Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

Monitoring the Threats to Democracy in Brazil: A Challenge for Scholars

James N. Green presenting work of the U.S. Observatory for Democracy in Brazil at the 30th National Meeting of Brazilian Historial Association at the Federal University of Pernambuco in July 2019.

Through a Brown University Humanities Research Fund grant, James Green is coordinating an effort to help U.S. and international scholars accompany the situation in Brazil since the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency. With the support of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies graduate student Marina Adams, they are building a website that will be a clearing house in English for information about contemporary Brazil that can be a resource for academics in the social sciences and humanities who want to receive information about the changes taking place there.

The website, entitled the U.S. Observatory for Democracy in Brazil, will address a variety of issues including academic freedom; Afro-Brazilians; women; LGBT+; environment and Brazilian forests; land and rural labor; indigenous peoples; and urban social movements. This project is being developed in conjunction with the Human Rights and Academic Freedom Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) and the U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil. They currently have 35 affiliated U.S.-based human rights groups of Brazilians and friends of Brazil, as well as 1,500 people at 235 U.S. colleges and universities in 45 states collaborating with our efforts. Another way that they are disseminating this work is through presenting papers about the project at different professional organizations, including the Association of European Brazilianists (ABRE), the Brazilian Studies Association, and the Brazilian Historical Association (ANPUH), as well as in presentations at Brazilian universities, including the Federal University of Pernambuco, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the State University of Rio de Janeiro, and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.