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LACS 330.51 Field Course in Brazil   [Code 5578]        Prof. K. P. Erickson

POLSC 272.19 Government and Politics in Brazil [Code  5593]    Winter 2010                    



LACS 330 / POLSC 272.19 is a field course in Salvador (Bahia) Brazil to analyze key aspects of the historical legacy and contemporary realities of the Brazilian political system.  Readings and discussion will treat authoritarianism, the transition to democracy, current successes and failures of Brazilian democracy, economic policy, and the role of social movements and popular culture.  Especially in the Bahian context, it will examine globalization, socioeconomic inequality, and the history and legacies of slavery and racism.   

Why Brazil?  Brazil is the world’s fifth largest and fifth most populous country, with the eighth largest economy.  It is a fascinating nation of contrasts and contradictions—of poverty and wealth, of the privileges and the deprivations of race and class, and of economic leaders employing cutting-edge technology while many labor under primitive conditions.  After 20 years of authoritarian rule following the military coup of 1964, social movements, opposition politicians, and some social and political elites brought about the end of the dictatorship and wrote the democratic constitution of 1988.  The once imprisoned labor leader, Lula, is now President of the Republic.  We will see that the realities of society and politics in Brazil are far more complex and sobering than Lula’s electoral victories might lead one to expect.  

Why Salvador?  Capital of colonial Brazil and a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site, Salvador is a now city of 3 million, 1000 miles up the coast from Rio de Janeiro.  It was the center of the colonial sugar industry and one of the principal ports of entry for African slaves brought to work in that industry.  Peopled at independence by Portuguese, enslaved Africans, and Amerindians, Salvador presents itself today as the most African of Brazilian cities, where culture, religion, foods, and, especially, music and the plastic arts all revel in their pluralistic ethnic roots.  The contradictions of race and class are clearly evident.  For graphic and audio illustrations of Salvador and its creative spirit, visit the rich website,, created by “Pardal,” a transplanted New Yorker: .

   Complementing the in-class seminars, this field program will visit museums, churches, monuments, markets, and performance spaces—sites that reflect the history of colonial Portuguese rule, the oppressions of slavery, the expressions of resistance in the popular culture, and the multiculturalism that is Bahia today.  There will also be a one-day trip to Cachoeira and São Felix, historically important inland towns located on opposite sides of the Paraguaçu River. 


 Course requirements include:  reading and reflecting on the assigned readings; participation in discussion on them; participation in field experiences and cultural events; a mid-term exam, on January 14; a brief (5 pages) paper discussing your experiences and reflections on this study-abroad experience, drawn from your diary entries and due January 25; and the final research paper, due March 1.  This paper is due after our return to New York, to allow the topics covered during the course to inspire one’s choice of topic, and then to enable students to take advantage of the library and on-line resources of CUNY before turning in the final draft.  Students must consult with the instructor about research topics.  Guidelines for effective critical and analytic prose are offered in the writing tipsheet that accompanies this syllabus.  

      Attendance is required, because in a colloquium-discussion course all students serve as resource persons for their colleagues.  Our on-the-ground experiences in Bahia will constitute an important component of discussions and of the short paper. Grades will be based on all of the above.  

      The instructor has designed this course to enable students to develop their abilities to read critically; to think comparatively and logically; to write and discuss critically and analytically, organizing their thought into effective analyses or arguments; to acquire knowledge about socioeconomic modernization and about the Brazilian political system; and to take advantage of the unique opportunities that field experiences provide for learning and growth.   

      At Hunter during the Fall 2009 semester, my office hours are: Tuesday, 3:40-4:15 and 7:40-8:30 pm; Friday, 3:40 to 4:15 pm; and by appointment, in room HW1720 (tel. 212-772-5498).  My e-mail address is: .  If you have a junk-mail filter in your email account, please be sure to program it to accept email from my address.  When corresponding with me, always put the course number “330” in the subject line, to route your message into a priority inbox for this course.







"Erickson's notes on science and paradigms," 1-9, and Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3rd ed., (U. of Chicago Press, 1996), 10-21;   

Kingstone, Peter R., & Timothy J. Power (eds.), Democratic Brazil Revisited.  (U. of  Pittsburgh Press, 2008).   

Frances Hagopian, "Politics in Brazil," in Gabriel Almond et al. (eds.), Comparative Politics Today: A World View, 9th ed. (Longman, 2008), 506-561.  

K. P. Erickson, "Brazil: Corporative Authoritarianism, Democratization, and Dependency," in Howard J. Wiarda & Harvey Kline (eds.), Latin American Politics and Development, 2nd ed. (Westview, 1985), 160-192; 



Kingstone, Peter R., & Timothy J. Power (eds.), Democratic Brazil Revisited  (U. of  Pittsburgh Press, 2008).   

