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Music, Literature and Culture in Contemporary Brazil

Information about course offerings for the current academic year can be found on the Latin American Studies section of the Stanford Bulletin Explore Degrees website. More detailed course descriptions including the times and locations can be found by searching on Explore Courses.

Please note: not all courses are offered every year. Blank fields indicate that the course is not offered this academic year.


Known as "The Land of Samba," Brazil has one of the richest and most varied musical cultures in the world. The course will explore the main genres and movements in Brazilian music history through the examination of selected songs by the country's most important artists and composers. Focus is on the social, racial, gendered, and political role of music in the making of Brazilian identity, as well as the peculiar dialogue that Brazilian music has had with literature and poetry, constantly questioning the border between high and low culture, elite and mass. Special attention will be given to all non-musical aspects that contribute to the definition of the meaning of the song (album cover design, marketing strategy, visual performance, artist's look, video clips, etc.). A famous old song by Noel Rosa claims that, "nobody learns samba at school." The course is designed to contradict this statement. Taught in English. Students have the option of doing all readings and assignments in English or in Portuguese. Students majoring or minoring in Spanish may submit their final papers in Spanish.

Course ID: 
220 708
Letter or Credit/No Credit
Course Tags Human: