Course Catalog 2023-2024


POR 110 Beginning Portuguese through Music I (4 Credits)

An introduction to spoken and written Brazilian Portuguese. Emphasis on the development of oral proficiency and acquisition of reading and writing skills. Students are introduced to the Portuguese-speaking world primarily through music from Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde. Students will acquire knowledge in basic grammatical patterns and strategies in daily communication. Designed for students with no background in Portuguese.


POR 111 Beginning Portuguese through Music II (4 Credits)

A continuation of POR110. Development of conversational communication, listening comprehension, reading skills and cultural knowledge through music. Prerequisite: POR 110 or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}

Fall, Spring, Annually

POR 120 Accelerated Beginning Portuguese (5 Credits)

This is an accelerated beginning language and culture course (one-semester) that presents a condensed introduction to Brazilian Portuguese with the objective of creating a foundation for students in all four language modalities: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The course also introduces aspects of the cultures and societies of Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) countries. Students can enroll in a POR 200 course the following semester. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}

Fall, Spring

POR 125 Elementary Portuguese for Spanish Speakers (4 Credits)

A one-semester introduction to Brazilian Portuguese designed for speakers of Spanish, aimed at basic proficiency in all four language modalities: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Classes are in Portuguese and students’ individual knowledge of Spanish supports the accelerated pace of the course, with contrastive approaches to pronunciation and grammar. The course also provides an introduction to aspects of the cultures of Brazil, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa, with discussion of authentic audio-visual materials and short texts. Prerequisite: SPN 220, by placement exam or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}

Fall, Spring, Annually

POR 200 Intermediate Portuguese (4 Credits)

This course will serve as a comprehensive grammar review with a focus on Brazilian media. In addition to a grammar textbook, we will be using several other sources to stimulate class discussion, as well as to improve reading comprehension, writing skills and vocabulary-building in Portuguese, including a selection of media forms and texts, websites, television, radio and film. Prerequisite: POR 100Y, POR 110 or POR 125 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}


POR 201/ ARH 201 Brazilian Art Inside and Out (4 Credits)

Offered as POR 201 and ARH 201. This course serves as an introduction in English to contemporary and modern Brazilian art. Course materials and class discussions address such topics as public vs. private art spaces, national vs. global identities, the role of art as agency for social change and as site of memory, activism, resistance and transformation. {A}

Fall, Variable

POR 202 Barriers to Belonging: Youth in Brazilian Film (4 Credits)

This course will serve as an introduction in English to Brazilian Cinema through the theme of youth, identity, social barriers, and a search for belonging. Course materials, films and class discussions will address such topics as migration, belonging and displacement, coming-of-age challenges, discovery and adversity, self, society and sexuality, family and loss. Selected readings and screenings will highlight the work of Brazilian filmmakers such as Walter Salles, Ana Muylaert, Sandra Kogut, Fernando Meirelles, and others. Student assignments will encompass both critical and first-person memoir essays; students may also respond via work-and-image production (videos; digital narratives; and comics. Taught in English. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 211 Transnational Visions on Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (4 Credits)

This course combines theories and techniques created by Augusto Boal for his "Theater of the Oppressed" with those of Paulo Freire in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed." It will also involve transnational and educational perspectives that prompted Boal’s view of theater as a political act, including contributions from philosophers such as Aristoteles and Machiavelli and from playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht and Dario Fo. Students will be exposed to critical pedagogy and performance theories in the first part of the course, and, in the second part, will experiment with theatrical games based on Boal's approach. Course conducted in English. . All course content will be in English, but the students who can read Portuguese, Italian and German will have the option of reading some texts in the original versions. Cannot be taken S/U. Enrollment limited to 25. {F}{S}

Spring, Variable

POR 212/ WLT 212 Author, Authority, Authoritarianism: Writing and Resistance in the Portuguese-Speaking World (4 Credits)

