Brazil Today

Economy, Technology, and People

Friday, September 11, 2015 - Sunday, September 13, 2015


Brazil Today

Class times: 5pm Friday, September 11, 2015 to 1:30pm Sunday, September 13, 2015 (Room 2400 Sennott Square, University of Pittsburgh)

Brazil Today is a one-credit (Pitt)/ three-unit (CMU) mini course, consisting of 14 hours of classes over a weekend, with a major paper assignment to be completed for credit. This course is created for undergraduate and graduate students. However, K-12 educators, business and community members are welcome to attend all or sections of the course for free. The course will open with two keynote lectures on Friday evening on an overview of the issues. This will be followed by instructional lectures on Saturday on the various themes by experts in the fields.  Sunday morning will be a discussion of two case studies and a panel discussion by the speakers on future challenges and some possible projections/ recommendations.


As global citizens, students need to have a working knowledge of other countries, which are important in shaping the corporate, social and political world. As a rising state in the world economy, Brazil’s status in the business and in world affairs is shifting.

Course Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course, the students will:

1. Have a general understanding of the corporate, geo-political, cultural and social factors that define Brazil’s economic, cultural and technological landscape at the present time.

2. Explore one of these factors in depth, through the research paper.

Faculty presenters: Please visit the Speakers and Abstract tab 


All material will be provided through recommended readings.


This short course will explore how various intersections of economy, society, and identity interact in Brazil and in the perceived position of Brazil as an emerging world economy. It will explore questions such as:

  • How does Brazil's history and diversity reflect in the policies and the economy of Brazil? In the way Brazilians react with the market?
  • What are today’s challenges in attaining equity in quality of life in Brazil? What are some of its greatest needs?
  • What are impediments to Brazil’s economic and business growth?
  • What are some of the salient features of the U.S.-Brazilian relations?
  • How have cultural traditions and modernizations integrated in Brazil? What have been some cultural responses to globalization?
  • What lies ahead? What are the opportunities and challenges in Brazil’s immediate future?


Due to the immersive nature of the course, students are expected to attend all sessions on all three days. Further, each student will be required to read the assigned book and develop a research paper on one dimension of modern Brazil that has been introduced in class. The paper should be based on one of the topics covered in the course. The length of the term paper will be 5-10 pages, double spaced in 11 point font. Research papers are due by Friday, November 20 at 5:00pm and should be submitted through Carnegie Mellon's Blackboard or University of Pittsburgh’s Courseweb assignment tab for the course.

Sample topics for term papers include:

  • Historical factors in the development of Brazil’s market economy
  • Factors that encourage or retard technological innovation in Russia
  • The role of education in making Brazil a world power
  • Financing innovation in Brazil: foreign, multinational, and Russian enterprises
  • Education and innovation in Brazil
  • Ethnicity and educational opportunity
  • Brazil’s economy—communist, socialist, capitalist, or something else?
  • Global forces impacting the Russian economy
  • Global forces impacting the Russian education system

Audit Option:

Carnegie Mellon students may also audit the course by attending all the sessions, but not writing the paper. You should be sure to process an audit form, both if you are auditing from the beginning or later if you have decided not to do a paper and want your status changed from credit to audit. Pitt students may also audit but students must choose this option before the beginning of the course and it will not appear on your transcript as having taken the course. Once the course has started students will be graded based on how they signed up for the course.

Note: The paper is not a book or chapter review, but an overall analysis that demonstrates your reading and thinking on the subject. First articulate an organizing question that you will attempt to answer, and proceed from there to find sources. The organizing question has to be an exploration on one of the issues or aspects addressed by one or several speakers in the course.

As this is a generalist course, we don’t expect a detailed economic or political analysis, but a thorough literature review on the topic and your synthesis of these readings to answer the question with a critical perspective.

Instructors (responsible for grades and class organization): 

Professor Amy Burkert ( is responsible for grades at Carnegie Mellon University, and Veronica Dristas ( at the University of Pittsburgh, respectively. Please send an e-mail to us individually if you have questions regarding grades.

Sponsored by:  

University of Pittsburgh: Global Studies CenterCenter for Latin American StudiesDepartment of Economics, Katz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of EngineeringInternational Business Center, and College of Business Administration

Carnegie Mellon University: H. John Heinz III College, Office of the Provost,Division of Student Affairs 


Barry Ames

Barry Ames is the Andrew Mellon Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Pittsburgh. His areas of expertise include comparative politics, Latin America, legislative behavior, electoral systems, and political economy. He has spent decades studying political climates in Latin America, and has published two books and numerous articles specifically on Brazil, including The Deadlock of Democracy in Brazil (2001). He formerly served as the Chair of Pitt's Department of Political Science for ten years. His work has also included professional consulting in Mozambique, Bolivia, Ghana, Brazil, Angola, Costa Rica, Kuwait, and Guinea-Bissau.

