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Unit information: Transnational Narratives in Contemporary Brazilian Culture in 2015/16

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Unit name Transnational Narratives in Contemporary Brazilian Culture
Unit code HISP30059
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. King
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit offers an in-depth look at processes of transnational identification in contemporary Brazilian culture. Through a discussion of a number of novels and films produced in Brazil since the year 2000, it will explore representations of diaspora in Brazil, in particular Jewish, Lebanese and Japanese communities in the country. The focus will be how cultural engagements with diasporic belonging function as symptoms of shifting modes of identification and subjectivity in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world. Through a close reading of texts such as the novel A chave de casa (2007) by Tatiana Salem Levy and the documentary Um passaporte húngaro (2001), by Sandra Kogut, students will be encouraged to discuss the connection between the theme of territorial displacement and the narrative strategies of ‘autofiction’ and performative documentary making. Through a discussion of the fiction of Milton Hatoum, students will explore the transformations in the form and social function of the regionalist novel in the context of globalization. An exploration of the novels of Bernardo Carvalho will focus on the use of Orientalist tropes, especially in relation to the Japanese community in Brazil.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will have:

  1. developed a good understanding of the processes and political significance of transnational belonging in contemporary Brazilian culture.
  2. developed an awareness of the networks of diasporic communities that make up the social fabric of Brazil as well as an understanding of wider debates about globalization.
  3. developed a sophisticated critical vocabulary appropriate to the study of both literary and cinematic texts.
  4. demonstrated an ability to construct an argument that balances detailed analysis of specific texts with both a wider understanding of the historical context and theoretical debates.
  5. developed an ability to describe, analyse and evaluate both primary (fictional) and secondary (critical) texts, write critically and communicate complex ideas and analysis orally appropriate to level H.
  6. demonstrated independence of thought both in the effective use of library and computer resources and in the development of seminar presentations.

Teaching Information

2 contact hours weekly, consisting of informal lectures and seminars and including presentations and discussions

Assessment Information

1 x 3000 word essay (50%) testing ILO's 1-6

1 x 2 hour exam (50%) testing ILO's 1-6.

Reading and References

A chave de casa (2007) by Tatiana Salem Levy

Um passaporte húngaro (2001), directed by Sandra Kogut

Relato de um certo Oriente (2002) by Milton Hatoum

Corações sujos (2011), directed by Vicente Amorim

O sol se põe em São Paulo (2007) by Bernardo Carvalho

[Texts may change from year to year]