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Wisselleerstoel Braziliaanse Studies:Issues on Brazilian Security Polices


Admission requirements



The recent rising of Brazil as an emerging power entails a worldwide attention to its current decisions and actions in the international arena. Regarding the attributes of relations in an anarchical society as suspicious, it is expected misperceptions of Brazilian behavior from foreign states and analysts. These problems of perception and understanding can be especially relevant in security issues. The very specific Brazilian security condition and institutions can really contribute to overestimate certain decisions and underestimate relevant obstacles to Brazilian international trajectory.
This course intends to offer a review of Brazilian foreign and defense policies in its recent democratic history. It aims to favor the students to develop a critical understanding of Brazilian goals and strategies towards issues of international and regional security agendas. It is organized in four units from more general and long-term issues to more specific short-term ones.

Course objectives

Unit I: Long-term issues on Brazilian security policies

  • 6-2: The American Continent Condition of Power

  • 13-2: South American Geopolitics

  • 20-2: Historical and Institutional Bases of Brazilian Security Policies

Unit II: Brazil and international security issues

  • 27-2: Brazil-United States’ Agenda on Security

  • 6-3: Brazil and Nuclear Power

  • 13-3: Brazilian Engagement in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

Unit III: Brazil and regional security issues

  • 20-3: The Brazilian Agenda in Security for XXIth Century

  • 3-4: The Blue Amazon: South Atlantic and the ‘Pré-Sal’

  • 10-4: The Amazon Security

Unit IV: Brazil and domestic security issues

  • 17-4: The Evolution of Brazilian Military-Civilian Relationship

  • 24-4:The Criminal Cartel-Brazilian State Conflict



Mode of instruction

The course will be developed in sessions based on a required reading list and occasional additional materials – documentary, official and fictional movies – as a starting point for discussions. Complementary reading for each topic/class is also indicated.

Assessment method



Blackboard will be used to post all the necessary information about the course (programme, time tables, announcements, etc.). Also notices will be posted on interesting activities (such as Conferences, workshops, expositions, etc.), which are related to the themes analyzed during the course.

Reading list

  • 6-2: Duarte (2011). South American Strategic Condition and Implications for Brazilian National Defense. IPSA-EPCR Joint Conference.

  • 13-2: Stratfor (2012). The Geopolitics of Brazil: An Emergent Power’s Struggle with Geography.

  • 20-2: Proença Jr & Diniz (2008). Brazilian Conceptualization of Security. In Brauch (ed.) Globalization and Environmental Challenges : Reconptualising Security in 21st Century Berlin: Springer, chapter 21.

  • 27-2: Hirst (2004). “US-Brazil Political Relations”. In The United States and Brazil: A Long Road of Unmet Expectations. Routledge, chapter 3

  • Pecequilo (2010). A New Strategic Dialogue: Brazil-US Relations in Lula’s Presidency (2003-2010). Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, 53(SPE), 132–150.

  • Complementary reading: Bodman & Wolfensohn (2011). Global Brazil and U.S.-Brazil Relations. Independent Task Force Report. nº 66. Council on Foreign Relations.

  • 6-3: Patti (2010). Brazil and the Nuclear Issues in the Years of the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Government (2003-2010). Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, 53(2), 178–195.

  • Spektor (2010). “How to Read Brazil’s Stance on Iran”. Washington: Council for Foreign Relations.

  • Complementary reading: Correa (2011). O Projeto do Submarino Nuclear Brasileiro: uma História de Ciência, Tecnologia e Soberania. Capax Dei.

  • 13-3: Diniz (2007). Brazil: Peacekeeping and the Evolution of Foreign Policy. In Saenz & Fishel (eds.), Capacity Building for Peacekeeping: The Case of Haiti. Potomac Books Inc. chapter 6.

  • Bracey (2011). Brazil and UN Peacekeeping: the Cases of East-Timor and Haiti. Contexto Internacional, 33(2), 315–331.
    Additional material: Documentary movie: Ponto Forte

  • Complementary reading: Rezende (2012). O Engajamento do Brasil nas Operações de Paz da ONU. Appris.

  • 20-3: Villa & Viana (2010). Security Issues during Lula’s Administration: from the Reactive to the Assertive Approach. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, 53(SPE), 91–114.

  • Bertazzo (2010). New Regionalism and Leadership in Brazilian Security and Defense Policies. Security and Defense Studies Review. 10(Spring-summer).

  • Complementary reading: Brasil (2008). Estratégia Nacional de Defesa. Ministério da Defesa.

  • 3-4: Robson (2011). Maritime Security and the Southern Cone: Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Corbett Papers. nº 4.
    Wiesebron (2013).

  • Africa, the South Atlantic and the Ibsa-Brics Equation: the Transatlantic Space in Transition. Austral, 2(1).

  • Complementary reading: Vaz (2011). O Atlântico Sul nas Perspectivas Estratégicas de Brasil, Argentina e África do Sul. Boletim de Economia e Política Internacional. nº6.

  • 10-4: Martins Filho & Zirker (2000). Nationalism, National Security, and Amazonia: Military Perceptions and Attitudes in Contemporary Brazil. Armed Forces and Society, 27(1), 105–129.

  • Hunter (1997). The Civilian-Military Conflict over the Amazon. In Eroding Military Influence in Brazil: Politicians against Soldiers. University of North Carolina Press, chapter 3.

  • Additional material: Brazilian Army official video: SISFRON

  • Complementary reading: Marques (2012). A Defesa Militar da Amazonia. In Castro (ed.) Exército e Naçã0. Estudos sobre a História do Exército Brasileiro. FGV.

  • 17-4: Castro (2000). The Military and Politics in Brazil: 1964-2000. Centre for Brazilian Studies: Oxford University.

  • Complementary reading: Hunter (1997). Eroding Military Influence in Brazil: Politicians against Soldiers. University of North Carolina Press.

  • 24-4:Lessing (2012). “Rio de Janeiro”. In The Logic of Violence in Criminal War: Cartel-State Conflict in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil (PhD. thesis). University of California, Berkeley, chapter 4.

  • Additional material: Movie: 400 contra 1: uma História do Crime Organizado (2010).

  • Complementary reading: Muniz & Proença Junior (2007). Muita Politicagem, Pouca Política: Os Problemas da Polícia São. Estudos Avançados. 21, p. 159-172.


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Prof.dr. P. Silva. Tel.: 071-527 5496.
Dr. M.L. Wiesebron. Tel.: 071-527 2063