Author Archives: Natalie Souleyrette

What I learned this semester

Since I have learned a lot about Brazil throughout the semester, limiting this to three things will be hard, but here goes!

  1. How race is constructed in Brazil: I thought the conversations and readings that we did regarding the way that race is understood in Brazil was the most eyeopening topic in this class. As an American, learning about a different racial construct and how race is understood by Brazilians was informative and exposed me to how different racial constructs can effect a country.
  2.  Better skills at making an iMovie: I have used iMovie only once before our iMovie assignment so I would still consider myself a rookie at it. Learning how to do a voiceover, pull clips and place them in my iMovie, use music, and other small skills will help me in the future when I use iMovie. 
  3.  How plastic surgery is perceived in Brazil: I thought the reading for this week as well as the student book presentation followed with discussion raised a lot of points about how vanity for men and women are perceived by certain cultures. Given my more Brazilian approach to plastic surgery, I enjoyed reading and learning more about something I am not only interested in but also something that some people think differently about. 

Wasteland Questions

Q1: Is what Vik doing exploitive/borderline cultural appropriation of Brazilian art?

Prelim answer: I think there is an argument both in favor of him being exploitive and culturally appropriating the art created by the catadores/ACAMJD. In ways Vik is westernizing their art by auctioning it off as something that is not representative of Brazil and not fully acknowledging the real artists. This parallels a conversation about African Art in the western world and how it is presented in the art community. On the other hand, we know that Vik comes from a poor socio-economic background and thus would draw the conclusion that he is not exploiting the pickers, rather trying to relate and remind himself about where he comes from (in relation to the pickers low socio-economic status).

Q2: The Portuguese title of Wasteland translates to Lixo Extraordináro. Is there a significance or meaning in this translation to Brazilians?

Prelim answer: while this may not be directly answered in the film, I am still interested to know if there is meaning for the people of Brazil in the title. Given that certain countries movie distributors can dictate the title used or changed, I am interested to see if there was a reason for using this title for Portuguese speaking countries.

Brazilian History & Culture Post

Over spring break, two important killings occurred in Rio de Janeiro. One, the death of Matheus Melo, 23, a poor black man whose death received moderate coverage. His death is one of many for the city and many caused from police brutality. However, his death was taken note by councilwoman Marielle Franco, who in the past month was placed in charge of monitoring the current military intervention. President Michel Temer signed a decree giving the military power to restore order in Rio de Janeiro State. This action is notable because it’s the first time a Brazilian leader has used a constitutional provision to grant the military primary responsibility for providing security to a state since the 1980s. Franco, one of seven women on the 51 seat council and the only black female representative, was elected to the City council in 2016 breaking barriers in Brazilian culture. She was a human rights activist and outspoken advocate against police brutality.

Councilwoman Marielle Franco, 36

On the eve of her killing, Franco had suggested that the death of Matheus Melo was in fact caused by police brutality, and in turn the State’s fault. Leaving a meeting about empowering black women after 9pm, councilwoman Marielle Franco, 38, and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were spayed in her car with bullets and killed. Her death, has received much coverage in Brazil and globally as a clear execution of the part of the state.

Brazil is portrayed in this article from a state-crisis and as less of a democracy. It is important to note that Rio de Janeiro State does not represent all of Brazil but does represent a large and populated part. President Temer is using his constitutional power to maintain military power over the cities which reinforces police brutality and violence. Additionally, the State comes into question with the involvement in Franco’s death, especially since she has been wildly popular and one that was outspoken against some of the State’s actions.

Protest in Rio de Janeiro, March 15

In class we have learned about the Vargas dictatorship and the ways military intervention has been used. Additionally, during this course period the election of Temer was followed and frequently discussed. Brazil in history has been a country of many forms of government and different styles of leadership, something foreign to America. This article is important and hopefully something we follow throughout the rest of our course, with the hopes that this brings attention and change to the State and justice to those killed in police brutality as well as Franco’s family.



3/27 Class Notes

Happy IS Tuesday!

For class today here’s what we did and what you hopefully learned!

