Brazilian Studies and Portuguese at Vanderbilt
Founded in 1947 as the country’s first Institute of Brazilian Studies, CLAS has maintained and strengthened its historic ties to Brazil. With student and faculty collaborations spanning history, languages, anthropology, political science, business, medicine, law, art and education, CLAS fosters a holistic approach to understanding Brazil’s past, present, and future.
Courses of Study and Student Exchanges
Vanderbilt is home to one of the top Portuguese programs in the country. We have over 20 faculty specializing in Brazil (history; anthropology; Portuguese; economics; medicine, health and society; art; law; business; biology; Earth and environmental sciences; sociology; political science; and medicine). Our library holdings on Brazil are among the strongest in the country. We also have a core institutional partnership with the University of São Paulo (USP). The center offers an innovative undergraduate Brazilian Studies Minor, as well as a joint Américas MBA between Vanderbilt Owen School of Management and USP-Fundação Instituto de Administração (FIA). Each year USP-FIA students participate in a week-long program at the Owen School. In addition, the Vanderbilt Law School has faculty and student exchanges with Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV)-São Paulo. We offer a summer program in Brazilian Portuguese and Culture in São Paulo through collaboration with Tulane University and PUC-São Paulo, as well as targeted Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships to study Brazilian Portuguese. We also host Brazilian STEM undergraduates and CAPES student exchanges. From 2001-2015 we collaborated with four Brazilian universities for four FIPSE-CAPES student exchange programs.
Research and International Collaboration
The work of Vanderbilt’s Brazilianist Faculty spans several topics, including history, anthropology, economics and economic development, political science, art, and medicine. Our renowned history program focuses on nation-building and the economic and business history of Brazil, and is a pioneer of Atlantic World Studies and Brazil’s historic connections with Africa and Europe. We are home to a major digitization project of Brazilian slave trade archives (ESSSS), led by Jane Landers, and have a strong anthropology program that focuses native peoples and culture.
Joint research projects on economic policies and higher education in Brazil bring together Vanderbilt’s Peabody School of Education and University of São Paulo’s School of Economics. Collaborative conferences in São Paulo and Nashville have focused on U.S. and Brazilian higher education policy, higher education finance, access and residency issues and performance incentives. There is a deep history of ties between the Graduate Program in Economic Development (GPED) and Brazil. In addition, the Humphreys Fellows program brings accomplished mid-career leaders from Brazil and other countries to Vanderbilt for an academic year to study at our Peabody School of Education. Vanderbilt has a collaborative research grant with the Research Foundation for the State of São Paulo (FAPESP).
The Vanderbilt Trans-Institutional Programs (TIPS) Initiative “Building a Multidisciplinary Approach to Assessing the Quality of Health Care in Brazil” brings together a group of faculty from across the University and Medical School. They are developing a survey that will asses healthcare satisfaction in the Rio de Janeiro favela, Rocinha. The group meets regularly to collaborate on the creation of a survey instrument, with plans to begin carrying out pre-testing in the coming months. For more information about this project and the related speaker series, please click here.
An innovative collaborative art project between Vanderbilt visual artists and USP colleagues involves anthropology and philosophy to explore the history and representation of the Brazilian city, Brazilian architecture, and issues of cultural and religious responses to environmental change. This collaboration has led to exhibitions in São Paulo and Nashville.
LAPOP, the largest public opinion poll in the hemisphere, is partnered with the University of Brasilia. The Brazilian survey covers 2,482 households, representing five main geographic regions Vanderbilt’s Institute for Coffee Studies has worked closely with Brazilian coffee producers’ associations to promote biomedical research on health and coffee.
Additional projects include: the Regional Prospective Observation Research for Tuberculosis (RePORT Brazil), which is a joint collaboration between Vanderbilt and six sites in Brazil funded by NIH and the Brazilian Ministry of Health; Caribbean, Central and South American Network (CCASAnet) for HIV epidemiology with sites in Rio, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte; and Coorte Brasil, which is a retrospective study of Brazilian and United States clinical cohorts examining HIV and cancer.
Brazilian Studies Reading Group
The Brazilian Studies Reading Group (BSRG) is co-sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Center for Latin American Studies. This group brings together faculty and graduate students from history, political science, literature, sociology, art, anthropology, music, pedagogy, and Latin American studies. The Brazilian Studies Reading Group aims at raising the profile of research related to Brazil on Vanderbilt’s campus by bringing visiting speakers and providing a forum for the discussion of contemporary Brazilian topics. For upcoming BSRG events, please visit the CLAS Calendar.
CLAS sponsors an annual Brazil Week with capoeira, soccer matches, music and poetry, a Festa Junina celebration, and a number of other events which are open to the public including lectures by visiting speakers, films and professional conferences.
The CLAS Outreach program offers K-12 teacher professional development workshops to introduce Brazil and the Portuguese language in primary and secondary schools in Tennessee and across the country. We also conduct workshops for businesses with interests in Brazil.
Vanderbilt Faculty who work in Brazil
- Dominique Béhague (Medicine, Health and Society)
- Tony Brown (Sociology)
- Celso Castilho (History)
- Jessica Castilho (School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases)
- Beth Conklin (Anthropology)
- Marshall Eakin (History)
- Earl Fitz (Portuguese)
- Guilherme Gualda (Earth and Environmental Sciences)
- Maria Luisa Jorge (Biological Sciences)
- Jane Landers (History)
- Tara McKay (Medicine Health and Society)
- Alicia Monroe (African American and Diaspora Studies)
- Emanuelle Oliveira (Portuguese)
- Vesna Pavlovic (Art)
- Tim Sterling (School of Medicine)
- Hermano Rocha (Business)
- Mitch Seligson (LAPOP/Political Science)
- Randall Thomas (Art)
- Gilman Whiting (African American and Diaspora Studies)
- Bart Victor (Business)
- Mel Ziegler (Art)
- Isleide Zissimos (Economics)
- Nicolette Kostiw (Latin American Studies)