MSSU Brazil Semester

Lectures and Presentations

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Amazing Amazonians and Beautiful Boats
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday, August 30 - September 24, 2010
MSSU Spiva Art Gallery
Admission: free

The black and white and color photographs in this exhibition were shot by James Bogan and Patrik Pardini. Both document the riverine culture of the Amazon by depicting the construction of boats from native woods utilizing long-evolved local designs. In addition, some of Professor Bogan’s photographs cover the filming of The Adventures of the Amazon Queen, itself a documentary of the dreams and skills of a Brazilian artisan.

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Peoples and Cultures of the Amazon
9:30 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Robert Walker

The Amazon is one of the most diverse regions on the planet in terms of number and diversity of biological species, human languages, and human cultures. It is the only place in the world where some societies have little contact or even no contact with Western civilization. The Amazon is literally the last frontier for anthropological studies and a battle ground of colonization versus cultural survival. In this talk Professor Walker will survey the major languages families in the Amazon Basin and the major difficulties they currently face that threaten their traditional lifestyles.

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Anthropology of the Amazon: Partible Paternity and Promiscuous Mating
11:00 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Robert Walker

Partible paternity refers to a conception belief common to indigenous populations in lowland South America. According to this belief, more than one biological father contributes semen which accumulates in the mother over time and helps create the fetus. In addition to being correlated with promiscuous mating behavior, this belief is sometimes accompanied by ritualized sequential sex, exchange of fish or meat or gifts for sex, couvade practices performed by multiple men, and in both cases where it has been investigated, higher survival of offspring with one secondary father.

Professor Walker has done a comparative study of 127 lowland South American societies and estimates the prevalence of partible paternity to be as high as 70 percent and nearly ubiquitous in four large language families. Partible paternity challenges some traditional assumptions of evolutionary theory and ideas about human marriage, mating, and jealousy. While previous work has emphasized the benefits for women where partible paternity beliefs facilitate paternal investment from multiple men, the selective forces underlying partible paternity likely include benefits to both sexes. Despite the increased risk of cuckoldry, at least some men in promiscuous societies probably benefit by increasing their number of extramarital affairs, using sexual access to their wives to formalize male alliances, and/or sharing paternity with male relatives.

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Present-Day Brazil
11:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: João Almino

On the occasion of Brazil’s Independence Day, the Consul General of Brazil in Chicago, Ambassador João Almino, will give an overview of Brazilian political, economic, and social aspects.

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Soybean Production in the Amazon: Are We Eating the Rainforest?
10:00 a.m., Friday, Sept. 10, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: J. Christopher Brown

Many of us are starting to make choices about what we eat, based on information regarding the ecological and social impacts of food production. If you’ve seen the documentary Food Inc., you know that this information is important, and it can be pretty powerful and persuasive. We can’t make a documentary about every single thing we eat, though, so it is incumbent upon individuals, societies, and non-governmental and governmental groups to create and enforce rules about the social and environmental conditions under which our food is produced, especially in far-away places. This talk examines the efforts of Greenpeace and big agri-business in the Amazon of Brazil to create rules to ensure that the massive increase in soybean production in Brazil (Brazil is one of the world’s major producers and exporters) does not destroy the Amazon rainforest. Considering that a lot of chicken, pork and cattle in the world are fed Brazilian soybeans, we should want to know more about how those soybeans are produced.

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Decentralization of Development in the Brazilian Amazon
12:00 p.m., Friday, Sept. 10, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: J. Christopher Brown

During the 1980s, the World Bank and the Brazilian government were highly criticized for mega-development disasters in the Amazon that caused great suffering of indigenous peoples, rubber tappers, and small colonist farmers, in addition to massive deforestation and environmental destruction. In the 1990s, development organizations decentralized their efforts by granting development funds more directly to locally organized people, in order to bring about better development outcomes. This talk presents an analysis of the effectiveness of a decentralized development effort involving beekeeping among colonist farmers in the Amazon state of Rondonia. It points out the common danger of believing that anything organized at a local scale is more likely than mega-projects to result in improved relationships between people and the environment.

