Experiencing Brazil in Helsinki 2014
Anyone who has visited or lived in Brazil, has an individual experience of “Brazil”. Despite of mere academic thinking, Brazil can also be tasted, felt and smelt. Thus, the Brazil we experience as researchers, students and enthusiasts is not a mere category of knowledge but a conjunction of lived moments. The interdisciplinary “Brazil Experience” course was created around this perception, aiming to provoke questions, feelings, ideas and new knowledge about the diverse perspectives of today’s Brazil.
Brazil is approached by Finnish and Brazilian researchers and experts from different fields such as anthropology, political sciences, education, philology, theology, diplomacy, culinary and arts. This wide range of knowledge about Brazil in shared through an experiential apparatus: mixing up lectures, museum visits, films, dancing, eating, and artistic performance with academic readings. During the course the students are encouraged to work with their individual experiences, images and knowledge of Brazil and reflect the learning process along the way.
As a PhD student in Latin American studies I have been very anxious for this course since we started to plan for it with Saara Rautanen-Uunila, coordinator of ICE Master Program. The idea of gathering all of these researchers and specialists to make this course happen had been circulating in my mind for some time. Despite of my own research interests there had emerged an urge for interdisciplinary knowledge for Brazilian topics, as the country is in the spot of global attention for many motives.
I am extremely grateful for all of the lecturers of this course who provided their expertise, energy and experiences to us students. Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Katri Hirvonen-Nurmi, Monica Lemos, Markus Kröger, Jukka Raunu, Inkeri Aula, Marjaana Markkanen, Lissu Lehtimaja, Alexandre Riviello, Andrea Dias, Norton De Andrade M. Rapesta, Emmi vainio and Saara Rautanen Uunila.
Samba School Papagaio, Helinä Rautavaara museum, Brazilian Embassy in Finland and Tambor Vivo ry.
As we are studying Brazil, it is also our absolute obligation to have a final party and festejar at the last gathering of this course at April 23rd 2014. Everybody is invited!
Eleonora Riviello is a PhD student in Latin American studies, Department of World cultures, University of Helsinki. Riviello has conducted fieldwork among Afro-Brazilian religious groups in Southeast Brazil and currently works with questions of knowledge production, agency and materiality within the contemporary forms of Umbanda religion.