George Reid Andrews

Democratic George Reid Andrews has taught at the University of Pittsburgh since 1981 and is Distinguished Professor of History. He specializes in the study of Black history in Latin America and has written a number of books on that subject: Blackness in the White Nation: A History of Afro-Uruguay (2010); Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000 (2004), Blacks and Whites in São Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988 (1991); and The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires, 1800-1900 (1980). He has lived in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay; in 2014 he was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Universidad de la República in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Chris A. Belasco

Dr. Chris A. Belasco is a Research and Analysis Coordinator for the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, where he manages projects that evaluate democracy and governance programs. He traveled to Brazil and Venezuela to complete dissertation research comparing the politics of the Bolsa Família program with the Misiones Sociales. His research interests include: Social Policy, Conditional Cash Transfers, Clientelism, Legislative Politics, Foreign Assistance, Democratic Development, and Program Evaluation.

Ana Paula Carvalho

Born in Fortaleza, Brazil, Ana Paula Carvalho studied Portuguese and Spanish Languages and Literatures at the Universidade Estadual do Ceará, where she received her BA. She earned her MA in Applied Linguistics from the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh. She works as the Portuguese Language Coordinator and Portuguese Minor advisor, and is the Director of the Pitt in Brazil study abroad program. Ana Paula was designated to be part of the initial cohort of Honors College Faculty Fellows. Her areas of interest are: Portuguese Language, teaching methodology and techniques, second and third language teaching acquisition.

James A. Craft

Dr. Craft is Professor of Business Administration in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. He earned his PhD in Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations at the University of California, Berkeley and has held faculty positions at Berkeley, Purdue University and the University of Pittsburgh. Jim has been a visiting professor at universities in Chile and Hungary and has lectured widely on management and human resources topics throughout Latin America and Europe. He has been a labor force analyst with the U.S. Department of Labor, an intercity marketing analyst for Pacific Telephone and has worked for the International Association of Machinists as a member of a district lodge collective bargaining committee. He has twice served as Interim/Acting Director of the University Center for Latin American Studies. He was the first Academic Director for the Katz Executive MBA Program, has served as Director of the School’s Doctoral Program. In addition, he has served as Chairperson of the Katz Organizational Behavior & Human Resources faculty. Jim has been an active consultant with organizations in manufacturing, health care and service industries. His research and teaching focus on effective talent management in organizations and organizational value creation through the design and implementation of strategic human resources systems.

Bruno Hoepers

Bruno is a PhD student in political science at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interestes include excutive politics and bureaucracy, comparative political behavior, clientelism, and policy responsiviness in Latin America.

Brian Kovak

Dr. Kovak joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College in 2010 as an Assistant Professor of Economics and Public policy after receiving his PhD from the University of Michigan. Prof. Kovak’s research focuses on the labor market impacts of international trade and migration. In previous work, he has examined the effects of Brazilian trade liberalization on local wages, inequality, informality, and internal migration, the drivers of increased inequality in the U.S., and the role of immigrants in equalizing labor market outcomes across U.S. local labor markets. His research has been published in journals such as the American Economic Review and the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. In ongoing research, he is investigating the effects of offshoring by U.S. multinational firms on domestic employment and the effects of competition in export markets on employment outcomes for Portuguese exporters. Prof. Kovak is a Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Research Fellow of IZA, and serves as an Associate Editor at the Journal of Development Economics.

Daniel Mossé

Dr. Mossé is Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh. The current major thrusts of his research are real‐time and embedded systems, power management issues, and networks (sensor, wireless and security). He has published approximately 200 papers worldwide in these topics. Typically funded by NSF and DARPA, his projects combine theoretical results and actual implementations. He received a BS in Mathematics from the University of Brasilia in 1986, and MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of Maryland in 1990 and 1993, respectively. Dr. Mosse received the Provost's Innovation in Education Grant/Award in 2007 for redesigning the Introductory Programming course for non-majors. He received the Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award in 2006 (one of two among over 500 faculty members in the School of Arts and Sciences). Dr. Mossé has served on Technical Program Committees and as TPC chair for most major IEEE‐ and ACM‐sponsored real‐time conferences. In 2011, he was co-chair of the International Green Computing Conference and GeneraIEEE International Conferencel Co-Chair for the International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems.

Stu Sutin

Dr. Sutin joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 as Clinical Professor of Administrative and Policy Studies, and Associate Director of the Institute for the International Studies of Education. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of Community College of Allegheny County between 2003 and 2007. Dr. Sutin worked in the financial services industry where was President of Bank of Boston International, and Senior Vice President and International Department head of Mellon Bank. He also co-founded and chaired the Global Trade Institute in Pittsburgh and the New England Export School in Boston.

Emy Takada

Emy Takada is a native of São Paulo, Brazil, and a second generation Japanese-Brazilian. She graduated with BAs in Art Education and Plastic Arts from UNICAMP (Brazil), and received an MFA in Motion Picture Production from the University of Miami. Emy previously worked in the film and TV industries, serving as a producer at Hybrid Cinema and developing content for TV networks such as the Discovery Channel. Currently she is in her third year in the Hispanic Languages and Literatures PhD program at Pitt. Her research interests include the practices of women filmmakers in Brazil, the representation of Brazilian culture, eroticism and violence, and film adaptations of Latin American literature.

