Home » Brazil Center » Academics



» Columbia Courses with Brazil Content

» Portuguese Language Classes

» Walter Moreira Salles Lectures Series

» Brazil Seminar


Columbia Courses with Brazil Content


Sample Past Courses:

Political, Social and Economic Development in Brazil I and II
Instructors: Thomas Trebat / Albert Fishlow / Alfred Stepan

History of the Brazilian Economy
Instructor: Albert Fishlow

Antitrust and Regulation in Brazil
Instructor: Gesner Oliveira

Banking and Capital Markets in Brazil
Instructor: Fernando Sotelino

Brazilian Financial Development
Instructor: John Welch

Brazil: The Advantages of Weak National Identity
Instructor: Renato Janine Ribeiro

Slavery and Race Theories-Brazil
Instructor: Lilia Moritz Schwarcz

History of Brazil
Instructor: Lilia Moritz Schwarcz

Race and Ethnicity in Brazil
Instructor: Frederick Moehn

Comparative Social Security Reform
Instructor: Jose Savoia

Social Movements in Brazil
Instructor: Frederick J Moehn

Popular Music in Brazil
Instructor: Ana Maria Ochoa

Freedom in the Screen-Brazil
Instructor: Renato Janine Ribeiro

Philosophy in Brazilian Agora
Instructor: Renato Janine Ribeiro

Brazilian Literature & Film
Instructor: Maite Conde

Topics of Brazilian Culture
Instructor: Maite Conde

Gender, Feminism, and Cultural Diversity
Instructor: Lia Machado

Brazilian Feminism, National Politics, International Propositions
Instructor: Lia Machado

Anarchism in Brazil: Political Change and Social Experience
Instructor: Margareth Rago

Portuguese Language Classes

The courses below are a sequence of language classes offered by the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University. Please check the Department’s Portuguese language classes page for current course offerings. In addition, there are Advanced Courses in Portuguese Studies which cover different aspects of Lusophone history and culture.

For more up to date schedules and classes see Columbia’s Directory of Classes.

PORT W1101x Elementary Portuguese I 4 pts. A beginning course designed for students who wish to start their study of Portuguese and have no proficiency in another Romance language. The four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing are developed at the basic level.

PORT W1102y Elementary Portuguese II 4 pts. Prerequisites: PORT W1101 or the equivalent. A course designed to acquaint students with the Portuguese verbal, prepositional, and pronominal systems. As a continuation of Elementary Portuguese I (PORT W1101), this course focuses on the uses of characteristic forms and expressions of the language as it is spoken and written in Brazil today.

PORT W1220x and y Comprehensive Intermediate Portuguese 4 pts. Prerequisites: PORT W1102 or PORT W1320. This course discusses contemporary issues based on articles from Lusophone newspapers and magazines. Students will review grammar, expand their vocabulary and improve oral expression, writing, and reading skills. They are also exposed to audiovisual material that will deepen their understanding of Lusophone societies and culture.

PORT W1320x and y Comprehensive Elementary Portuguese I and II for Spanish Speakers 4 pts. Prerequisites: Knowledge of Spanish or another Romance language An intensive beginning language course in Brazilian Portuguese with emphasis on Brazilian culture through multimedia materials related to culture and society in contemporary Brazil. Recommended for students who have studied Spanish or another Romance language. The course is the equivalent of two full semesters of elementary Portuguese with stress on reading and conversing, and may be taken in place of PORT W1101-W1102. For students unable to dedicate the time needed cover two semesters in one, the regularly paced sequence PORT W1101-W1102 is preferable.

PORT W3101x Conversation about the Lusophone World 3 pts. Prerequisites: Portuguese W1220. This conversation class will help students develop their oral proficiency in Portuguese. We will discuss current events, participate in challenging pronunciation exercises, improve understanding of Portuguese idioms, develop conversation strengths, confront weaknesses, and increase fluency in spoken Portuguese.

