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Brazilian Chair Minor 2013: Brazil, Security and International Relations


Admission requirements



Brazil has a distinct geographical composition and political history in comparison to others South American countries. Brazil’s huge and complex geography has always been a force against integration, and the seventy-seven years of monarchical regime provided just its main legacy in prejudice of freedom and development. While development was a Brazilian obsession in the 20th century, liberal governance was always fragile in its republican regime. These periods were not without political turmoil, revolts and wars.
Brazil had most of its attention and strength compromised with regional and domestic issues. In most of its history, Brazil was a free-rider in international security. And even in its strategic commitment with the United States during the Cold War, that was to deal with the ‘the enemy within’. Furthermore, Brazilian acting on the international stage is a recent experiment. It should be studied with prudence while considering the role of its historical background and the raison d’être of its institutions.
This course aims to offer an overall background in order to grasp the Brazilian position into contemporary agenda of regional and international securities. The first part of the course intends to present the historical aspects that explain Brazilian distinction in security issues. The second part of the course intends to present Brazilian current institutions and policies for security and defence.

Course objectives

  • 5-2: Brazilian Geographical Determinants

  • 12/2: The Constitution of Brazilian (non-)Nation-State

  • 19-2: The Brazilian Monarchy, Civil Wars and Frontiers Formation

  • 26-2: The Military Establishment in Brazilian Politics

  • 5-3: United States Ascension in Brazilian Security

  • 12-3: Historical and Institutional Bases of Brazilian Security Policies

  • 19-3: Brazilian Security Goals and Policymaking

  • 2-4: The Brazilian Armed Forces: Identities and Challenges

  • 9-4: Brazilian Intelligence Services and the Domestic Power Struggles

  • 16-4: Brazilian Public Security and Polices

  • 23-4: Future Trends and Issues of Brazilian Security



Mode of instruction


Assessment method



Blackboard will be used to post all the necessary information about the course (programme, time tables, announcements, etc.). Also notices will be posted on interesting activities (such as Conferences, workshops, expositions, etc.), which are related to the themes analyzed during the course.

Reading list

  • Stratfor (2012). The Geopolitics of Brazil: An Emergent Power’s Struggle with Geography.

  • Barman (1988). Stumbling into Independence. In Brazil: Forging the Nation. Standford University Press, chapter 3.

  • Fausto (1999). Imperial Brazil. In A Concise History of Brazil. Cambridge University Press, chapter 2.

  • Farcau (1996). Leaving Gracefully: The Brazilian Case. In The Transition to Democracy in Latin America: the Role of the Military. Praeger, chapter 4.

  • Hirst (2004). “Historical Background”. In The United States and Brazil: A Long Road of Unmet Expectations. Routledge, chapter 1.

    • Proença Jr & Diniz (2008). Brazilian Conceptualization of Security. In Brauch (ed.) Globalization and Environmental Challenges : Reconptualising Security in 21st Century Berlin: Springer, chapter 21.
  • Fujita (1998). The Brazilian Policy of Sustainable Defence. International Affairs, 74(3).

  • Bertazzo, J. (2012). Brazilian Security and Defence Policy under President Dilma Rousseff: Transition and Initial Challenges. Critical Sociology, 38(6), 809-821.

  • Hunter (1997). Budgetary Politics: Soldiers and Politicians Compete. In Eroding Military Influence in Brazil: Politicians against Soldiers. University of North Carolina Press, chapter 5.

  • Brasil (2012). Livro Branco de Defesa Nacional. Ministério da Defesa.

  • Cepik & Antunes (2003). Professionalization of the Intelligence Activities in Brazil: criteria, evidence, and remaining challenges. In Swenson & Lemozy, (Eds). Intelligence Profesionalism in the Americas. JMIC-NDU Press. Pages 109-154.

  • Zirker & Redinger (2003). The Military, Intelligence Agencies, Political Scandals, and Democracy in Brazil – 1998-2000. Journal of Political and Military Sociology, 31(1).

  • Movie: 400 contra 1: Uma História do Crime Organizado (2010).

  • Duarte, (2011). South American Strategic Condition and Implications for Brazilian National Defense. In: Whatever Happened to North-South? IPSA-EPCR Joint Conference


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Prof.dr. P. Silva. Tel.: 071-527 5496.
Dr. M.L. Wiesebron. Tel.: 071-527 2063