, Russell A., Gustavo A.b. Da Fonseca, Anthony B. Rylands, and Katrina Brandon. “A Brief History of Biodiversity Conservation in Brazil.” Conservation Biology 19, no. 3 (June 1, 2005): 601–7.

Tavares Rocha, Yuri, Andrea Presotto, and Felisberto Cavalheiro. “The representation of Caesalpinia echinata (Brazilwood) in Sixteenth-and-Seventeenth-Century Maps.” Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 79, no. 4 (2007).

A Review of “Race and Ethnicity in Brazil”

The Wikipedia article titled “Race and Ethnicity in Brazil”, overall is a thorough article that covers a wide complex topic. However, that does not mean it is perfect. The subsection on Race and Class has even been flagged by Wikipedia because there are many problems with it. First, there are statistics stated without a citation, which is against the rules of Wikipedia. Secondly, this section does not simply present the facts, which is the goal of the site since it is an encyclopedia, it synthesizes the facts and adds some opinion to them. This also violates the guidelines of Wikipedia.

In the talk section of this article there are many discussions going on, one of which is on the genetics section and whether it should be moved to a different article. The editors are suggesting that a new article be created titled “Population Genetics in Brazil”. They argue that it is not relevant in this article since it adds no information about what the races are and how they are defined. Even though they make good points I disagree with them because the genetic data allows you to determine more information about the racial makeup of the country. The genetic data provides objective numbers on racial makeup as opposed to census data which could be skewed due to false reporting and the subjective determination of race passed only on observation. The genetic data is not skewed like this since it is based on science not observations. For that reason, the genetic data is very relevant if not more relevant than the census data reported in other sections.

This article discusses many topics that we discussed in class. Some including Freyre’s construction of a racial democracy and how this is not really true. Also, the different classifications of race. We also discussed how after the abolition of slavery the government made efforts to “whiten” Brazil.