Four-week Teaching Module on Brazil
Kenyon Stebbins, Cultural Anthropologist
411 Hodges Hall
P.O. Box 6326
West Virginia University
Morgantown , WV 26506
Tel. 304/23-5801 ext. 1645
Email KSTEBBIN@WVU. EDU
This teaching module has been designed for use in "Latin American Cultures" -- an anthropology class that has been offered annually at WVU by Dr. Stebbins since his arrival at WVU in 1987.
Approximate enrollment is 40 to 50 students per semester.
This teaching module on Brazil is designed for a 4 week module, as part of a 15 week semester course.
The module includes:
1. a 4-week lesson plan
2. a revised syllabus
3. a narrative description
4. Internet teaching resources
7. case studies
These specific elements are included in the hopes that other faculty members will be able to benefit from them.
Kenyon Stebbins, PhD
1. A 4-week lesson plan
This 4-week lesson plan includes an outline of both content and method. An individual lesson plan in included for each class session in the 4 week unit.
The class meets twice a week for 75 minutes each time.
As noted on the attached syllabus, the 4 weeks devoted to the Brazil will emphasize a very recent ethnography by anthropologist Tobias Hecht, At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast
Brazil (1998, New York: Cambridge University Press)
2. A revised syllabus
As a result of the Brazil experience, I have incorporated an extensive four-week unit concentrating on Brazil. Despite teaching this course for 11 years, this is the first time I have devoted more than one week to Brazil. Because of my first-hand experience in Brazil during June 1998, I feel very qualified to incorporate this unit on Brazil.
The four-page syllabus (attached) has been revised from previous years to reflect the new emphasis on Brazil. The syllabus provides an overview of the course, including course description, course
objectives, and attendance & evaluation policies. The syllabus also includes a lengthy "personal note about the course."
The fourth page of the syllabus provides a detailed, day-by-day schedule of readings for the semester. The first 4 weeks of the courses concentrate on Brazil, with students required to read portions of the Hecht book for every class session until the first exam, which occurs at the beginning of the fifth week of class. This first exam will focus almost entirely on Brazil.
3. A narrative description
The Brazil unit (4 weeks) in my Latin American Cultures class will focus on Tobias Hecht's book, At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. For each of 7 sessions (3 1/2 weeks) students will be assigned various chapters of the Hecht book. Class lectures & discussion will relate to the assigned readings. After 3 1/2 weeks, the students will take a full-period exam covering the Brazil material.
Because I have not yet read most of the Hecht book (there goes my Christmas vacation!), I can provide only minimal material at this time. What lecture materials I include during each class session
will depend largely on what is covered in each Hecht chapter.
The first session will concentrate on the Appendix ("The Setting: Recife, Olinda, and Northeast Brazil") . Because the setting is a place where our FACDIS tour spent days, I will be able to provide
students with a first-hand report of my impressions of the city. Unfortunately, I did not learn about the Hecht book until after I returned from Brazil.
The second session will concentrate on the Introduction and Chapter 1 ("Speaking of the Street").
The third session will concentrate on Chapter 2 ("Being in the Street").
The fourth session will concentrate on Chapter 3 ("'Home Children' :Nurtured Childhood and Nurturing Childhood), and Chapter 4 ("Betraying Motherdom: Malogueiros and 'That Life' in the Street").
The fifth session will concentrate on Chapter 5 ("When Life Is Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Violence and Street Children")
The sixth session will concentrate on Chapter 6 ("Curing Street Children, Rescuing Childhood"), and Chapter 7 ("Street Children and Their 'Clients' ").
The seventh session will concentrate on the Conclusion ("The Ephemeral Lives of Street Children").
The eighth session will be devoted to a full-period (75 minute) written exam.
Selected bibliography of recent anthropology-related books on Brazil:
1. Brazilian Mosaic: Portraits of a Diverse People, G. Harvey Summ, ed. 1995, Scholarly Resources.
2. The Brazilians, by Joseph A. Page. 1995, Addison-Wesley.
3. Through Amazonian Eves: The Human Ecology of Amazonian Populations, by Emilio F. Moran. 1993, Univ. of Iowa Press.
4. Voices from the Amazon, by Binka Le Breton. 1993, Kumarian Press.
5. Forest Dwellers, Forest Protectors: Indigenous Models for International Development, by Richard Reed. 1997, Allyn & Bacon.
6. The Wanano Indians of the Brazilian Amazon: A Sense of Space, by Janet M. Chernela. 1993, Univ. of Texas Press.
7. Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil, by Nancy Scheper-Hughes. 1992, Univ. of California Press.
