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This program looks at socioeconomic conditions and the impact of local development efforts and public policy on lives and livelihoods in northeastern Brazil. You will interact with different ethnic groups, including indigenous and Afro-Brazilian populations, to gain insight into the challenges and benefits of implementing social change within a multicultural environment.
The Brazil: Social Innovation and Community Development study abroad program examines local socioeconomic conditions and the impact of local development efforts and public policy on lives and livelihoods in northeastern Brazil. In addition to thematic coursework and field study in Fortaleza, you will participate in educational excursions throughout the region and observe various community-based programs seeking to foster social, political, and economic improvement.
During your homestay in Fortaleza, you will attend lectures and seminars on topics such as globalization and its impact on developing societies, neoliberalism as an economic model, social movements in Brazil and Latin America, and Afro-Brazilian religions and culture. You will be immersed in Portuguese language study through intensive language classes and daily interaction with your host family. The Fortaleza homestay helps acclimate you to Brazilian culture and familiarizes you with the social and political atmosphere of the region.
The Community Action in Brazil course focuses on learning across cultures through lived experience. The course examines how local communities are generating responses to issues of persistent social injustice. You will explore how knowledge is emerging from social justice and community projects and other less-expected sites. After some introductory groundwork, you will spend the bulk of this seminar visiting select community-based projects, NGOs, or social movements and discussing key issues with community leaders and organizers.
The seminar focuses on the “new knowledge” regarding human development and social transformation constructed within the context of local struggles for liberation and full, equitable participation in society, as well as efforts to create new societies focused on values of collaboration, cooperation, diversity, and respect for difference.
Through assigned papers and individual and group projects, you will have the opportunity to explore how local communities are engaged in generating local knowledge related to the nature of social injustice, domination, and oppression and, in response, developing new social innovations and “social technologies” to address these challenges. The objective will be to identify and learn the workings of new social innovations actually being developed and used in local communities for development and social justice purposes. You will interact with the main protagonists, discovering what obstacles they face and assessing the degree of success they find in their endeavors.
You will complete a unique field-based Community Development Project, which will provide you with an opportunity to actively explore the program themes. Along with coursework and lectures to guide the experience, you will engage with a local community-based organization for approximately four weeks after completing your other coursework. Through this “lived experience,” you will observe, analyze, and participate in innovative “social technologies” currently being implemented in Northeastern Brazil at the grass-roots level while gaining an understanding of the construction of global citizenship based on new and emerging paradigms of decolonization. Community project placement will be decided in conjunction with your academic director and based on student interest, Portuguese language capacity, and project availability.”
Potential Community Development Project sites include:
One semester of Portuguese or two semesters of a college-level Romance language other than Portuguese.
The coursework for the Brazil: Social Innovation and Community Development program spans a wide range of subjects, from Portuguese language study and history to economics and gender studies. In addition to intensive language classes and lectures, students participate in a unique Community Development Project, leveraging their collective knowledge and skills and demonstrating their awareness of the ethics of working in a community.
Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Through educational excursions within the state of Ceará, you will learn about northeast Brazil's diverse urban and rural communities and compare regional responses to social injustice. You will visit a rural MST agricultural settlement to learn about agrarian reform laws and the group's struggle for more democratic structures of land tenure in Brazil. You will also spend time in community-based projects with NGOs where you will study the benefits and challenges of popular democracy. You will also talk to residents about local projects related to community organization, democratic culture building, social issues with respect to violence against women and children, international trafficking of humans, sex tourism, child trafficking, economic development and native culture modification, and economic and environmental reform.
Educational excursions illuminate thematic coursework by further immersing you directly into diverse Brazilian communities. Through firsthand engagement with multiple sources of knowledge, you will observe and experience the social, political, and economic dynamics affecting northeast Brazil.
You will stay with rural workers in an MST agricultural settlement and examine the history, structure, and objectives of the MST. MST leaders will share with you their philosophy of agrarian reform and the process and challenges associated with organizing rural workers to bring about change. In the past, students have participated in a variety of activities, including constructing cisterns, painting community meeting centers, constructing and planting community gardens, and meeting with youth or women’s groups.
The excursion to Recife gives you exceptional insight into the Brazilian women's movement by allowing you to meet with members of Casa da Mulher, a dynamic NGO working in urban and rural areas to address social issues including domestic violence, the labor market, and family and child care. Casa da Mulher also focuses on women in indigenous communities and promotes alternative practices and philosophies to empower indigenous women within their communities. Recife may be substituted for another location in the region depending on the semester.
In Bahia's capital city, Salvador, you will engage with Afro-Brazilian communities while examining the historical context of slavery and the social marginalization of African Diaspora populations in the post-emancipation era. Discussions focus on the continued presence of slavery, poverty, and racism as well as the influence of Afro-Brazilian religious communities in the area. You will meet with social activists from the black movement to learn about the challenges of fully integrating the African community into Brazilian society.
