Brazilian Literature: Contemporary Urban Fiction

  • Foster, David (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The goal of the enhanced seminar website will be to bring together a large amount of material relating to urban culture in Brazil. In addition to links to important sites containing historical and sociological information, we propose to include a section on maps on a national, state, and local level. In addition to actual maps to be included, we will provide key coordinates for Google Earth maps that will allow the user access to important sites in Brazilian cities, so that they can navigate from there to various views of the city (satellite, traffic, ground level). We will provide various photographic archives, both historical and contemporary that related to urban issues. Archives of editorial cartoons and other forms of graphic humor will provide a rich source of interpretive material about Brazilian society. We will experiment with different platforms for posting graphic material. In addition to simply including images on the website, Flickr is a useful tool that allows for sharing imagesthat is, viewers of the archives are then able to download them for their own personal storage. PowerPoint is a particularly useful for images that come with accompanying expositor prose, and a number of such files are already posted on the website (to which we will add pertinent prose commentary). Images within a .ppt format can also be downloaded as an entire file or extracted as individual entries. Since a number of the archives will consist of the applicants own documentary photography, copyright restrictions will not be an issue. Additionally, these sources are important repositories of colloquial language, which will lead to the inclusion of archives and links relating to colloquial language in Brazil. There is a particularly prominent divide between formal, written Brazilian Portuguese and colloquial (including regional) forms of the language, including unique urban variants, and we will want to highlight this dimension of Brazilian culture.


The seminar focuses on five major works of Brazilian fiction from the twentieth century. Through a detailed examination of these works as literary texts that interpret the urban experience in Rio de Janeiro, So Paulo, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre, the seminar will provide participants with a grounding in Brazilian literature. Participants will be college and university professors of Latin American studies, some with a familiarity with Brazil. The latter will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Brazilian literature, while other participants will receive a solid introduction to Brazilian culture through major literary texts. Portuguese remains a critical language in the U.S., and both the seminar proper and the language workshop, an auxiliary part of the program, will contribute toward addressing the critical lack of trained scholars in the field. The seminar will be held in So Paulo, Brazil, between June 22 and July 17, 2009.
Effective start/end date10/1/099/30/10


  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): $138,519.00


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