8. The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey on Two Rivers, by Moritz Thomsen. 1990, Graywolf Press.
9. With Broadax and Firebrand: The Destruction of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, by Warren Dean. 1995, Univ. of California Press.
10. After the Trees: Living on the Transamazon Highway, by Douglas Ian Stewart. 1994, Univ. of Texas Press.
11. Tropical Rainforests: Latin American Nature and Society in Transition, by Susan E. Place (editor). 1993, Scholarly Resources, Inc.
The audio-visual library at West Virginia University has the following films that might be relevant to my class discussions regarding Brazil:
1. "Miracles are not enough" examines the changing role of religion and the Catholic Church in Brazil & Nicaragua.
2. "Amazon" tells of the river's "discovery" by the Portuguese, the effects of the sugar & rubber removal, as well as the beauty and utility of the forests and the deadly effect thereof on Amazonian and the ecology of the globe.
3. "Amazon: Land of the Flooded Forest" is a National Geographic video portraying the tropical wonderland, and how a profusion of wildlife flourishes when the annual 50-foot deep waters
(from torrential rains) transform the dry forest floor into a breathtaking sight).
4. "Bahia" examines the African cultural traditions preserved by the people of Bahia, in their music, dance, art, food, and especially the Candomble religion.
5. "Continent Crucified: Brazil" enters the slums of Sao Paulo to trace the dilemma of the Catholic Church, divided between those who side with the poor and others who backed whatever regime was in power.
6. "The Forbidden Land" deals with the Catholic Church in Brazil, examining the struggle between the progressive Catholic Church which is attempting to defend the rights of the landless peasants, and the Vatican, which is attempting to silence prominent Brazilian priests and bishops.
7 "Kayapo" examines the first tribe to have their own "air force, and looks at how their independent life changed when gold was discovered on their land.
8. "Life and Death in Rio" examines conditions in Rio de Janeiro, especially housing and health and life expectancy in the poor areas where most people reside.
Case studies can be useful for illustrating concepts regarding subjects with which students have little personal contact, which is the case for most anthropology courses.
While I am using Tobias Hecht's ethnography (At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil (1998, New York:Cambridge University Press) there are others that might be useful as well. Some are listed below:
1. Through Amazonian Eyes: The Human Ecology of Amazonian Populations, by Emilio F. Moran. 1993, Univ. of Iowa Press.
2. Voices from the Amazon, by Binka Le Breton. 1993, Kumarian Press.
3. Forest Dwellers, Forest Protectors: Indigenous Models for International Development, by Richard Reed. 1997, Allyn & Bacon.
4. The Wanano Indians of the Brazilian Amazon: A Sense of Space by Janet M. Chernela. 1993, Univ. of Texas Press.
5. Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil, by Nancy Scheper-Hughes. 1992, Univ. of California Press.
6. After the Trees: Living on the Transamazon Highway, by Douglas Ian Stewart. 1994, Univ. of Texas Press.
SOC/ANTH 155-- CULTURES OF LATIN AMERICA
Spring 1999: Tues & Thurs 10:00 - 11:15 a.m. in 316 Hodges Hall
Dr. Kenyon Stebbins, 411 Hodges Hall
Office Hours: Tues & Thurs 11:20 am - 12:00 pm, and by appt.
Office Phone: 293-5801, ext. 1645; (Answering machine 24 hrs/day)
1. At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. By Tobias Hecht, 1998.
2. Harvest of Violence: The Maya Indians and the Guatemalan Crisis, Robert Carmack (editor), 1988.
3. Waorani: The Contexts of Violence and War. By C & C Robarchek, 1998.
4. Don't Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks From the Heart: The Story of Elvia Alvarado. Translated by Medea Benjamin, 1989.
5. Mountainlair copy center package of 7 readings (approx. $3).
Recommended text: I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. 1984/1991.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This anthropology course is a survey of the cultures of Latin America. Various aspects of present-day Latin America are considered by analyzing how social, cultural, economic, political, religious, historical and geographic factors impact on contemporary lifeways. In keeping with anthropological tradition, this course pays special attention to how Latin Americans view various aspects of their culture. [See "Personal note" on page 3.]
COURSE OBJECTIVES: To expose students to the various cultures of Latin America, and to enable students to better understand contemporary events in the region, and the impact of external factors on everyday life, as reported by North American and Latin American social scientists.