After spending a few days in the city of Salvador, you will continue on to the Bahian Reconcavo (the region surrounding the Bay of all Saints) in the interior of the state of Bahia to consider issues related to the African diaspora and the recreation of elements of African civilization in the Brazilian context. The Bahian Reconcavo was the center of sugar and tobacco plantations during the colonial area and one of the largest slaveholding regions in Brazil. In the city of Simões Filho, you will immerse yourself in a Quilombo community where you will study resistance to slavery and how enslaved people created parallel societies of freedom which, today, are recognized by the Brazilian constitution as “traditional communities.” In the city of Santo Amaro, you will visit the Casa de Samba, a UNESCO world heritage site celebrating the Afro-Brazilian cultural tradition of samba. In the historical city of Cachoeira, considered the “Mecca of the African cultural matrix” in the Americas, you will explore the vast cultural and spiritual legacy of the forced migration of African peoples to Brazil. You will participate in classes related to Afro-Brazilian spirituality and philosophy, the origins of the spiritual practice known as Candomble, herbal medicine, and Afro-Brazilian culinary arts.
Bill Calhoun first came to Brazil as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study Brazilian culture at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. He received his BA in political science and international relations in 1978 and went on to earn his MA in Latin American studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980. While attending the University of Wisconsin Law School, Mr. Calhoun spent a summer in Salvador, Bahia, as a Tinker Foundation Fellow. He returned to Bahia in 1986 as a Fulbright scholar. He joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1988.
Mr. Calhoun has participated in several international investigations of the systematic civil, political, and human rights violations of minorities in Brazil. He served as a member of the World Council of Churches team to investigate discrimination in Brazil and worked for two years as an instructor for the Latin American Catholic Bishops Conference (CELAM) in Bogota, Colombia. In this position, Mr. Calhoun taught and assisted community and religious organizations in thirteen Latin American countries, including Brazil. In addition to his academic and professional interest in Brazil, Mr. Calhoun has conducted research and worked with community organizations in a personal capacity there.
In his role as academic director, Mr. Calhoun oversees every aspect of the Brazil: Social Innovation and Community Development study abroad program. In addition to delivering lectures, advising students, and coordinating academic seminars, Mr. Calhoun helps plan the program's educational excursions and works to ensure that students' academic needs are met.
Oélito Brandao works with the academic director to help oversee the program's day-to-day activities. He manages the program offices and lecture facilities as well as the SIT library and computer center. Mr. Brandao has been associated with the SIT program in Fortaleza for almost 20 years. He has a BA in educational pedagogy from Universidade Estadual Vale do Acaraú and is active in several organizations and social movements in the community.
Caliny was born in Quixadá, Ceará and started working for the SIT Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development program as an intern in 2003. Caliny became a full member of the team after finishing her degree as an accountant at the State University of Ceará in 2005. Caliny assists the academic director in everything that relates to the financial sector: she is responsible for all of the payments and purchases made during the program. In addition, Caliny plays a crucial role in organizing events and keeping track of all program details.
Professor Jaime Santana Sodré Pereira received his doctorate in social history and his master's degree in theory and art history from the Federal University of Bahia, Salvador. In addition to being a professor of design at the State University of Bahia, Professor Sodré is a musician, composer, writer, poet, and an ogan of the Terreiro Tanuri Junçara and an oloiê of the Terreiro Bogum, both temples of the Camdomblé religion. Professor Sodré's published works include Manuel Querino: Heroi da Raça e Classe (2001), As Histórias de Lokoirokotempo: Camdomblé para crianças (1995), and The Influence of Afro-Brazilian Religion in the Sculpture Art of Mestre Didi (2006). In addition, he has presented the study "A Design of the Soul — A Legacy of Axé from the Mestres and Mestras of the Knowings and Doings" at the IV Brazilian Congress of Black Researchers 2006. Professor Sodré has produced two CDs, Tribute and Ancestrality (2002) and The Sacred Mask of Candomblé (1998), in addition to a soundtrack for the film Anjo Negro (Black Angel) that was produced by José Humberto in 1972. In 2007, Professor Sodré was recognized for revitalizing samba in Salvador's schools. He has received awards from the United Nations Children’s Fund for having implemented UNICEF´s Statute for Children and Adolescents in 1991.
Professor Lindinalva Amaro Barbosa received a master's degree in linguistics from the State University of Bahia. The title of her monograph was "The Afro-Religious Poetics of Abdias do Nascimento." Professor Barbosa currently works as a researcher at the Center for Afro-Oriental Studies of the Federal University of Bahia. From 2003 to 2007, she worked as a researcher at the Palmares Cultural Foundation of the Culture Ministry of the State of Bahia. Professor Barbosa has extensive experience teaching and researching black literature, educational and cultural plurality, black resistance, and identity and religions of the African matrix. Her publications include Quilombo de Palavras (Maroon Community of Words) (2000) and "Black and Indigenous Religious Dimensions" (2005). Professor Barbosa has presented at scholarly congresses several papers such as "Through the Waters of the Atlantic Ocean Sail Verses of Freedom: Pan-African Echoes in the Afro-Brazilian Literature" and "Maternal Courage — Identities of Race and Gender in Black Poetics" (2007).