Frances Hagopian, "Politics in Brazil," in Gabriel Almond et al. (eds.), Comparative Politics Today: A World View, 9th ed. (Longman, 2008), 506-561.  



Conrad Phillip Kottak.  Assault on Paradise: The Globalization of a Little Community in Brazil, 4th ed. (McGraw-Hill, 2006). 

Salvador Sandoval, “Working-Class Contention,” in Mauricio Font, et al (eds.). Reforming Brazil (Lexington Books, 2004), 195-215.   




João José Reis Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia.  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974, 1993). 

Thomas E. Skidmore Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought. (Duke University Press, 1993). 

Pierre-Michel Fontaine, ed.  Race, Class, and Power in Brazil.  (Center for Afro-American Studies, UCLA, 1985).   

Bernd Reiter,  Negotiating Democracy in Brazil: The Politics of Exclusion. Boulder: First Forum Press, 2009.  

Bernd Reiter and Gladys Mitchell. “Embracing Hip Hop as their Own: Hip Hop and Black Racial Identity in Brazil,” in: Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, Vol. 27, 2008, 151-165.  

Bernd Reiter, “Fighting exclusion with culture and art: Examples from Brazil,” International Social Work 2009; 52; 155-166.  

Bernd Reiter, “Inequality and School Reform in Bahia, Brazil,” International Review of Education (2009) 55:345–365.  

Berne Reiter. “The Limits of Popular Participation in Salvador, Brazil,” in: Journal of Developing Societies, 3, Volume 24, 2008, Vol 24(3): 337–354.  

Marcio Goldman.  “An Ethnographic Theory of Democracy:  Politics from the Viewpoint of Ilhéus’s Black Movement (Bahia, Brazil).  Ethnos, Vol 66:2 (2001), 157-180.  

    V.  CONCLUSION.   




All essays should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.  Essays should make a point or an argument, and illustrate it with supporting evidence. 

Consider the argument of a book review.  In most cases, monographic studies address a debate in their discipline.  They take a position that accepts, illustrates, and perhaps refines the prevailing wisdom (dominant paradigm) in the field, or they criticize that prevailing wisdom and present data to support an alternative explanation of the phenomenon under study.  Reviewers should present the main point or argument of the book or books they treat, along with their evaluation of the arguments, logic, evidence, coherence, and clarity of the book or books.  Student reviewers should be able to reread their reviews two years after writing them and effectively recall the key ideas and substance of a book, as well as their evaluation or criticism of it. 

Writers should always make the logic of their thought explicit, on the level of overall organization, on the level of paragraphs, and on the level of sentences.  They should also make explicit the logic of the processes they describe or analyze.  One effective way to make clear the overall logic of a paper, chapter, or dissertation/book is to begin it with an introductory “roadmap” paragraph or section.  

Paragraphs should begin with topic sentences, and long paragraphs should be broken into smaller ones, each with its own topic sentence.  One of the reasons why long paragraphs usually do not make their thought as clear as shorter ones is that long paragraphs include more than one component of a thought, but they contain only one topic sentence.  Breaking up a long paragraph into two or more smaller ones, therefore, is not simply responding to esthetic desires for more white space on a page.  Rather, when writers break up long paragraphs, they necessarily must link the components of an argument with more topic sentences, thereby making their logic more explicit. 

Illustrations, preferably brief, should be provided for each generalization. 

Writers should write for a hypothetical intelligent but uninformed reader, so that they are forced to make explicit the logic and the data on which they make their argument.  

In selecting words for strong and effective argument, remember that verbs are much stronger than nouns or other types of words, and that transitive verbs (those that force the reader to include a subject and an object, i.e., to state who did what to whom) in the active voice are the strongest.  Avoid passives and intransitive verbs (for they tend to lose information, because passives do not require a subject and intransitives do not require an object) and impersonal constructions where nouns replace verbs.  For example, "there was a meeting where it was decided that…" conveys less information and thus is not as strong as "party leaders held a meeting where they decided that…."  

Fernando Fajnzylber's phrasing below, for example, in his brilliant but difficult to read (and therefore impossible to assign as required reading) Unavoidable Industrial Restructuring in Latin America (1990), p. 47 relies on nouns that he could have replaced with verbs: "In Japan and in large U.S. corporations, estimates have prognosticated a duplication in the production during the next fifteen to twenty years, with a reduction in employment of between 25 and 40 percent." 

A sharp copyeditor could have forced him to check his data and change his formulation to something like:  "Japanese and US corporate studies predict that, over the next fifteen to twenty years, production will double while employment will decline by 25 to 40 percent." 

Students are expected to proofread their papers before submitting them, so that typographical errors and spelling errors have been corrected.  Students should routinely do such proofreading, out of self-respect as well as out of respect for their instructor.  