ATTENDANCE: Attendance is required at all class periods, since each class period is a "review session" for the material assigned. To encourage you to attend class and to keep current on reading assignments, attendance and pop quizzes will count 10 % of your grade. Given the size of the class, it is imperative that we all be considerate of one another. If you want to chat, do so elsewhere. Disruptive students will be asked to leave the class.
EVALUATION: Your course grade will be determined as follows:
Map/geography quiz = 50 pts. Attendance & pop quizzes = 50 pts.
Exam 1 = 100 pts; Exam 2 = 100 pts; Exam 3 = 100 pts; Final Exam = 100 pts.
All exams will be in the regular classroom. Exam questions will be primarily short answer. All exams will be closed book, closed notes, and will cover required readings and lectures, films, and class discussion. Any pop quizzes will cover the reading material assigned for that class period, and should be an easy "A" if you have done the assigned reading. Occasional optional assignments may be made during the semester which may help on borderline grades. Cheating is a serious offense, and will result in disciplinary action.
PARTICIPATION: Although this class size is not ideal for discussion, I encourage you to ask questions or make comments as we go along.
MAKE-UP EXAMS: You are expected to take all exams as scheduled. A written excuse should be presented before an exam if a family emergency or personal illness will result in your missing a regularly scheduled exam. Failure to notify the instructor (or his departmental office) may result in a refusal to
give you a make-up exam. Any late exam grade score will count no higher than the average of your other exams. [There will be no make-up quizzes.)
TERM PAPER (optional):
Anyone wishing to pursue a topic in more depth is encouraged to write a term paper. You must notify me in writing (with a proposed subject, bibliography, and outline) by Fri., Feb. 20 at the latest. Papers are due no later than Tues. April 28. I will be happy to help you in any way I can. The term paper will not replace any exam, but will be worth up to 100 points (or 1/6th of your course grade).
STUDENT RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES: WVU and the Dept. of Soc. & Anthro. have official documents about your rights and responsibilities as students (e.g. syllabi, exams, grading policy, instructor access, & course evaluation) . You are encouraged to consult these documents concerning questions on any course.
SPECIAL STUDENTS: Any student with a problem that might interfere with your progress in this course should contact me early in the semester so that special arrangements can be made, if necessary.
FINAL NOTE: I will do all that I can to make this an interesting and worthwhile course. However, the ultimate value that you will derive from this course depends to a great extent on what you put into it. It is
essential that you keep current on the readings and that you attend class regularly.
MAP/GEOGRAPHY QUIZ -- Thursday, January 22.
You are responsible for knowing the location for each of the following countries, and the name of each capital city: Mexico (Mexico City), Guatemala (Guatemala City), El Salvador (San Salvador), Honduras (Tegucigalpa), Nicaragua (Managua), Costa Rica (San Jose), Panama (Panama City), Colombia (Bogota), Venezuela (Caracas), Ecuador (Quito), Peru (Lima), Bolivia (La Paz), Chile (Santiago), Argentina (Buenos Aires), Uruguay (Montevideo), Paraguay (Asuncion), Brazil (Brazilia), and Cuba (Havana).
In addition, you are responsible for knowing the location (but not the capital city) for each of the following countries: Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Guyana. Surinam. and French Guiana.
In addition. you are responsible for knowing the locations of the following cities: Oaxaca (Mexico), Cuzco (Peru), Manaus (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
In addition. you are responsible for knowing the locations of the following geographic features: Amazon River, Amazon Basin, Andes mountains, Panama Canal, Lake Titicaca (Peru/Bolivia), Tierra del Fuego (Chile/Argentina).
NOTE: Anyone taking the map/geography quiz late will be penalized one grade for each day late.
A PERSONAL NOTE ABOUT THE COURSE
Political ideology from both the right and left have obscured recent events in Latin America, especially those involving peasants and Indians. Many aspects of contemporary Latin America have not been understood generally by the American public, nor by many of its political servants. Anthropologists, using their field experience, relations with peasant and Indian informants, direct observation of events, and social scientific perspective, are uniquely qualified to clarify the often tragic reality of the human condition in Latin America. Many anthropologists believe that once the nature and extent of the tragedy befalling Latin Americans is finally understood by the American public, it will begin to take steps through its elected officials to alter present US policy toward Latin America.
If there is an underlying bias to this course, it is toward the social democratic option for Latin America. Most anthropologists believe that accommodation between the rich and the poor, the landed and the landless, or capitalists and industrial workers is possible if political systems controlled by the rich, the landed, and the owners of capital would pursue enlightened policies. Anthropologists also agree that certain political systems of Latin America have failed to do this, and that the United States bears some responsibilities for these failures.