Dr. Linda Maria de Pontes Gondim received her BA in social sciences from the Federal University of Ceará. Her master's degree in urban and regional planning is from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and she holds a doctorate in urban and regional planning from Cornell University. Additionally, she has a postdoctoral degree from the University of Maryland. Professor Gondim is currently a professor at the Federal University of Ceará and teaches in the undergraduate program of social sciences and the graduate program of sociology. In addition, Professor Gondim has extensive experience in the areas of urban and regional planning, urban sociology, and sociology of law. Her areas of research include urban social movements, popular participation, research methodology, and the planning and management of the city of Fortaleza. She has published vastly in several scholarly journals. Her articles include "Slum Planet" (2007), "A New Model of Urban Development" (1992), "Social Urban Movements: Organization and Internal Democracy" (1991), and "Planning Practice within Public Bureaucracy: A New Perspective on Roles of Planners" (1988). Her published books include Research as Intellectual Handcraft: Considerations about a Method of Common Sense (2006), Clientelism and Modernity in Public Policies: The Governments of Change in Ceará (1998), and Planners in the Face of Power: The Case of the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1987).
Prof. Henrique Antunes Cunha, Jr. studied sociology at the state university Júlio de Mesquita Filho in São Paulo and electrical engineering at the University of São Paulo. Professor Cunha holds a master's degree in history from the Universite de Nancy I in France and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Lorraine, France. He also concluded his specialization in economy at the School of Arts and Metiers of Nancy in France. Professor Cunha is currently a tenured professor at the University of São Paulo and the Federal University of Ceará. Professor Cunha also teaches in the Graduate Education School, where he specializes in the areas of African culture, Afro-descendance, urban space, ethnic relations, history, and African and Afro-descendant culture. Professor Cunha is a member of the National Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality and is president of the Brazilian Association of Black Researchers. His publications include "Racism, a Structural and Ideological Problem for Brazilian Social Relationships" (2008) and "Unfinished Abolition and the Education of Afro-descendants" (2008). His published books include: Urban Space and Afro-descendance: Black Urban Spatiality (2007) and Education and Afro-descendance in Brazil (2007).
Professor Eduardo David de Oliveira received his BA in philosophy from the Federal University of Paraná (1997), with a specialist degree in African cultures and inter-ethnic relations from the Unibem (1998). He obtained a master’s degree in social anthropology from the Federal University of Paraná (2001) and a doctorate in education from the Federal University of Ceará (2005). Professor Oliveira's work is focused primarily on the following areas: ethics, Latin American philosophy, contemporary philosophy, social anthropology, popular education and social movements, African cosmovision, philosophy of Afro-descendance, Afro-Brazilian studies, history, and African literature and ancestry. Professor Oliveira is also a consultant for popular social movements in the areas of negritude, popular education, and solidarity economy. His publications include Cosmovisão Africana no Brasil: Elementos para uma Filosofia Afrodescendente (African Cosmovision in Brazil: Elements for an Afro-descendant Philosophy) (2003); Ética e Movimentos Sociais Populares: Práxis, Subjectividade, e Libertação (Popular Ethics and Social Popular Movements: Praxis, Subjectivity, and Release) (2006); Filosofia e Ancestralidade: Corpo e Mito na Filosofia da Educação Brasileira (Philosophy of the Ancestry: Body and Myth in the Philosophy of Brazilian Education) (2007) and; Ancestralidade na Encruzilhada (Ancestry in the Crossroads) (2007), published by the Gráfica e Editora Popular de Curitiba.
Professor Francisco Amaro Gomes de Alencar holds a BA in geography, a master's degree in development and environmental studies, and a doctorate in sociology from the Federal University of Ceará. He is currently a professor in the Department of Geography at the Federal University of Ceará. His teaching and research apply primarily to the areas of rural settlements, agrarian reform, land tenure, and management of rural settlements. Professor Amaro has worked extensively with governmental agencies such as IDACE (Development Agrarian Institute of Ceará) and nongovernmental organizations including PNUD BRAZIL (United Nations) to plan debates and conferences. He also has assisted with the implementation of policies relating to land reform and rural settlements. His publications include "Reflections on the Participation of Settlers in the Municipal Election" (2005) and "Grassroots and Government Conflict" (2003). He has co-edited several books and published Intimate Secrets: The Management of Settlements of the Agrarian Reform (2000).
The Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development study abroad program includes urban and rural homestays in order to expose students to two different lifestyles and perspectives on social justice and economic development in Brazil.
During the first seven weeks of the program and final two weeks of the program, you will live with host families in Fortaleza. You will gain valuable insight into urban Brazilian life and visit other participants' homestay families to expand your community contacts. Host families are chosen for their interest in, and connections to, the program theme. Most host families come from working- and middle-class backgrounds and represent a cross-section of ethnicities.
During the educational excursion to a rural MST settlement, you will stay with working families and meet with movement leaders to learn about the importance of the MST movement and the challenges facing that community. Often, students are able to actively participate in their homestay families’ agricultural activities, such as milking cows, harvesting crops, or taking cattle to pasture.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, and/or small hotels.
A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.
Program Arrival Date: Aug 29, 2016
Program Departure Date: Dec 11, 2016
The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.
Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.
Application Deadline: May 1, 2016
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $ 400
Books & Supplies: $ 200
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.