Introducing translated works by celebrated Portuguese-language writers, this course explores themes of resistance, including resistance to dictatorship, patriarchy, slavery, racism and colonialism, but also more ambivalent postures of resistance toward authority assumed within particular forms of expertise and knowledge production and deployment. Discussing fiction by Machado de Assis and Clarice Lispector (Brazil), Mia Couto and Paulina Chiziane (Mozambique), Grada Kilomba (Portugal/Germany), and Nobel laureate José Saramago (Portugal), students consider historical contexts, how their work resonates with our contemporary world, literature and fictionality as sites of resistance and the sometimes fraught dynamics they reveal between authorship and authority. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 215 Portuguese Conversation and Composition (4 Credits)

This course focuses on developing skills in both spoken and written Portuguese and is designed for students who have already learned the fundamentals of grammar. Topics for compositions, class discussions and oral reports are based on short literary texts as well as journalistic articles, music and film. Prerequisite: POR 100Y, POR 110, POR 125 or POR 200. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}

Spring, Variable

POR 220mb Topics in Portuguese and Brazilian Literature and Culture-Mapping Brazilian Culture onto an Urban Grid (4 Credits)

This course addresses a broad range of urban, social and cultural issues while also strengthening skills in oral expression, reading and writing, through the medium of short stories, essays, articles, images, music and film. In order to promote a hands-on approach to understanding culture, class assignments also encourage students to explore the Brazilian community in Boston. Prerequisite: POR 100Y or POR 125 or the equivalent. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 222 Brazil in the News: Media, Society and Popular Culture (4 Credits)

This intermediate language course will serve as a grammar review and will help students develop greater facility in oral expression, reading and writing, through work with a variety of digital, broadcast, and print media. Class discussions and assignments will consider key issues and trends in contemporary Brazilian society and culture as expressed through a selection of media forms and texts, such as newspaper and magazine articles, websites, television and radio programs, advertisements, graphic novels, and films. Conducted in Portuguese. Prerequisite: (POR 110 and POR 111) or POR 125 or the equivalent. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 225 Brazil x 5 (4 Credits)

This course examines Brazil from the standpoint of its regional diversity, from which the country’s cultural richness is drawn. The class will study works of literature, visual culture, music and culinary history in order to discuss Brazil’s regional, economic and racial differences, for the purpose of analyzing its identity as a multidimensional nation. Moreover, because of the country’s size and geographical location, students interested in comparative studies within Latin America will have a chance to look at each of Brazil’s regions in relation to its closest South American and Caribbean neighbors. Course taught in Portuguese. Enrollment limited to 25. {A}{F}{L}


POR 228 Indigenous Brazil: Past, Present and Future (4 Credits)

This interdisciplinary course considers the diverse histories, cultures and experiences of Indigenous individuals and peoples in Brazil, from the precolonial period into the present and including future oriented forms of Native activism and imagination. The class addresses specific case studies and broad themes, including territorial and environmental struggles, meanings and forms of Indigenous education, indigenous movements and leaders, legal and cultural status of indigeneity in a multiracial society, indigenous artistic practices and the dynamics of intercultural exchange and influence in Brazilian society at large. Conducted in Portuguese, with activities designed to improve proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Prerequisite: POR 200 or POR 215, or another 200-level course in Brazilian or Comparative Lusophone Culture and Society taught in Portuguese. Enrollment limited to 19. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 229 Brazil for All Seasons (4 Credits)

This course focuses on reviewing communicative skills, especially in spoken and written Portuguese, and is designed to build cultural knowledge and vocabulary. Course content and assignments focus on Brazil through the theme of the four seasons. Materials include short texts, including a young adult novel, music, and visual culture. Taught in Portuguese. Prerequisite: POR 100Y or POR 125 or the equivalent. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 232 Popular Music, Nationhood and Globalization in the Portuguese-Speaking World (4 Credits)