In the case of papers submitted for this course, those averaging more than three spelling or typographical errors per page over three or more pages will be returned ungraded.  The corrected version, when resubmitted, will be graded two-thirds of a letter grade below the grade the work would otherwise earn (e.g., a B+ would become a B-, and a B would become a C+).  Students who are not strong spellers should be attentive to prompts from their word processor's spelling checker.  

Papers for this course should be typed, double-spaced, stapled, and not in plastic or other folders.  Hand-written exams should also be double-spaced.  

I grade papers on the basis of their organization, logic, coherence, originality, evaluative criticism, data, and clarity.  

Some symbols I use in my penned comments:  

      Circled words or letters indicate spelling errors.  A line linking circled words suggests overuse of a word, inconsistency or contradiction in use, or some other problem. 

      [  ] Brackets indicate a word choice that I question.  Reconsider the word, even though you may choose to stick with your original word.  Brackets also may indicate a passage that I have commented on in the margin.  I sometimes add delete marks to brackets, suggesting that you drop the passage. 

         A lower-case "d" in the margin is for diction, i.e., to signal that the sentence next to the "d" does not say well what it seeks to say, perhaps for reasons of grammar or simply due to confusing construction or word choice (e.g., Fajnzylber’s sentence above).  

      ant   "Antecedent," raises questions about the antecedent of a pronoun or adjective, i.e. ambiguity or error in attribution, as with "they" to refer to a singular noun earlier in the sentence.  I also use it also to indicate that you are treating a topic as if the reader is already familiar with it, when in fact it has not yet been introduced. 

      logic   When I write "logic" in your ms., it is to signal some break in the internal logic that your exposition seeks to develop.  

      trans  Transition needed between components of a thought.   

      Parallel upright lines, with diagonal line through them.  Grammatical structures or arguments are not parallel.  



Notes drafted for inclusion on syllabi (graduate and advanced undergraduate courses), as guidelines for organizing scholarly papers:  

   Political science, like any other discipline in the natural or social sciences, seeks to identify patterns, processes, or phenomena and to explain how and why they work the way they do.  To explain or illuminate such processes or phenomena, political scientists use analytical concepts to organize data and to formulate and assess explanatory theories and hypotheses.  Students writing in the discipline of political science therefore should focus their research and write-up on a key conceptual/theoretical issue of importance to them and to the discipline.   

   Ideally, in papers, theses, and dissertations, and later in journal articles, one should (1) begin with a brief review of conceptual/ theoretical interpretations or explanations of how some political process or phenomenon works, then (2) show how the prevailing explanation or concept falls short in some way, and finally (3) propose some new concept or refinement of a hypothesis that would better explain the phenomenon.  Then one can (4) move to specific, operationalizable hypotheses that can be examined with real data in order to infer the answer to the overarching, broader hypothesis.  

   Within this framework, one can then elaborate a case study that assembles the data to answer one's questions.  And as one proceeds with the case material, one needs to make systematic, explicit reference to the theories or hypotheses that the case material helps one address.  That is, one should provide the reader with explicit connective tissue that integrates the empirical components of the study with its theoretical and conceptual framework.  This task of making a writer's logic explicit, addressed in the writing tipsheet, is what distinguishes an inspired, outstanding manuscript from an inspired but merely good one, and this increases its likelihood of being accepted for publication by the editors of a journal or press.  

   The identification of shortcomings or needed refinements in a theory or hypothesis usually comes after some work in graduate school, so students at earlier stages are more likely to draw upon a prevailing concept or hypothesis to gather and organize data to illuminate some specific problem or issue.  In comparative politics, for example, one might use a generally accepted hypothesis to organize the questions asked and the data gathered about some process in a country or context of one's choosing, for example, the role of elite pacting in democratization or the impact of electoral or parliamentary rules on party accountability.   

   Well designed case studies of this type have considerable academic value.  When preparing a manuscript to submit for publication in comparative politics, one should keep in mind that the board of a journal will surely prefer a manuscript that seeks to refine an accepted concept or to develop a new one.  Such a journal, however, will also consider seriously a case study applying an accepted concept in a way that can be replicated, cumulatively, in other contexts for the development of comparative analysis.  And journals devoted to specific regions or nations explicitly seek out such case studies.

[Revised January 2008]


Academic Dishonesty and University Policies


   The Hunter College Senate passed the following resolution on May 11, 2005:  “Hunter College regards acts of academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism, cheating on examinations, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents) as serious offenses against the values of intellectual honesty.  The college is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to the Hunter College Academic Integrity Procedures.” 

   The College and University policy on academic honesty and dishonesty is set forth in the Hunter College Undergraduate Catalogue, 2007-2010 (p. 71):  “The use of material (whether or not purchased) prepared by another and submitted by students as their own will result in disciplinary proceedings.”  Section 15.3.a of the Student Disciplinary Procedure Bylaws of CUNY (on p. 275 of the same catalogue) instructs members of the college community:   “Any charge, accusation, or allegation…must be submitted in writing in complete detail to the office of the dean of students promptly by the individual…making the charge.”  The dean’s office then investigates and disposes of such cases.   

