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Nation and Imagination in Brazilian Literature, Arts and Culture


Admission requirements

Students who speak/understand Portuguese and want to follow this course as an optional course: please contact tutor. Every effort is made to accommodate interested students who wish to take this as elective.


Literature and visual culture studied in a socio-political contexts provide a fascinating entry point into the formation and complex social make-up of Brazil, the world’s largest Portuguese-speaking country. This course will consider a selection of texts from different genres (including film) drawn from late 19th to 21st centuries to help us understand some of the key issues relevant to Brazil today and significant trends in contemporary cultural production and the formation of the national imaginary. Among the issues we might consider are: representations of the favela from outside and inside the shantytowns; writing and resistance in Afro-Brazilian communities; how ideas of the nation have been represented in art; the relationship between poetry, music and politics; indigeneity in literature and film.

Course objectives

Knowledge and Insight:

Building on the first-year courses on Latin American literature and culture, this course aims to provide students with an understanding of some of the fundamental connections between literature, culture and society in modern Brazil; Knwoledge of key authors/movements and cultural figures in Brazilian literature and culture from late 19th century.

Academic skills and transferable (useful job market skills) that are developed include:
Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated class readings (primary/secondary);
2. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation and
3. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria; using up-to-date presentation techniques; aimed at a specific audience;
4. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities
4. Project/time management skills.
5. Intercultural skills (communicate in different languages; understand cultural nuances etc.)

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature;
3. to formulate a sound research question (essay title/theme) using the literature provided and possibly additional sources;
4. to design under supervision a research plan/paper of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured written presentation (includes use of digital skills);
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;


My Timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Assessment method


1 presentation or audio-visual film clip of approx. 10 min duration (30% of mark)
1 final essay or podcast - 1200-1500 words (70% of mark)
Assignments can be in English, Spanish or Portuguese. Major students: in Portuguese.
The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average. There is no resit for the presentation.


final assignment re-submission

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available to enrolled students via Brightspace.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats


Minimum attendance requirement to complete the module: 80% attendance.