29898 - Portuguese and Brazilian Literature 1 (LM)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

A very good knowledge of Portuguese is essential, since the lessons will be taught in this language. Furthermore, the student has deep knowledge about the history of Portuguese and Brazilian literatures and cultures, with a particular attention paid to the relation between literary texts and the historical, artistic and linguistic contexts. He knows, and is able to use, practical and effective methods for the analysis and interpretation of literary texts and other cultural objects.

Course contents

The course is entitled "Produção cultural e permanência autoritária no Brasil contemporâneo” and aims to shape a semantics of historical time in contemporary Brazil, reflecting on the permanence that the military authoritarianism (1964-1985) left as an inexorable legacy of Brazilian contemporaneity. Since the democratic fracture in 2016 to the coagulation of the bolsonarism in 2018, the analysis will seek to discuss, through a wide cultural repertoire (in particular, cinema and literature) how the important legacies of traumatic memory didn’t create an effective disjunction and the elaboration of one of the most traumatic and violent seasons of the XXI century, giving room on the contrary to a primary and resentful nostalgia about authoritarianism that expresses itself through the violence against any attempt to transform the class society that crystallized since the times of the colony. This return of the past produces the questioning of a "Brazilian time" in which the citability of the past (Benjamin) becomes a central apparatus of cultural production but also of the arbitrary re-uses of the past. The dark times did not generate a public memory, but a set of immune niches of the past that, by effect also of communitarian conciliatory visions, undermined the foundation of a shared image of the past (for example, the immense and unrecognized effort of the recent Comissão Nacional da Verdade). In such a territory of dispute, at the same time of the past and of the past in the present, an alternative interpretative view of this heavy inheritance of our time arises, when violence, in particular of the State, is becoming more and more an ontological feature of Brazil.


Rebecca J. Atencio, Memory’s Turn. Reckoning with Dictatorship om Brazil. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014

Teixeira Coelho, História natural da ditadura. Rio de Janeiro: Iluminuras, 2006

Eurídice Figueredo, A literatura como arquivo da ditadura brasileira. Rio de Janeiro: 7 Letras, 2017

Jaime Ginzburg, Crítica em tempos de violência. São Paulo: EDUSP, 2012

Edson Teles-Vladimir Safatle, O que resta da ditadura. São Pulo: Boitempo, 2010

Comissão Nacional da Verdade (relatórios) http://cnv.memoriasreveladas.gov.br/

Primary sources (selection)

Renato Tapajos, Em câmara Lenta. São Paulo: Alfa e Omega, 1979.

Bernardo Kucinski, K. São Paulo, Expressão Popular, 2011.

Bernardo Kucinski, Os visitantes. Novela. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2016.

Julián Fuks, A resistência, São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2015

Luiz Ruffato (org.) Nos idos de Março. A ditadura militar na voz de 18 autores brasileiros. São Paulo: Geração, 2014.

( a parte literária dialoga com uma seleção de filmes que assumem o tema do autoritarismo, de ontem e de hoje)

Teaching methods

The method proposed in the course is mixed: it provides, in addition to the traditional lessons, collective workshop for the discussion of common texts, the construction of specific thematic routes to each individual student, the planning shared by all the class of a work project, a final presentation of each personal work with the participation of all the class. In this way, the preparation is assessed partly during the course, not only in a final test.

Assessment methods

The exam aims to assess the achievement of the main learning objectives of the course, namely: forming a deep critical knowledge about the history and theory of Portuguese, Brazilian and African Portuguese-speaking literatures and cultures, with particular attention to the relation between literary texts and the historical, cultural and aesthetic contexts; strengthening a wide knowledge and use of critical methodologies and practices for the analysis and interpretation of literary texts and the historical and cultural contexts. The exam will be articulated on different tests that contribute to determine the final evaluation and disseminated during the course. In fact, it is articulated in different modes: organization of joint seminars where an active participation in the discussion is a favorable element for the assessment of the skills in order to achieve progressively and integrally the course objectives; preparation of a final work with a deep analysis of a topic among those approached during the course and its following discussion in the occasion of a final oral test on the main topics of the course. The student will be put in the condition, either through the lessons and an appropriate path of readings, to achieve the objectives of the course. The evaluation will be proportionate to the performance of the student in the different moments of the course. In this sense, it will be considereted satisfactory an informed knowledge of the main topics addressed, intersected with critical methodologies used during the development of the course. If this essential level is not achieved, the student will be put anyway in the condition, through an integrative program of individual readings, to reach an acceptable level of comptences. The articulation of the knowledges on a more varied and lucidly composed textual, contextual and critical framework, dialoguing not only with the premises but also with the most crucial topics of the course, in particular those of conceptual order, will add value to the overall evaluation of the student. Finally, in this context, the integration of a critical and orginal contribution, capable to open new and alternative perspectives of analysis and interpretation of the mains issues of the course, is evaluated as an excellent result of the student's performance.

Teaching tools

For its conceptual nature the course defines a strict dialogue between literatures, arts and cultures. For this reason, beside literary texts, to which a specific workshop (reading and commenting) will be dedicated, other multemedia and internet contents will be introduced, in order to build an organic and clear framework of the topic. Different materials and texts used during the lessons are made available to students through collaborative platforms set up specifically for the class.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Roberto Vecchi