   The reason that academic communities consider academic dishonesty such a serious offense is thatscientific research and learning—and hence the very life of the academic enterprise—are built on a foundation of truth.  Without that foundation, academic institutions would lack the integrity that permits critical analysis and that, from a utilitarian perspective, fosters scientific, economic, and social progress.  

   To make the case that academic honesty is indispensable to scholarly work in the social sciences, let me begin with a discussion of the natural sciences.  Students who perform laboratory experiments must carefully record their procedures in their lab reports.  This enables them, and their instructors, to verify that their findings are correct, or, if not, to know why not.  Such record keeping is not simply a make-work exercise.  Students follow the same procedures as professional scientists, who must keep careful records of their work so that their colleagues, critics, or successors can replicate the original experiments to test their work and verify (or, depending on the results, qualify or reject) their findings.   

   For library research in the social sciences, correct and complete citation is analogous to rigorous laboratory procedure in the physical sciences.  Scholars in the social sciences take careful notes so that their evidence can be checked and their work replicated or challenged by other social scientists.  This enables knowledge and understanding to evolve as researchers confirm, refine, or reject prevailing paradigms of explanation.  And, just as laboratory experiments and lab notes must represent a student’s own work, so too must research papers or other written work—properly documented—be the student’s own.  

   In June 2004, CUNY adopted an updated policy on academic integrity.  It is consistent with, but not identical to, the regulations above, and can be viewed in detail at:  


MU-H 261 Brazilian Music: Understanding the Historical Richness of Brazil

Dr. Cristina Tourinho

Salvador, January, 2010

Meetings: Monday through Friday: 9:00 to 12:00 a.m.

Office hours by appointment



About the Course

     This course is about Brazilian music, its history and appreciation. It will include music made in Brazil from the 1500s to nowadays, by Brazilian composers or others who have lived here. We believe in a holistic view, without distinction among any kind of style, genre or period. The objectives of the class are to gain the large insight into variety of Brazilian music. The class meetings will primarily comprise cultural Brazilian context and historical background, through the use of DVDs, CDs, photos, power point texts and also live music. Students are expected to do exercises, singing, writing reflective response essays to be completed during class

Course prerequisites:

Students should have taken at least one of the following Hunter introductory music courses (or equivalent)

MU-H101 Introduction to Music

MU-H 107 The World of Music

MU-T 101 Music Theory Fundamentals

Grade requirements and class policies:

     We expect to encourage the students to recognize composers, players, pieces and styles. The course also aims to give students the opportunity to share their knowledge with other members of the class. We will use quizzes and appreciation exercises.

     a) Attendance is a required and necessary component of the course (10%)

     b) There will be 2 (two) tests in order to assess students’ comprehension, using small excerpts of the pieces, when they should recognize the author, the player, the style and the name of the piece (20% each one = 40%)

     c) Finally, there will a paper (1.500-2.000 words, with abstract and bibliography references), to be sent by e-mail to  no later thanMarch, 7.


     The following topics will be covered during the course:

Day Subject
01 General overview of the Brazilian music and the topics that will be studied.
02 The Modinha and the Lundu: influences in the Brazilian music after 1808. The Legacy of the African slaves. Influences of European composers.

The music of Minas Gerais ( Barroco Mineiro).

03 Choro: an early instrumental style. Varieties of choro: choro-canção; chorinho; samba-choro.
04 The legacy of Brazilian music schools: how teaching/learning music developed. The nationalism in Brazil.
05 Villa Lobos: the man, his work and educational project for Brazilian schools. The 1922 week.

Test no 1.

06 Bossa Nova: the samba known worldwide; bossa nova and jazz.
07 Tropicália
08 Samba, Brazilian national music.

Varieties of Samba: samba-de-roda, samba-de-breque; samba-canção, samba-funk; samba-côco; afro-samba. From Carmen Miranda to samba of today.

09 The music and Carnival. Carnival in the streets of Salvador, the Samba´s Schools of Rio and the Frevo in Recife.
10 MPB: sophisticated lyrics and songs

Test no. 2.

11 Musica Brega and Musica Caipira, loved by millions. The Romantic Music of Roberto Carlos and Jovem Guarda.
12 Some Brazilian music of regional identity: capoeira music; bumba-meu-boi; maracatu; baião and forró.

Required material:

The students should acquire this book:


 Murphy, John P. Music in Brazil: experiencing music expressing culture (includes CD). Oxford University Press, 2006. 

The students will receive a packet at the beginning of the course, provided by the professor: this packet comprises one recorded CD with music examples, a detailed schedule class and a selection of texts. 

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