Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


nl en

Brazil: The Construction of a World Power


Admission requirements

This course is open to BA students who have taken at least one course in a relevant area of specialization (i.e. in Latin American studies) in the first year.


This course examines the rise to global prominence of Brazil and the current challenges it faces. The country’s economic, political and social development is traced from the Colonial Period, through independence, the transition to a Republic and to the present day. The course aims to highlight the challenges Brazil has faced as it has striven to develop and close the gap with the advanced, industrialised world. The course also pays close attention to Brazil’s current role in the world, considering its role as a regional power, as a generator and recipient of foreign direct investment and as an increasingly prominent actor in international multilateral bodies. Key topics to be covered include:

  1. Colonial Brazil
  2. From independence to republic
  3. The economic, social and political development of Brazil up to World War II
  4. Developmentalism, import substitution and the rise of Brazil as an industrial power: 1945-1985
  5. Democratisation, globalisation and the conquest of inflation: 1985-2002
  6. Lula, the “New Left”and the attack on poverty: 2002-2010
  7. Contemporary Brazil under Rousseff: a nation in crisis?
  8. Brazil as a contemporary world power: foreign direct investment and home grown multinationals
  9. Brazil as a contemporary world power: its role as a key actor in multilateral institutions
  10. Brazil as a contemporary world power: foreign policy, peacekeeping activity and South-South activitism
    Teaching materials used: readings and lecture slides

Course objectives

Academic skills that are developed include:
Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan/paper of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured written presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.


Timetable LAS

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture and seminars featuring student participation

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 12 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and lecture notes 118 hours

  • Researching, preparing and delivering a group presentation: 10 hours

Assessment method


  • Written examination with essay questions

  • Oral presentation.


To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average

(Written exam at end of course 60%; Group Presentation 40%)


In the case of resitting the final exam, students will be presented with an exam paper identical in format to the original exam. They will need to answer all questions.
In the case of essays, resubmission in the case of a failed assignment is possible. The maximum possible grade to be obtained for re-submission is a 6.0

Exam review

Exam reviews will be conducted on request by students. Results of first sit exams will be available no later than 3 days before the scheduled resit exam.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Distribution of Lecture Slides

  • Setting of assignments

Reading list

Key bibliography:

W. Baer (2013) The Brazilian Economy, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Press (Chs. 1-3)
B. Fausto (1999) A Concise History of Brazil, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Chs 1-6)
A. Fishlow (2011) Starting Over: Brazil Since 1985, Washington DC: Brookings Institution (Ch. 5)
M. Reid (2015) Brazil: The Troubled Rise of a Global Power, New Haven: Yale University Press (especially Part III)
R. Roett (2011) The New Brazil, Washington: Brookings Institution (Ch. 8)

Note: These are introductory readings and further readings in connection with sub-topics will be recommended once the course begins. It is recommended, though not essential, that students review the chapters cited above prior to the commencement of the course.The readings are available via the library and online.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Register for Studeren à la carte

Register for Contractonderwijs


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher:
Prof. Dr. E. Amann

Coordinator of Studies: A.C. Wapenaar MA

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats


Not applicable