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Brazil

Brazil: A History of Change

First edition. 2016.

Overview

Brazil is the largest country in South America and plays an increasingly important role in the world, yet for many it remains an exotic, far away place. Brazil: A History of Change draws students into an often surprising and overlooked history. Like the United States, Brazil was colonized, gained its independence, and eventually overshadowed its colonizer. Like the United States, Brazil is a country of immigrants with a history of slavery that shaped its growth and affects it to the present day. Brazil: A History of Change helps students see Brazil as a unique, dynamic country with an important history, diverse culture, and its own path of development.

Readings

Brazil: A History of Change gives students an overview of Brazil's history and traces its legacies through the present. Part I focuses on the colonial era and the role of slavery and abolition in shaping Brazil. Part II examines the birth of the republic, the vast influx of immigrants, and the era of military rule. Part III explores how Brazilians have reclaimed their democracy after the end of military rule.

The Choices Role Play

Students examine three distinct options that Brazilians faced in 1984. By exploring this spectrum of alternatives, students gain a deeper understanding of the values and beliefs that were contested at this important turning point Brazilian history. The role play helps students clarify their thoughts and, ultimately, understand that historical events are the results of contests of ideas and power.

After the role play, students examine Brazil's transition to democracy and consider how historical forces shape the present.

Lessons

The Geography of Brazil
Students familiarize themselves with Brazil and its neighbors, significant cities, and landmarks on a map. They then work together to explore images of Brazil and identify issues and themes for inquiry.

Reading History: Slavery in Brazil
Students use primary sources to develop an understanding of the institution of slavery in colonial Brazil and issues of race within the Brazilian empire.

The Brazillian Flag and the Republic
Students analyze proposed versions of Brazil's national flag and consider various viewpoints about Brazil's future.

Film Analysis: Repression and Resistance During Military Rule
After watching a documentary about a family's experience of repression, resistance, and torture during Brazil's military dictatorship, students consider how personal stories contribute to historical understanding.

The Choices Role Play
Students work cooperatively using primary sources to present three options Brazilians debated in 1984 about the future of democracy in their country.

Racial Identity in Brazil
Students examine a Brazilian painting, the racial categories in the 1976 and 1990 Brazilian censuses, and consider issues of racial and ethnic identity in Brazil.

Get to Know Influential Brazilians
Students gain familiarity with the lives, ideas, and aspirations of a range of Brazilians from various historical eras and analyze their ideas and actions in their historical context.

Analyzing a Brazillian Song
Students analyze the music and lyrics of a Brazilian song and then create a music map. They consider the meaning of the song and the political power of music.

Assessment Using Documents
Students analyze primary and secondary sources and then answers questions about Brazil's Amnesty Law of 1979, the work of its National Truth Commission between 2011-2014, and the lingering effects of Brazil's military dictatorship.

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