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Colorado Professor Brings a Community-based Focus to Studying Brazil

Published: November 11, 2016

Colorado Professor Brings a Community-based Focus to Studying Brazil

“The U.S. and Brazil are sort of the twins of North and South America, and they get compared as parallel narratives,” said Colorado College professor Sarah Hautzinger. “If you’re interested in geopolitics or political economy, globalization, migration, comparative culture — in so many areas, Brazil is an interesting vantage point because you’re straddled between worlds.”

An anthropologist whose research is focused in Brazil, Hautzinger will serve as visiting faculty director of the inaugural semester of the ACM Brazil: Culture, Community, & Language at PUC-Rio program in fall 2017. She was drawn to the program because it offers students in any major and without prior Portuguese language study an opportunity to immerse themselves in Brazilian society and pursue their individual academic interests.

Sarah Hautzinger

Sarah Hautzinger

“On this program you can step into Brazil in a very experiential way and continue your education without missing a beat” because courses are taught in English, she said. “If you’ve already studied Spanish, French, or Italian, you can also probably return home with fluency in Portuguese, due to the similarities of the languages.”

Along with a fascination for all things Brazilian, Hautzinger has years of varied and in-depth experience in the country. She’s lived in Rio de Janeiro and other cities while conducting fieldwork and as faculty for off-campus study programs. Her main research area, and subject of a book she’s written, is all-women police stations in Brazil created to address violence against women.

She will teach one of the courses students will take at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), ACM’s partner in the program, and will supervise students pursuing an optional independent study project (ISP).

Her interdisciplinary course, titled TRANS-Brazil: Relationship and Representation of National Identity, will explore aspects of Brazilian culture and society provide students with a means to think about Brazil and Brazilians in terms of relationships and representations, boundaries and transactions.

"There will be really interesting synergies between the community-based aspects of the course I’m teaching and the independent projects and the students’ volunteer service."

- Sarah Hautzinger

“Being who I am, I will be tipping toward having a substantial community-based element in the course,” said Hautzinger. “For each of the units in the course, I expect to have guest speakers and field trips. There’s nothing like giving students the chance to have that kind of contact with people directly involved in the issues we’re studying.”

PUC-Rio’s commitment to social action in the city has fostered a robust volunteer program run by university faculty and staff, which offers a wide range of community organizations and activities that students on the program can plug into.

“Most likely, there will be really interesting synergies between the community-based aspects of the course I’m teaching and the independent projects and the students’ volunteer service,” Hautzinger noted. “Students could have great opportunities to tie their social justice work at PUC into their independent studies and do some community-based kinds of fieldwork.”


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