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Recently completed field studies and research from primary sources on Brazil constitute the main interest of this seminar. Brazilian, the U.S. and other visiting scholars participate, contributing their interpretations of recent events. Portuguese may be spoken whenever convenient.

Professor Diana Brown

Professor John F. Collins

Professor Sidney M. Greenfield

Professor Vania Penha-Lopes 

Bruna Credidio Camara

All seminars will meet over Zoom for the 2020 fall semester. Meeting links provided upon RSVP. Meeting dates and times are subject to change. 

Meeting Schedule

09/17/2020 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Five years on from Zika to COVID -– mothers share their stories: A Film, An Updating on Effects of COVID, and a Discussion
Parry Scott, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Brazil)


Since the Zika virus hit the headlines in 2015, thousands of children and their families in Brazil were affected and have been living with the consequences, such as the intense daily care, therapies and treatments needed, ever since. Five mothers whose lives have been completely changed as a result of the impact of the Zika virus on their children share their stories of strength, survival and love in a series of short films they have written, co-produced and co-directed in the context of a four-year study being done by Anthropologists from the FAGES Study Group on Family, Gender and Sexuality of the Federal university of Pernambuco. [You will find a link to the film at the end of the abstract. Please try to view the 35-minute film prior to the seminar. We will assume that you have by Sept. 17 when the seminar begins.]

The film highlights how disease outbreaks, like Zika as well as Covid-19, not only have enormous impact on individual families but also expose and are shaped by the inequalities - economic, social, health and more - in which they emerge. Now, in 2020, in the context of Covid-19, there are increased challenges for caring responsibilities and facing economic hardships. The Zika epidemic and the COVID pandemic have fallen hardest on women and the poor and vulnerable communities. What is the capacity of families and communities to respond to these challenges and what may be learned from the Government response from health to housing, education and social protection?

With the film as a starting reference point, the discussion will be focussed on consequences for families for health services and for health and medical research in and beyond Brazil and the formation of different care domains built around the Zika Syndrome children.

Link to the film: Doing Ethnography on Care: Women tell their stories
(Etnografando cuidados: mulheres contam suas histórias)

10/15/2020 Online Meetnig
7:00 PM
COVID-19 and the perceptions of Brazil’s indigenous peoples
Maria de Lourdes Beldi de Alcântara, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), all indigenous peoples have the right to free health care. Brazil is a signature to all relevant United Nations’ protocols. The problem is that Brazil’s present government headed by President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to recognize the distinct status of the country’s indigenous populations preferring instead to treat them as just one more group within Brazil’s diverse national society. This clearly violates both the letter and the spirit of the UN protocols. After summarizing the impact of COVID-19 on Brazil’s indigenous peoples the focus will turn to the Dorados reservation in Mato Grosso do Sul. The question to be addressed, given the present coronavirus pandemic, therefore will be: Who may the indigenous peoples of Brazil, and specifically those on the Dorados reservation, enter into dialogue with so as to have what they rightly believe is there due implemented?

11/12/2020 Online Meetnig
7:00 PM


12/17/2020 Online Meetnig
7:00 PM