Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

New Podcast, Brazil Unfiltered, Delves into Controversial Brazilian Politics and Policies

Hosted by James N. Green, the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Latin American History and director of Brown’s Brazil Initiative at the Watson Institute, a new podcast, Brazil Unfiltered, goes beyond Brazil’s headlines to deconstruct the impact of President Jair Bolsonaro, whose radically conservative policies are dramatically impacting Brazil.

Q: Why did you launch the podcast now? What’s its focus?

A: Bolsonaro’s recent election requires a deeper understanding and much more thorough, in-depth analysis. Our intention is to bring experts to offer their insights into Brazil’s rapidly changing and complex situation. In our first podcast, The Life, Work, and Legacy of Marielle Franco, I talked with Keisha-Khan Perry, an associate professor of Africana Studies at Brown and author of Black Women Against the Land Grab. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Marielle Franco’s March 14, 2018 assassination, which shocked Brazil and caused international outrage, we discussed Franco’s extraordinary life and her shocking murder. Franco was a well-known black feminist/lesbian, activist, and elected councilwoman who spoke out against the militarization of Brazil’s police and championed civil rights, affirmative action, and increased access to social rights. 

In the second podcast, Supporting Brazilian Democracy, from Oklahoma to NYC, I spoke with Marina Green, a graduate student in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University, about the creation of the U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil, a broad, decentralized and nonpartisan movement that strives to spread awareness about contemporary Brazil and support those who are fighting for social change there. Adams is the national organizer of the Network and I am its national coordinator. 

Q: How will you choose interview guests to fulfill the commitment of Brazil Unfiltered to clear, clean and straightforward conversations?

A: We invite individuals who are knowledgeable and intelligent about Brazil, especially scholars at or otherwise affiliated with Brown; later, we may also interview people remotely. Because we want to attract a wide audience of listeners who are curious about Brazil, we will interview individuals fluent in conversational English. While I am currently the sole host, I may invite a co-host for future podcasts, who could contribute a different voice and perspective to Brazil Unfiltered.

Q: What will success look like; what do you hope to accomplish with the podcast? 

A: People are building communities through podcasts; we believe people will find our conversations stimulating, so we expect our audience will build over time. Individuals engaged with or who otherwise care about Brazil are protesting Bolsonaro’s policies, and the podcast offers them more information about those policies.

Recently, the Network for Democracy in Brazil and others persuaded the board of the American Museum of Natural History to withdraw from serving as the venue for the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce reception honoring Bolsonaro as the Chamber’s Man of the Year. With limited resources and media attention, more than 25,000 signatories campaigned against the event honoring Bolsonaro. Whether it is concern about Brazil’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord or expanded deforestation, both Bolsonaro edicts, Brazil Unfiltered will provide in depth analysis of these types of policies, engaging listeners in an ongoing conversation about Brazil and far-right politics around the world.

--Nancy Kirsch


James N. Green receives Distinguished Research Acheivement Award