Brazilian History & Culture Blog Post: presented by Nasua, we learned about the Natural Hair Movement in Brazil. Recently, Brazil held the first natural hair empowerment march celebrating the various styles and braids worn by Brazilian women!

Book Presentations: presented by Natalie and William, both books were concerned with music, society, producers, and the long term impacts it has had in Brazil.

Following the presentations we viewed and listened to music by Luiz Gonzaga and discussed various genres including Sertaneja, Forró. Later Dr. Holt presented and showed us a few videos concerned about Carmen Miranda.  Our discussion talked about symbols and clothes used as a way to identify as a Brazilian woman, if her dress is cultural appropriation or not, and her appeal to the various social classes. In this class we briefly touched on the readings that needed to be done prior to class and thus can’t tie them back into the class notes.

Key Terms from today:

  • Forró: a genre of Brazilian music that originated from Northeastern Brazil which incorporates various dance styles and beats.
  • Carmen Miranda: Portugese born Brazilian samba singer, dancer, and later Broadway performer famous for her role in the short film Banana’s is My Business as well as The Gang’s All Here.

Three examination questions to think about today post-lecture:

  1. Do you think that the music we listen to today will have a long term impact in our social structures?
  2. What do you think Carmen Miranda represents?
  3. Historical Question for today: How did music in Brazil during the 1930s-1960s impact the social and national identity? In what ways did

Below I have reattached the link from Nasua’s post for people to view if they would like.

40 Incredible Photos from Brazil’s First Natural Hair Empowerment March

Works Cited:

Bryan McCann, Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil (Durham: Duke UP, 2004)

Jack Draper, Forró and Redemptive Regionalism from the Brazilian Northeast: Popular Music in a Culture of Migration (New York: Lang, 2011)





Discussion Question: Hour of the Star

Question: How does Macabea evolve from alienation- if at all?

Macabea is a complex character in that she is alienated by people that one would generally assume to be including her. Her family and boyfriend have tendencies to alienate her. Not as surprisingly, people outside of her socio-economic class alienate her. In an effort not to spoil anything in the blog post (not sure how far people have read), I will not be giving exact examples. However, Olímpico, the boyfriend, gives the reader a perfect example of alienating Macabea. Her feelings that follow Olímpico and Gloria, as well as Gloria’s feelings are all a result of alienation. This is difficult for the reader to analyze because the question if she can overcome this alienation is present. As the reader, I personally am cheering for Macabea to over come this form of adversity and beat out those who alienated her.



Wikipedia Article: Japanese cuisine in São Paulo

For my potential article for the Wikipedia Article assignment I am interested in tackling the Japanese cuisine in São Paulo. There are a few content gaps that I saw in the article. First, the formatting of the page is messy- thus making it more difficult to navigate the page and its information. Secondly, the page does not go into Japanese-Brazilian food, specifically sushi, in other countries. For example, in most of Europe there are many Japanese-Brazilian sushi places in Italy that are certified as such. This article is important for improving the coverage of Brazilian history and culture because this is a relatively new culture in Brazil (Japanese arrived in São Paulo in 1530 but the Brazilian government officially signed a Emigration contract for the coffee labor field in 1907).

The sources available are primarily scholarly secondary sources concerning Japanese culture in Brazil from 1908-1940 as well as 1908-1988. I will also be using Japanese-Brazilian cuisine in other countries as a source from the restaurants/food guidelines and standards as a source. On this Wiki page, there was only one comment on the talk page. This comment was regarding mistranslating of one of the sources used. I think this is an important Wiki page to improve and one that could use my help.


Research Project

For my potential research project I am hoping to discuss the music that moves Brazil. Specifically, I would like to research the Samba and its importance in modern Brazil’s music. Samba is not only a musical genre, but also a dance style. Arriving with African roots to Bahia, Brazil through the sambia de roda- samba quickly spread to the rest of Brazil starting in the 17th century. While Samba came to Brazil in the 17th century, its significance stayed and spread  until present day.