Some materials used in this course are critical of U.S. foreign policy. As painful as it may be to criticize US policy, it would be intellectually dishonest not to include these materials in a course on Latin American Cultures. An indication of how widespread such criticisms are can be seen in the remarks below, extracted from 2 recent articles in the Annual Review of Anthropology. Although the remarks come from articles concerning Central America, they are not irrelevant to other regions of Latin America.
Virtually all scholars of the current scene see US intervention as the major force preventing Central Americans from resolving their economic and political crises. To the degree that US policies prevent the needed radical reforms from occurring, they make violent revolutions inevitable. [p.202]
A consistent and contributing dynamic to the present crisis has been the repression of political participation from below. The interests of the military-oligarchic alliance depict themselves as battling an increasingly strong and dangerous left. [p.338]
"As the non-democratic intention of US intervention in Central America has become obvious to everyone, it has seriously wounded the pride of all Central Americans--including even pro-US military groups, such as those of Guatemala and El Salvador. The consequence has been a series of meetings by Central American leaders anxious to take charge of the political crisis in the region on their own." Central Americans consider the real issue to be national sovereignty (freedom from US interference) rather than peace (without justice) or democratic elections (without representative candidates). [p.350]
The party judged to be most responsible for the political crisis in the Central American region is the US--not Nicaragua. [p.350] Defenders of US policy vs. the Sandinistas are notably rare among credentialed scholars of Central America. [p.204]
The US C.I.A. directed a coup which overthrew Guatemala's democratically elected reform-minded president in 1954. The military has run political affairs since that time. [p.208] It is now impossible for anthropologists working in Honduras to ignore the world-system context of the people they study. [p.215]
Anthropologists may be the scholars best able to document and interpret the present situation in Guatemala because few others know as well as they do the rural areas where the new revolutionary movement and subsequent counter-insurgency campaigns were most intense. [p.212]
The enormous annual military aid given by the US has greatly increased the power of the military over El Salvador's authoritarian state since 1979. [p.338-9] Most of El Salvador's half-billion dollars of annual US aid is spent exclusively on the war against the guerrilla insurgency, and almost nothing is spent on the historic problems of "reform and development."
SCHEDULE OF READINGS AND EXAMS: (readings to be read for the date shown)
Week 1 Jan. 13 No assigned reading
" 15 Hecht: Appendix ("The Setting") pp. 215-233
Week 2 Jan. 20 Hecht: Introduction & Ch.l
Jan. 22 " Ch. 2 --MAP/GEOGRAPHY QUIZ
Week 3 Jan. 27 Hecht: Ch. 3 & 4
" 29 " Ch. 5
Week 4 Feb. 3 Hecht: Ch. 6 & 7
5 II Conclusion, pp. 188-214
Week 5 Feb. 10 EXAM #1 (covers all materials to date)
1. 12 Food First: U.S. Foreign Aid; Smith: Lies about Nicaragua
Week 6 Feb. 17 Andersen: Visions of instability: US TV & El Salvador
" 19 Harvest of Violence: Editor's Preface
Week 7 Feb. 24 Harvest of Violence: Ch. l ( Davis)
" 26 " " " Ch. 2 (Carmack)
Week 8 Mar. 3 Harvest of Violence: Ch. 5 (Paul)
" 5 " " " Ch. l0 (Falla)
Week 9 Mar. 10 & 12 Spring Break!!
Week 10 Mar. 17 Harvest of Violence: Ch. 12 (Adams)
Mar. 19 EXAM #2 (emphasizing materials since Exam 1)
Week 11 Mar. 24 Robarcheks Intro & Ch. l
" 26 " Ch. 2
Week 12 Mar. 31 Robarcheks Ch. 3
Apr. 2 " Ch. 4 & 5
Week 13 Apr. 7 Robarcheks Ch. 6 & 7
" 9 Ch. 8 & 9
Week 14 Apr. 14 Robarcheks Ch. 10 & Epilogue & Afterword
Apr. 16 EXAM #3 (emphasizing materials since Exam 2)
Week 15 Apr. 21 Don't Be Afraid, Gringo: Introduction & Ch.1-3
" 23 " " " " Ch. 4-7
Week 16 Apr. 28 Don't Be Afraid, Gringo: Ch. 8-10
" 30 " " " Ch. 11-14
Thur. May 7, 11 am - 1 pm. The final exam will emphasize the most recent materials, but will be somewhat comprehensive.