Basic Working Knowledge of Portuguese Required
This course looks at various different aspects of the Amazon, above all in Brazil–the location of the world’s largest rain forest and a large chunk of the biggest South American nation. Part of the course is devoted to literature and films about today’s Amazonia that we will examine in in multiple ways. As a result, students from other disciplines are welcome. We will highlight the work of present-day authors, musicians, filmmakers, and poets at whom we will look. These include Milton Hatoum, Marcio Souza, Jorge Bodansky, Davi Kopinawa, Luiz Bolognese, Renée Nader Messor, and Maya Da-Rin. In addition, we will look at some of the important names of the past that shaped ideas of the Amazon within and beyond Brazil. At the same time, the course is devoted to past and environmental issues and some of the ways that the changing natural world interacts today with other concerns. These concerns necessarily reflect the presence of indigenous peoples whose lands and cultures have long undergone the presence of outsiders. They also invite some knowledge of politics over time and an understanding of Brazil as a whole in regard to the U.S. and other Latin American countries.