An introduction to popular music genres in Portuguese-speaking nations, the historical, socio-cultural and political forces that have shaped their emergence, and ways in which they communicate ideas of nationhood. We will also explore impacts of globalization on these genres and their transnational dissemination. Our approach will involve close readings of lyrics, analysis of musical form and influence, and attention to the broader cultural contexts surrounding songs, genres and musicians. Genres may include bossa nova, MPB, and forró (Brazil); fado (Portugal); morna (Cape Verde); kuduro (Angola); marrabenta (Mozambique); and transnational forms such as rock and hop-hop. Course taught in Portuguese. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 233 Borderlands of Portuguese: Multilingualism, Language Policy and Identity (4 Credits)

This course considers the shifting borders of Portuguese as a local, national and global language. The course explores language diversity within and across Lusophone countries and communities, noting differences in pronunciation and vocabulary and ways in which some varieties are esteemed and others stigmatized. Th course examines how different institutions have promoted and shaped Portuguese within and beyond officially Portuguese-speaking nations, and addresses multilingualism and ways in which Portuguese interacts with English, Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole and Indigenous languages in Brazil and Africa. Throughout, students consider views of writers and musicians as they reflect upon the language of their creative expression and what it means to be Lusophone in the world today. Course taught in Portuguese. Prerequisite: POR 125 or POR 200, or equivalent. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 299/ SPN 299/ FRN 299/ ITL 299 Teaching Romance Languages: Theories and Techniques on Second Language Acquisition (4 Credits)

Offered as FRN 299, ITL 299, POR 299 and SPN 299. The course explores the issues in world language instruction and research that are essential to the teaching of Romance languages. Special focus will be on understanding local, national and international multilingual communities as well as theories, methods, bilingualism and heritage language studies. Topics include the history of Romance languages, how to teach grammar and vocabulary, the role of instructors and feedback techniques. The critical framing provided will help students look at schools as cultural sites, centers of immigration and globalization. Class observations and scholarly readings help students understand the importance of research in the shaping of the pedagogical practice of world languages. Prerequisite: At least 4 semesters (or placement to equivalent level) of a Romance language taught at Smith (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish or French). Enrollment limited to 25. {F}{S}

Fall, Spring, Annually

POR 301 Colloquium: LGBTQ+ Brazil: Advocacy and Art (4 Credits)

This course introduces students to the broader issues related to LGBTQ+ Brazil, with a focus on gender identity, LGBTQ+ rights, activism and cultural production. The course is structured through broad categories consisting of histories, movements and chronology; geographies of identity and resistance; representations in art, literature, film and popular culture; and activism and organizations. Taught in English. Enrollment limited to 25. {A}{L}

Spring, Alternate Years

POR 381di Seminar: Topics in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies- Decolonial Imaginaries and Aesthetics (4 Credits)

In this seminar we will explore some of the entangled and contested colonial and postcolonial histories of diverse Portuguese-language communities, through the work of writers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. We will discuss colonialism and its legacies, migratory and diasporic flows, contemporary contours of a Portuguese-language transnationalism, and decolonization as a concept encompassing a range of social activism and as expressed or envisioned in different forms of cultural production. Course conducted in Portuguese. Prerequisite: 200-level course in Brazilian or comparative Lusophone culture and society taught in Portuguese. Enrollment limited to 14. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 381fw Seminar: Topics in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies-Multiple Lenses of Marginality: New Brazilian Filmmaking by Women (4 Credits)

This course makes reference to the pioneering legacy of key figures in Brazilian filmmaking, such as Susana Amaral, Helena Solberg and Tizuka Yamasaki. These directors’ early works addressed issues of gender and social class biases by subtly shifting the focus of their films to marginalized or peripheral subjects. We also examine the work of contemporary filmmakers, among them Lúcia Murat, Tata Amaral, Laís Bodanzky and Anna Muylaert, focusing on the ways in which they incorporate sociopolitical topics and/or gender issues. Course conducted in Portuguese. Prerequisite: 200-level course in Portuguese, or the equivalent. Juniors and seniors only. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required. {A}{F}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 400 Special Studies in Portuguese and Brazilian Literature (1-4 Credits)

By permission of the department, normally for senior majors.

Fall, Spring