Brazilian Scholars to Meet at Duke Feb. 17 for Discussion of Dams, Education and Impeachment

Scholars from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences will share discussions on Brazilian politics, nature and culture at the Global Brazil Conference at Duke on Friday, Feb. 17.

Sponsored by the Global Brazil Lab of the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Duke Brazil Initiative, this third annual meeting will involve students and faculty discussing aspects of and connections between art, politics, culture, education and the environment.

The conference will be held in the Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall in the Smith Warehouse close to East Campus.

The first session will focus on the increasing political and policy salience of race with a talk by the president-elect of the Brazilian Studies Association, Gladys L Mitchell-Walthour from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The panel that follows includes presentations on the Bass Connections project on higher education, the impeachment of Brazilian president, and changing policies granting increased legal rights to domestic servants.

The second session will showcase research by Christine Folch, assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Duke and co-director at Global Brazil Lab and DBI, on Itaipú Hydroelectric Dam (Brazil-Paraguay) and the long term sustainability of renewable energy-led development, which Folch describes “a game-changer in both Brazil and Paraguay as well as the region and a unique opportunity for Duke students to spearhead pragmatic policy-oriented research.” Jacob Blanc of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will lecture on the local impact of the dam.

Shifting to culture, the arts, and politics in the third session, Christopher Dunn of Tulane University will speak about the counterculture that emerged in opposition to Brazil’s authoritarian regime of the 1960s and 70s. The lecture will be followed by a conversation with co-director Esther Gabara, E. Blake Bryne Associate Professor of Romance Studies and Art at Duke. Dunn and Gabara will discuss counterculture and pop art of the period, the topic of an international exhibit she is curating for the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke.

The conference will conclude with a Brazilian musical presentation and reception.

John French, co-director of the Global Brazil Lab and DBI, said the conference will provide “exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue and debate between graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and the Brazil-interested community of the Triangle. All are welcome.”