Recommended readings and Recent Publications for Dr. Andrews

Readings on racial inequality in Brazil:

Marcelo Paixão and Graziella Moraes Silva, “Mixed and Unequal: New Perspectives on Brazilian Ethnoracial Relations,” in Edward Telles and PERLA, Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014), 172-217.

Michelle Peria and Stanley R. Bailey, “Remaking Racial Inclusion: Combining Race and Class in Brazil’s New Affirmative Action,” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 9, 2 (2014), 156-176.

George Reid Andrews, “Racial Inequality in Brazil and the United States, 1990-2010,” Journal of Social History 47, 4 (2014), 829-54.

Recommended Readings and Recent Publications for Dr. Christopher Belasco

Recommended Readings:

Barrientos, Armando "The Rise of Social Assistance in Brazil" in Development and Change. International Institute for Social Studies: The Hague, 2013. p.887-910.

Hall, Anthony "The Last Shall be First: Political Dimensions of Conditional Cash Transfers in Brazil" in Journal of Policy Practice, 11:25-41 , 2012.

Recent Publications:

Belasco, Christopher, Picard, Louis A. and Terry Buss (as lead author). 2015. “Foreign Aid, Institutions, and Human Development.” Sustainable Development and Human Security in Africa: Governance as the Missing Link. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC/ Taylor and Francis.

Belasco, Christopher, Picard, Louis A. and Terry Buss. 2015. “Human Development and the Millennium Development Goals: Donors, Foreign Aid and Sustainability.” Sustainable Development and Human Security in Africa: Governance as the Missing Link. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC/ Taylor and Francis.


Recommended Readings and Recent Publications for Dr. James Craft:

Recommended Readings:

The Week Staff, “Brazil’s Economic Catastrophe,” The Week  (May 30, 2015):
Bilal Jafar, “Brazilian Economy Struggles to Take off”  World Money Forum (May 5, 2015):
“The 50-year snooze; Brazil’s economy,” The Economist (April 19, 2014):
Edmund Amann, “Brazil’s Economy Under Lula: The dawn of a new era?” World Economics, Vol. 6, No. 4 (October-December 2005) pp. 149-169. Suggest that the students read the “Conclusions” on pp. 167-168. 

Recommended Readings and Recent Publications for Bruno Hoepers:

Recommended Readings:

Alston, L. J., Melo, M. A., Mueller, B., & Pereira, C. (2006). Political institutions, policymaking processes and policy outcomes in Brazil.
Ames, B. (2009). The deadlock of democracy in Brazil. University of Michigan Press.
Bersch, K., Praça, S., & Taylor, M. M. (2013, May). State Capacity and Bureaucratic Autonomy Within National States: Mapping the Archipelago of Excellence in Brazil. In Latin American Studies Association Conference. Washington. Disponível em http://cepesp. files. wordpress. com/2013/06/bersch-praca-taylor-state-capacity-and-autonomy-may-1_lasa. pdf.
Figueiredo, A. C., & Limongi, F. (2000). Presidential power, legislative organization, and party behavior in Brazil. Comparative Politics, 151-170.
Mainwaring, S. (1993). Presidentialism, Multipartism, and Democracy The Difficult Combination. Comparative political studies, 26(2), 198-228.
Power, T. J. (2010). Optimism, pessimism, and coalitional presidentialism: Debating the institutional design of Brazilian democracy. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 29(1), 18-33.
Praça, S., Freitas, A., & Hoepers, B. (2011). Political appointments and coalition management in Brazil, 2007-2010. Journal of Politics in Latin America, 3(2), 141-17


Recommended Readings and Recent Publications for Dr. Brian Kovak:

Recommended Readings: 

Moreira, Maruicio Mesquita “Brazil’s Trade Policy: Old and New Issues” in Brazil as an Economic Superpower? Understanding Brazil’s Changing Role in the Global Economy. eds, Lael Brainard and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz. Washington DC: Brookings, 2009. p.137-156.


Almeida, Rita and Pedro Carneiro “Enforcement of Labor Regulation and Informality.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. 2012. p.64-89. Students should focus on Section “I. Labor Market Regulation and Enforcement in Brazil.”


Lustig, Nora, Luis F. Lopez-Calva, and Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez “Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.” World Development. 2013.  p.129-141.

Recent Publications:

Dix-Carneiro, Rafael and Brian K. Kovak “Trade Reform and Regional Dynamics: Evidence From 25 Years of Brazilian Matched Employer-Employee Data” NBER Working Paper w20908, 2015.


Dix-Carneiro, Rafael and Brian K. Kovak “Trade Liberalization and the Skill Premium: A Local Labor Markets Approach” American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings. 2015, 105(5): 551-557. 


Kovak, Brian K.  “Regional Efects of Trade Reform: What is the Correct Measure of Liberalization?” American Economic Review. 2013, 103(5): 1960-1976.






Copyright 2017 | Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh