nl en

Brazil Visiting Chair 2017: The BRICS and economic and international changes


Admission requirements

To be a registered student of any Master programme at Leiden University or other Dutch University.


The objective of this course is to give insight in different aspects of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), foremost economic and international, and its impact on the countries themselves and globally. In 2001 O’Neil, from Goldman Sachs launched the concept BRIC [Brazil Russia, India and China] as the emerging powerhouses that would overtake practically all industrialised countries in a matter of time. BRIC became much more than a concept, when the countries started to cooperate and even added South Africa to the group in 2011. The course will be given in 2 parts.

In the 1st part, historical singularities of this unique political/economic bloc will be examined by looking at the different approaches each one of them took in their late industrialization processes in the 20th century. The way each one of them has tackled the challenges and opportunities of information and communications techno-economic paradigm will be analysed in order to understand the way they are building new spaces in the world economy. The national system of innovation approach will be used in order to understand the way each one of them has used the role of the State, financing, SMEs and social programs as instruments of social cohesion and economic competitiveness. The bloc’s reaction to Bretton-Woods institutions will be examined through a closer look at the New Development Bank and the Stabilization Fund.

In the 2nd part, the course aims to present an analysis of the world system changes after the end of the Cold War in its strategic dimensions and the geopolitical impact of the on-going economic transformation. The BRIC concept presented by Goldman Sachs, the 2008 financial crisis and the institutionalization of the BRICS in 2009 will also be addressed. The several Summits agendas will be analysed, also a discussion regarding the real goals of the group will be brought, as well as a debate about the internal differences inside the group and its proposals. Another theme will be the reaction of the North Atlantic powers and the risks to the group’s cohesion. The impact of the crisis and of the governmental changes in some of its members and possible scenarios will be studied.

Course objectives

The objective of the course is to give an insight into concepts such as globalization, innovation and BRICS. The emphasis will be on the economic and international development of these different countries, with a focus on Brazil.



Classes on Tuesdays, 11-13, from 31-1-2017 till 25-4-2017

Mode of instruction


Course Load

10 EC: 280 hours in total

  • 24 hours for class attendance.

  • 76 hours for reading assignments and preparing an oral presentation

  • 180 hours for writing a paper.

Assessment method

  • Participation in class (20%)

  • Paper (6000 words) (80%)

The papers for the research master should pay more attention to the theoretical framework of their paper and relate the case study to a key debate on Latin American Modernities (discussed in the core courses). To this end, these students will get at least one extra individual meeting focused on theory and a more complex research question.

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

In case of an unsatisfactory grade, the paper needs to be reworked.


Blackboard will be used :

  • to post all the necessary information about the course (programme, time tables, announcements, etc.)

  • to post interesting activities (such as Conferences, workshops, expositions, etc.), which are related to the themes analysed during the course

Reading list

List of publications will be posted at Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact:
dr. M.L. Wiesebron

Coordinator of Studies: M.A.G. van Leeuwen MA

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats