Challenges to Brazilian Democracy Conference at Brown University

We would like to inform our members about this important conference on the current situation in Brazil under the repressive Bolsonaro government and how you can act in solidarity with the opposition.

Challenges to Brazilian Democracy Conference

The U.S Network for Democracy in Brazil and the Brazil Initiative at Brown University are delighted to invite you to the Seventh International Conference on Brazil at Brown University, entitled Challenges to Brazilian Democracy, which will take place between April 18th and 20th, 2019 at the Watson Institute in Providence, Rhode Island. The conference is open to all, at no cost. Please, find the full program below.

Challenges to Brazilian Democracy
April 18-21, 2019
Watson Institute for International and Policy Studies
111 Thayer Street, Brown University, Providence, RI
The recent election of Jair Bolsonaro to the Brazilian presidency has raised new questions about the state of democracy in Brazil. Are his campaign promises to criminalize social movements, stop the demarcation of indigenous lands, and eliminate opposition political parties merely electoral rhetoric? What does increased deforestation of the Amazon and other sensitive ecological zones mean for the environment?  What is the fate of academic and cultural freedom under a new government whose supporters speak, among other questions, against “gender ideology” and “political correctness,” which can be read as veiled critiques of the women’s and the LGBTQI+ movements and the ideas of progressive social sectors? Will new gun policies result in more deaths in rural and urban areas, and particularly among people of African and indigenous descent? To what extent are human rights, especially among low-income citizens, under threat? This international conference, organized jointly with colleagues from Harvard University, will bring together scholars and social and cultural activists to analyze the current situation in Brazil and assess these and other threats to democracy posed by President Bolsonaro’s far-right agenda. At the Conference, we will also launch the U.S. Observatory for Democracy in Brazil, an English-language website documenting recent events in the country, and have a strategic discussion about how U.S.-based academics and activists can defend democracy in Brazil.
Thursday, April 18       Opening Ceremony
6:00-8:00 pm               
Welcome:           James N. Green, Director, Brown Brazil Initiative
                            Richard Locke, Provost, Brown University
Keynote Panel:  What does it mean to be a political exile under the Bolsonaro government?

  • Débora Diniz, professor of anthropology and law
  • Jean Wyllys, journalist, former congressman
  • Márcia Tiburi, professor of philosophy

8:00-9:00 pm   Reception
Friday, April 19
9:30-10:00        Light breakfast
10:00-12:00      Panel I: The Political Context in Brazil Today
Chair: Bruno Carvalho, cultural historian, Harvard University

  • Celso Rocha de Barros, journalist, Folha de São Paulo
  • Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, sociologist, University of South Florida
  • Marlon Weichert, Deputy Federal Attorney for Citizen’s Rights

12:00-1:30         Lunch
1:30-3:30           Panel II: Cultural Resistance and Academic Freedom
                            Chair: Leiha Lehnen, literary scholar, Brown University

  • MC Carol, singer/songwriter
  • Éder Oliveira, artist
  • Sidney Chalhoub, historian, Harvard University

3:30-4:00           Coffee break
4:00-6:00           Panel III: Religious, Ethnicity and the Brazilian State
                            Chair: Geri Augusto, public policy, Brown University

  • Erisvaldo Santos, pai de santo, educator, Federal Univ. of Ouro Preto
  • TBA, indigenous leader and activist[1]
  • Michel Gherman, historian, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

6:30-9:00             Dinner for participants at Faculty Club
Saturday, April 20
9:30-10:00            Light breakfast
10:00-12:00          Panel IV: Economic and Social Rights
                            Chair: Anani Dzidzienyo, Africana Studies, Brown University

  • Pedro Paulo Bastos, economist, Campinas State University
  • Douglas Belchior, activist, popular educator
  • Symmy Larrat, trans activist, President of the ABGLT

12:00-1:30            Lunch
1:30-3:30             Panel V: Environmental Justice and the Right to Land
                            Chair: Leah Van Wey, environmental sociologist, Brown University

  • Ayala Dias Ferreira, Landless Peasants Movement (MST)
  • Paul E. Little, environmental anthropologist
  • Elionice Conceição Sacramento, community researcher, quilombola activist

3:30-4:00             Coffee break
4:00-6:00             Panel VI: Organizing Resistance in the United States
Chair: Marina Adams, National Organizer, U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil

  • Stanley Gacek, United Food and Commercial Workers Inter. Union
  • Gladys Mitchell-Walthour, President, Brazilian Studies Association
  • Alex Main, Director of International Policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, D.C.
  • James N. Green, National Coordinator, U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil

Sunday, April 21
9:00-12:00            Open Forum: Discussions on Short-term and Strategic Activities


[1] To be confirmed

Conference Organizing Committee: James N. Green (chair), Geri Augusto, Bruno Carvalho, Sidney Chalhoub, Keisha-Khan Perry, Leila Lehnen, Ramon Stern, Leah VanWey
Sponsors: Africana Studies (Brown), Brown Brazil Initiative Center for Slavery and Justice (Brown), Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (Brown), Cogut Institute of Humanities (Brown), Department of History (Brown), Department of African and African American Studies (Harvard) Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies (Brown), Watson Institute for International and Policy Studies (Brown).