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Brazil Visiting Chair 2018: Climate Change, Biodiversity and Nature: Brazilian and Global Contemporary Challenges


Admission requirements

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


The course will have two interconnected units. The first one will focus on climate change, its protocols (Kyoto, Rio and Paris), exploring the most probable scenarios of how its impacts will affect Brazil and the world throughout this century. The second one will approach how nature and life itself become an economic and political issue.
Understanding climate change as the direst threat facing the world and mankind, due to increasing human interference on Earth’s metabolism, the course first unit intends to provide a description of the ongoing effects of climate change throughout Brazil, stressing two main issues: (1) how the rising temperatures projected in the short and long term (2050 – 2100) could threaten Brazilian primary vegetation cover, soil fertility, precipitation, freshwater availability, agriculture, food security and its coastal line, where more than 50 million people live; (2) how climate change in Brazil could reverberate at a global level, given that the Brazilian forests weighs heavily on global climate stability and that Brazil is a major exporter of agricultural commodities, to Europe and China.
Departing from a critical political ecological perspective, the second unit will centre on the changing rapport society-nature, nowadays characterized by an increasing capitalist looting that leaves behind nothing, but dead land. This unit is structured on thematic approaches concerning the management of natural resources (water, forests, ore mining, garbage disposal, hydroelectric power plants, industrial agriculture x land use and regulation) and how it affects biodiversity and indigenous populations in Brazil and in other global south countries.

Course objectives

The objective of the course is to give an insight into the complexities and challenges Brazil specifically and the world, more generally, are facing due to climate change. It will also deal with the changes and impact of the various protocols on these problems and how Brazil plays a role in this international debate and what is done about this problem within the country.
The second unit will look at the biodiversity of the country and the clash between smallholders and industrial agriculture, on the repercussion of farming on an industrial scale on its natural resources, on the effect of mining and waste disposal. The consequences of the activities of the different actors will be analysed, as well as their significance for biodiversity and indigenous populations in the southern hemisphere.


See website for the timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

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 2 papers.

Assessment method

  • Participation in class (20%)

  • 2 Papers, one for each part (3500 words each) (40% + 40% = 80%)

For those following a research master, their papers should pay more attention to the theoretical framework of their paper. 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 papers need to be reworked


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


In case of an unsatisfactory grade, the papers need to be reworked

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • 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


Prof.dr. E. Amann

Administrations Office: Huizinga


Not applicable