While analyzing Samba, primary sources are important to my research. Having first hand accounts from artists, composers, and dancers enhances my reader’s understanding of Samba. In my research I will focus on the history of Samba, but I primarily will focus on Samba in the 21st century. Gilberto Gil, a composer and a minister of culture in Brazil, submitted to Unesco an application declaring Samba as a a “Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. His involvement  with Samba over the past 60  years contributes to the historical research along with other primary sources.

The scholarly secondary sources are also important to my research. By reading secondary sources and incorporating them into my research, I will be able to give the reader an unbiased account of the history of Samba. Additionally, the secondary sources will contribute to modern Samba in Brazil. One of my secondary sources is Hello, hello Brazil: Popular music in the making of modern Brazil, which also is the book I will be analyzing later in the semester for this class. Having this book pre-assigned for this class only supported the credibility and importance to modern Brazil’s musical history.

In this research I hope to discover two things. First, the history of music in Brazil and some of the important composers, musicians, or DJ’s that helped shape the music movement in Brazil. Secondly, I hope to discover the historical importance of Samba and the relevance that it has in modern Brazil’s music scene today and in the past. Music and dance are important to every culture, Brazil non the less. By understanding an important music and dance in Brazil, we can better understand the culture and social impact.

Scholarly Secondary Sources:

  • McCann, Bryan, 1968. 2004. Hello, hello Brazil: Popular music in the making of modern brazil. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Vianna, Hermano, 1960, and John Charles Chasteen 1955. 1999. The mystery of samba: Popular music and national identity in brazil. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Shaw, Lisa, 1966. 1999. The social history of the brazilian samba. Aldershot, England;Brookfield, VT;: Ashgate.
  • Hertzman, Marc A. 2013;2014;. Making samba: A new history of race and music in brazil. Durham: Duke University Press.

Primary Sources:

  • Jones, Quincy (2002). Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. Three Rivers Press.
  • Pele Telefone, o primeiro samba. CD release.
  • MYERS, R., and G. GIL. 1990. brazilian popular-music in bahia, the politics of the future an interview with gil,gilberto. Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 9 : 297-309.


“Indigenous peoples in Brazil” Wiki Critique

For the most part of the Wikipedia article “Indigenous peoples in Brazil” every topic covered was related to the article. The ‘Native people after the European colonization’ topic headline had too many subheadings under and could’ve been broken into two different headings. That was the most distracting about the Wiki itself. Additionally, I was confused with the statistic portion on religion for the Indigenous peoples. Some of the wordage and lack of correct capitalization was bothersome as well. The article at first glance seems to be neutral. However, throughout the article there is an apparent presentation of indigenous peoples and the uncontacted people as either fully assimilated with the rest of Brazil’s society or unable to assimilate. In a more positive bias, the environmental subtopics in this article are clearly biased in favor of the uncontacted peoples in regards to their land and the Amazon.

While reading, I felt like the viewpoints of the underrepresented were from the lack of research on the tribes and their people. While I understand that is implied in the term uncontested, I am hard pressed that not one person has tried to make efforts in historical research to contact and learn about these tribes. Europe’s role in Brazil is undeniable, but it felt overrepresented in parts because it was not directly pertaining to the Indigenous peoples.  Most of the links that I checked both support the article and also were still working links. There were a few bad links, but none that I felt were out of place or non supportive.  Most of the references were reliable secondary sources. There were a heavier amount of environmental articles cited but still academic sources. These were more neutral sources, with only one anthopological article that I read as slightly biased. There were no biased sources noted within the citations.

There is some older information which raises the question of accuracy. Some of the statistics or references are from the late 90’s and show no signs of being followed up on. This is something that could be improved within the article in order to make it more accurate. There were many comments and modifications noted on the Talk page of the article. The conversations were comments about biases and faults that readers had identified in the article. For example, there was a comment about the Bering Strait Myth and its misuse in the article as it was presented as a proven theory. This comment contained an external link to support their claim and changes to the article. External links have also been modified many times throughout the creation of this Wikipage.  This Wikipage has been rated as a C-Class  page. It ironically has also been rated as a Top-importance page. Since we are still just getting into the course content of our class, I am interested to see how we discuss indigenous people in Brazil vs. the way this Wikipage has.