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Gockel International Symposium: The Search for the Lost City of Z
9:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010
Taylor Performing Arts Center
Admission: free
Speaker: David Grann

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925, Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization. For centuries, Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed a glittering kingdom — El Dorado. Thousands died looking for it. And after a toll of death and suffering worthy of Joseph Conrad most scientists concluded that El Dorado was no more than an illusion. Indeed, most modern scientists came to believe that the Amazon was a counterfeit paradise, a place that, despite all its flora and fauna, was really inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose experiences helped inspire Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World, had spent nearly two decades in the jungle gathering evidence of his radical theory. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett finally set off with his 21-year-old son to uncover this ancient civilization, which he dubbed simply “Z.” Then he and his expedition vanished.

For decades, scientists and adventurers have searched in vain for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Many died from disease or starvation. Others simply disappeared. David Grann spent more than three years investigating the mystery and in 2005 followed Fawcett’s trail into the jungle. In his lecture and slide presentation, he will discuss his stunning discoveries, shedding light not only on what happened to Fawcett but how new archeological finds are transforming our understanding of what the Americas looked before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

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Gockel International Symposium: The Adventures of the Amazon Queen and the Adventures of Making the Amazon Queen
7:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: James Bogan

How does the Amazon River become the Amazon? To find out, follow the progress of the Amazon Queen, a handmade model boat that floats from a spring, to a creek, to a river, to the Amazon, to the Ocean…. The film explores not only geography, but the nature of desire. Professor Bogan will tell some incredible, but true, stories about the perils (snakes) and pleasures (the 40 beer shot) of filming on the Amazon.

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Samba and Brazillian National Identity
9:00 a.m., Monday, Oct. 4, 2010
Taylor Performing Arts Center
Admission: free
Speaker: Bryan McCann

Between 1925 and 1940, samba went from being a rhythm of the streets, played by untrained musicians in a few working-class, Afro-Brazilian neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro to being a venerated symbol of national identity, performed by orchestras and celebrated by President Getúlio Vargas. How did samba make this remarkable transformation in this brief period? Samba’s ascent was at the leading edge of a vast reconsideration of the importance of African culture and Afro-Brazilians in Brazil, and become a key element in the construction of a modern national popular cultural identity. In subsequent decades, that identity has evolved, but retains the structure of the reconsiderations and innovations of the 1930s. A consideration of samba’s ascent offers insight into the meanings of Brazilianness.

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The Colossus of Rio
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Jim Lile

At 130 feet high, 98 feet wide, and 635 tons, Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest statues on earth. Since 1931, it has attracted visitors from all over the world. The monument gained renewed celebrity when it was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Dr. Jim Lile will discuss the remarkable history of O Christo Redentor and its significance to Brazil and the world.

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Rio di Janeiro - Cidade Maravilhosa!
1:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Rebecca Gallemore

Come on a guided sightseeing tour of Rio, otherwise known as the “marvelous city.” Cradled by miles of white sand and stunning mountain terrain, Rio is truly a Cidade Maravilhosa! Visit the breathtaking, towering statue of “Christ the Redeemer” on top of the highest peak, Corcovado Mountain. A cog train carries you through a stretch of dense tropical jungle to the summit with incredible views of the city and beaches below. Next, you will visit Sugar Loaf Mountain, which stands at the entrance of Guanabara Bay and downtown Rio. After this, you will see pictures of Ipanema and Cococabana beaches and learn the true myth behind the song, “The Girl from Ipanema.” Lastly, you will leave the intrigue of the city to visit Iguacu Falls and a small fishing village, Itacuruca on the Bay of Sepetiba.

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Taming 'Savage Capitalism': Brazil's Struggle against Poverty and Inequality
9:00 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Gabriel Ondetti

When it democratized in 1985, Brazil was arguably the most socially inequitable country in the world. Many hoped, however, that the shift away from military dictatorship would allow lower class Brazilians to use their votes to pressure for better living conditions and a larger slice of the country’s economic pie. This talk will explore the extent to which this hope has been fulfilled during the last quarter century.

