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Emerging Markets - BRICS & CIVETS Resources @ Pitt (Brazil, India, Russia, China, South Africa & Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa and more ...): Brazil Today

This guide is designed to provide selected high-quality resources for those interested in emerging market economies. It features individual country pages as well as sources searchable by topic or country.

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Brazil Today Course Information

File:Christ on Corcovado mountain.JPG

A panoramic view of Christ the Redeemer at the top of Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the background is Sugarloaf Mountain (centre) and Guanabara Bay. [Public domain] and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Brazil Today: Economy, Technology, and People

Class times: 5pm Friday, September 11, 2015 to 1:30 pm 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.


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 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 Brazilian economy
  • Global forces impacting the Brazilian 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):     Professors Amy Burkert ( and Renee Camerlengo ( responsible for grades at Carnegie Mellon University and Veronica Dristas ( at the University of Pittsburgh, respectively.   Please send e-mail to us individually if you have questions regarding grades.  

Sponsored by:

University of Pittsburgh:  Global Studies Center Center 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 ProvostDivision of Student Affairs

Liaison Librarian and Reference / Instruction

Lois Kepes's picture
Lois Kepes
G20-X Hillman Library (Ground Floor)


Tuesday evening appointments often available.

CMU Students

CMU students may visit Hillman Library's service desk on the ground floor to get a temporary logon.  It will permit you to access our ebooks and databases while in Hillman Library. 

Pitt affliates should be able to access all material from on campus or remotely.  Our Ezproxy server will prompt you to log in from with your email user name and password when you access paid licensed content (databases and ebooks).  

Course Schedule

Schedule (updated 8/17/15)

Friday, September 11, 5:00 - 8:00pm

5:00 pm - 5:15 pm Brief Introductions and Welcome: Dr. Ariel Armony, Dr. Amy Burkert,  and Dr. Michael Goodhart
5:15 pm - 6:30 pm Consular Mission Representative Speaker - "Brazil Today and Tomorrow"
6:30 pm - 6:45 pm Break
6:45 pm - 8:00 pm Reid Andrews - "Racial Inequality in Brazil"

Saturday, September 12, 9:00am - 6:45pm

9:00 am - 10:15 am StuartSutin - "Fiduciary Responsibilities of Those who Govern: The Gap between Socio-economic Needs and Political Realities"
10:15 am - 10:30 am Break
10:30am - 11:45 am Brian Kovak - "Trade, Labor Markets, and Inequality in Brazil"
11:45 am - 12:00 pm Break
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
 Jim Craft - "Brazil: Perspectives, the Economy and Doing Business
1:15 pm - 2:30 pm Lunch
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm Daniel Mosse - "Discussion of Inclusion of BSMP Students in the CS Program and their Contribution and Innovations"
3:45-pm - 4:00 pm Break
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm Ana Paula Carvalho - "Brazilian Popular Culture and Society"
5:15 pm - 5:30 pm Break 
5:30-pm - 6:45 pm Speaker - "Brazilian Film and Carmen Miranda" 

Sunday, September 13, 9:00am - 1:00pm

9:00am - 10:15am Barry Ames- "Political Development or Lack of It, Post Lula"  
10:15am - 10:30 am Break
10:30 am - 11:45 am Chris Belasco"Bolsa Família: Mainstreaming Social Assistance and its Recipients in Brazil"
11:45 am - 12:00 pm Break
12:00pm - 1:00pm Conclusions and Closing Remarks

Sponsored by:

University of Pittsburgh: Global Studies Center, Department of Economics, Katz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of Engineering, International Business Center, and College of Buisness Administration Carnegie Mellon University: H. John Heinz III College, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs