The University of Southampton
Courses

PORT2001 Culture and Society in Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa

Module Overview

This course is designed to expand and deepen students’ knowledge of the cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world, bringing together written texts, visual and conceptual art, political materials, and cinema from twentieth-century Portugal, Brazil, and Lusophone Africa. In addition to building a specialised knowledge base on the recent histories, politics and cultures of these countries and regions, during the module students will sharpen their skills of analysis, critical thinking and debate, and learn how the themes, issues and processes that have defined the Lusophone world interconnect with wider global issues.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to: - To broaden and deepen students’ knowledge of key cultural events and trends in Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa during the long twentieth century; - To critically examine the relationship between artistic production, cultural expression and cultural practice in Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa, and its historical context; - To encourage students to develop their own analyses of the social, political and cultural development of Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa during the period covered; - To develop students’ research skills, as part of the preparation for the investigative project during residence abroad.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The main social, political and cultural developments in Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa during the long twentieth century;
  • The relationship between political and social developments and cultural production in Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa;
  • the relevance of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class and globalisation to the cultures, societies and politics of the Lusophone world;
  • Techniques for analysing a variety of cultural artefacts.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Select and organise relevant material for the construction of a coherent argument;
  • Conduct critical analysis of different forms of cultural expression;
  • Carry out independent research, which will prepare you for the research required for the investigative project in year three.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the different perspectives offered by studies of the history of the period covered by the course;
  • Assess the different interpretations of the cultural expressions studied;
  • Appreciate the need to situate cultural representations in a specific historical context.

Syllabus

This course is designed to expand and deepen students’ knowledge of the cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world, bringing together written texts, visual and conceptual art, political materials, and cinema from twentieth-century Portugal, Brazil, and Lusophone Africa. In addition to building a specialised knowledge base on the recent histories, politics and cultures of these countries and regions, during the module students will sharpen their skills of analysis, critical thinking and debate, and learn how the themes, issues and processes that have defined the Lusophone world interconnect with wider global issues. A particular focus during the module will be the notion of resistance, and as a class, we will explore the often hidden ways that ‘speaking truth to power’ has manifested in the Portuguese-speaking world — and what happens when movements designed to throw off oppression tip into authoritarianism themselves. We will use a range of critical approaches to draw connections between Lusophone nations and cultures and the rest of the world, allowing us to broaden our understandings of the ways that networks of power and resistance operate across the globe. Examples of possible topics include: - the Modernist movements that revolutionised the cultural zeitgeist of Brazil during the first decades of the twentieth century - the origins of the iconic urban landscape of the favela in Brazil, and how the experience of favela life reflected and shaped social hierarchies - the clandestine movement against colonialism that emerged in Lusophone Africa in the 1960s, and the contested politics of using the coloniser’s language as a means of resistance - the visceral methods of political repression used in Brazil by the Military Dictatorship, and how Brazilian artists used their work to bring the state’s violence to light - the experience of living as a woman under the Portuguese New State - how authority was reimposed in Lusophone Africa in the aftermath of independence, and the influence of the USSR - the ethics of portraying poverty onscreen in the context of Brazil - the culture of fear that dominated Mozambique as the post-independence war took hold, and how rural Mozambique became a Cold War theatre.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - Lectures - Seminars - Group discussions Learning activities include: - Independent research - Group discussion - Essay writing Innovative or special features of this module: - The variety of cultural expression examined, which includes written texts, poetry, film, and visual art.

TypeHours
Wider reading or practice50
Lecture12
Completion of assessment task14
Seminar12
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Follow-up work12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Calirman, Cláudia (2012). Brazilian Art under Dictatorship: António Manuel, Artur Barrio, and Cildo Meireles. 

Birmingham, David (2003). A Concise History of Portugal. 

Levine, Robert M. The History of Brazil. 

Rebecca J. Atencio (2014). Memory’s Turn: Reckoning with Dictatorship in Brazil. 

Robinson, Richard. Contemporary Portugal. 

Fernando Arenas (2011). Lusophone Africa: Beyond Independence. 

Fausto, Boris. A Concise History of Brazil. 

J. Vincent. Culture and Customs of Brazil. 

Summ, G. Harvey. Brazilian Mosaic: Portraits of a Diverse People and Culture. 

Gallagher, Tom. Portugal: a Twentieth-Century Interpretation. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback ? - Participation in group discussion ? - Preparation for seminar presentation and essay.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Discussion 10%
Essay  (2000 words) 45%
Essay  (2000 words) 45%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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