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Brazil on the World Stage: Foreign Policies of an Emerging Power
11:00 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Gabriel Ondetti

Brazil’s vast territory, large population, and tremendous natural resources wealth have long positioned it as a potential global power, but domestic turmoil has held it back. In recent years, political stability and sustained economic growth have elevated the country’s international profile, suggesting that it is now ready to shed its reputation as the perpetual “country of the future.” This talk will examine the extent and limits of Brazil’s rise, as well as the ways in which it has wielded its newfound influence.

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Doing Business in Brazil - Surviving Bureaucracy and Bridging Cultures
10:00 a.m., Friday, Oct. 22, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Andrew Horowitz

Brazil has the 8th largest economy in the world and has been among the fastest growing of the major economies in recent years. Virtually untouched by the global economic crisis, Brazil is poised to climb rapidly in the ranks of the world’s economies during the current decade. Not surprisingly, companies ranging in size from the world’s largest (such as Wal-Mart) to ambitious individual entrepreneurs are striving to establish a profitable presence in Brazil. However, this has often proved a difficult task even for large companies with vast resources. Brazil is renowned for its byzantine bureaucracy and unique cultural norms. This talk will provide an overview of some of these challenges and provide some insights on navigating Brazilian bureaucracy and bridging cultures.

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The Future is Now - Brazil, 21st Century Superpower
12:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 22, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Andrew Horowitz

Brazil has been known as the “Country of the Future” for decades. Indeed, there is a well-known joke in Brazil that says “Brazil is the country of future…forever.” However, it finally appears that the “future” is arriving for Brazil. Recent years have seen accelerating economic growth, the solidification of a vibrant healthy democracy, and significant natural resource discoveries in what was already one of the most resource rich countries on earth. Moreover, Brazil is increasingly flexing its political muscle, along with the other BRIC countries. One recent example is Brazilian negotiations with Iran regarding its nuclear program. This talk will provide an overview of Brazil’s emergence as a world power in multiple dimensions: economic, political, and cultural.

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How to Turn a Poem into a Film: T-Shirt Cantana
1:00 p.m., Monday, Nov. 1, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: James Bogan

This short documentary is an introduction to the people of Belem in the Amazon. It began as a poem which celebrated the wild diversity of the equatorial garment of choice. Then, armed with a loaded 16 mm Arriflex camera and the T-shirt concept, Professor James Bogan took to the streets of Belem to document the varieties of shirts and the wider variety of people in those shirts. The presentation will recapitulate the development of inspiration into different forms.

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The Hammock Variations
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: James Bogan

The Hammock Variations is a poetic documentary devoted to one of the ordinary wonders of Amazon life. From before we are born, along the arc of our life, till they carry us to the boneyard in our hammock to rest up till Judgment Day, it all happens in a hammock. Shot on location at the mouth of the Amazon, the film celebrates the cultural significance of the hammock in Brazil along with a narration that meditates on the nature of time and of poetry.

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On the Impossibility of Translating Poetry and Why We Do It Anyway
11:00 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: James Bogan

Max Martins is one of the most revered poets of the Amazon. Professor James Bogan spent many an evening at his side working on translations of his works from Brazilian into American. At the beginning Martins spoke no English and Bogan no Portuguese, but their minds overlapped to the extent that communication preceded language. Over the course of 20 years Dr. Bogan carried some of Martins’ be-jungled poems across the divide of language and he will deliver them to Joplin.

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Learn One Endeavor for One New Culture: Impressions of the Brazilian Culture from an MSSU Student
E-mail kelsey.jensen@yahoo.com
Speaker: Kelsey Jensen

The memorizing characteristics of the Brazilian people and the attitudes in an emerging world change the power within us all. The way the Brazilian people sway with the music as the call of the Olodum drums take place. Rising over the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro is the brilliant statue of Jesus Christ. Not too far from the statue is the 8th natural wonder of the world, the Sugar Loaf. The elements of Brazil make this country so unique and the Brazilian spirit takes you on an incredible adventure. Leaving the small town for a whole new country gives a new sense for wanting to learn more.

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