PORT W3301x Advanced Writing and Composition in Portuguese 3 pts. Prerequisites: PORT W1220 This course focuses on three elements: 1) the main elements of formal discourse in Portuguese (grammar, vocabulary, expressions, etc.); 2) discourse genres, based on the theoretical bases laid out by Textual Linguistics and Discourse Analysis; 3) cultural, economic, social, political themes related to the reality of Brazil or other Portuguese-speaking countries. However, students should be able to define their areas of interest and shape their experience in the course according to them. Such an approach takes advantage of the diversity in the classroom, stimulates participation, and promotes independent academic research. Therefore, students will start a weblog, where their writing activities will be posted, so that their colleagues may read and comment on them. The mandatory genres-forms for all students are in the modules of discourse genres and academic writing, and the corresponding forms, the pronominal system and semelfectives. Students will then choose one more genre among biographical texts (resume, facebook, biography), lyrical texts (music, poetry), subjective texts (description, narrative, commentary, editorial), and journalistic texts, as well as the corresponding forms assigned to those modules: indirect speech, mandates, past verbal tenses, conjunctions, redundancy/repetition, and semelfactives (conditionals). Every student will study and practice all genres and forms, but they will be responsible for larger assignments (module notes, to be posted on their blogs) on the two mandatory modules and the optional one. At the beginning of the semester they will choose a thematic topic for the course (in their field of study or area of personal interest), and will select a literature list with the assistance of the instructor. All assignments in the course must be related to the chosen thematic topic and will involve research based on the literature list. At the end of the semester, they will produce an essay on their thematic choice.

Walter Moreira Salles Lecture Series

Named in honor of one of Brazil’s leading figures, the Walter Moreira Salles Lecture Series was created to highlight salient issues in contemporary Brazil by presenting a prominent Brazilian speaker. The lecture series is open to the public and generally attracts large and interested audiences.

This program was inaugurated in 2006 with the presence of distinguished scholar and politician, Senator Cristovam Buarque, a former Minister of Education in Brazil instrumental in the creation of the Bolsa Escola program. Senator Buarque’s lectures provided an introduction to the economic, social and political problems confronting Brazil as it undertook its 2006 election for president and the congress.  

In the fall 2007 semester the Center hosted former minister of planning João Paulo dos Reis Velloso.  He presented the series: “An Interpretation of Brazil’s Development and Prospects”

In the fall 2009 semester, the Lecture Series was given by Prof. Simon Schwartzman, president of the Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade in Rio de Janeiro

In the spring 2009 semester, the Center hosted a conference in honor of the late Ruth Cardoso, and the Lecture series, were made in conjunction with the programming of that conference.

In the Spring 2010, Henrique Mereilles, the current president of the Brazilian Central Bank, spoke about the Brazilian recovery from the great recession.

Political, Social, and Economic Development of Brazil –
"The Brazil Seminar"

This course is an innovative, two-semester practicum which has been designed to enable students and other participants to discuss major economic, political, and social problems of contemporary Brazil with expert analysts, activists, business leaders, and public figures. The two-semester course (INAF4409&4410) is unusual for its decidedly multidisciplinary focus on problems and issues in contemporary Brazil. The course also innovates via its reliance upon a stream of outside speakers who vary from semester to semester rather than on a fixed syllabus and set of lectures.

The Brazil Seminar has been offered continuously at Columbia since 2002. It continues to occupy an important role in the curriculum overseen by the Center for Brazilian Studies. In recent years, the Seminar has been under the overall direction of Professor Thomas Trebat of the School of International and Public Affairs who is the instructor of record.

The major public policy issue confronting Brazil since 2011 is that of sustaining the momentum of economic growth and human development in the wake of Brazil's surprisingly strong recovery from the global financial crisis. Brazil is also contending with important political change as new President Dilma Rousseff settles into office. Most speakers during this year will be addressing one or another issue related to these underlying themes.

Over the years, the Seminar has attracted a large number of expert speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Past speakers include Professor Lilia Moritz Schwarcz of the University of Sao Paulo and Visiting Professor at Princeton University; Henrique Meirelles, former president of the Central Bank of Brazil, Brasilia; Erasto Almeida, Brazil Analyst of the Eurasia Group, Larry Rohter of the New York Times; Governor Rogerio Rosso, Governor of the Federal District of Brasilia, Brazil; and Riordan Roett of SAIS-Johns Hopkins University, author of The New Brazil.