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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Fall 2009

POR 381 • Civilizing Brazil: Citizenship, Education and Literature in Post-Colonial Brazil

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46965 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
BEN 1.118

Course Description

Education was one of the most pervasive topics and first priorities in the nationalist agendas of nineteenth century Brazilian medical, abolitionist, feminist and literary discourses. Cast in these discourses as a moral imperative, education was also one of the reasons that the body—in particular, the subaltern bodies of females, urban poor population, immigrants, and even slaves—became central to Brazil's nation-building projects. During its infancy in Brazil in the first half of the century, the novel was consigned to a primarily entertaining and pedagogical function, and in the hands of charismatic writers soon became an important tool with which to disseminate idealized manners of conduct to an un-civilized, backward and therefore insidious reading population. This course’s primary focus, then, is on the norms of conduct aimed at white aristocrats and the emerging urban middle-class (that is, the novels’ potential audience), yet it will not exclude the debates surrounding slave’s education, as well as turn of the century education programs for the working class. Additionally, our cross-disciplinary approach to the nineteenth century novel, revealing the interface of education and literature at the foundation of this genre in Brazil, also requires an analysis of education theories in circulation at that time. Therefore, along with the novels listed below, we will read a series of handbooks by national educators and hygiene doctors, as well as John Locke’s influential Some Thoughts Concerning Education ,Fénelon’s Instructions for the Education of a Daughter, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile, or on Education, Jules Michelet’s Woman, and Samuel Smiles’ Self-Help. If education, or better yet its relevance in nineteenth century nationalist discourse, contributed to the novel’s wide popularity throughout the nineteenth century, it was also a cause for the marginalization of the genre in the then-emergent national literary canon. In other words, associated with the Horacean maxim Utile et dulce, the Brazilian novel received the approval of a readership in clear expansion, but was initially denied a consecrated place in literary history. Classes will be taught in Portuguese. Reading knowledge of Portuguese is required but class participation and the final paper may be in Spanish or in English.

Grading Policy

Your grade will be based on: active class participation, including exercises such as leading class discussion (30%); one oral report of the final paper proposal (20%); and a final research paper (50%).


Tereza Margarida da Silva e Orta. Aventuras de Diófanes, Máximas Virtude e Formosura (1777) Nísia Floresta Brasileira Augusta (pseudonym of Dionísia Gonçalves Pinto). Opúsculo Humanitário (1853) Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. Helena (1876) José Martiniano de Alencar. Senhora (1875) Joaquim Manuel de Macedo. A Moreninha (1844); Vítimas-Algozes: quadros da escravidão (1869) Júlia Lopes de Almeida. Memórias de Marta (1887) Raul Pompéia. O Ateneu (1888) Adolfo Caminha. A Normalista (1891)


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