What has made Brazilian cultural products such as Bossa Nova Music, Capoeira, and Jiu Jitsu famous worldwide? How did Portuguese colonization affect Brazil’s future as a nation? Why does Brazil have the most biological diversity of any place on Earth? Why is Brazil the most compared country to the U.S. in terms of race relations? Why is Brazil a great country to do business with despite its current economic crisis? What are the roots of corruption in Brazil? These are some of the questions that spur students to take classes in Brazilian Studies.
The Minor in Brazilian Studies is designed to help students gain knowledge and understanding of Brazilian culture and acquire advanced training in the Portuguese language. The goal of this Minor is to provide an opportunity for motivated undergraduates to develop communication skills and cultural understanding to strengthen them in their personal, professional, and academic endeavors, and ultimately to provide greater opportunities for advanced graduate training and a competitive edge in the job market. It supports a number of initiatives in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and across the University of Kansas, including the undergraduate research initiative, calls for greater interdisciplinary and international collaboration, and the broader goal of increasing linguistic and cultural literacy at KU.
Portuguese, the sixth most spoken language with approximately 210 million people, is the official language in 9 nations. Fluency in more than one language and an understanding of literary and cultural texts prepares students to become global citizens. With more than 1.3 million native speakers of Portuguese living in the U.S., knowledge of Portuguese and Brazilian culture is a major benefit.
Students are encouraged to begin the Minor at the end of their sophomore year or the beginning of their junior year. A pre-requisite of the program is two semesters of elementary Portuguese and one semester of intermediate Portuguese, or proof of equivalent preparation. The Minor requires 18 credit hours of minor-specific training, to be determined in consultation with an academic advisor. These 18 credit hours are divided as follows: (1) three of the five foundational courses in Portuguese language and literary/cultural analysis (all taught in Portuguese) and (2) three upper-division courses in Geography, History, and Portuguese specifically approved as electives for the Minor. Additionally, students may petition to substitute the approved electives with selected classes in Economics, History, International Business, Political Science, Spanish, and Theater and Film Studies having at least 1/3 focus on Brazil and for which the students write a term paper on Brazil. Courses taken as electives may be taught in English, Portuguese, or Spanish.