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Week 18: The Transition to Democracy; Neoliberalism; New Social Movements (1): Liberation Theology

Lecture powerpoint

Seminar Questions

  • Why did Brazil move back to democracy by 1985?
  • Who drove the process of “opening” (abertura)?
  • What was the role of the Church and Liberation Theology?
  • What were the goals of Liberation Theology and how successfully were they implemented in Brazil in the 1970s and 1980s?
  • Did the transition to democracy bring new methods of grassroots political organising, or simply re-package older ones?

Seminar Readings

•Skidmore Chapter 8, “Redemocratization: Old Hope, New Problems”;

•Rebecca Abers, Inventing local democracy: grassroots politics in Brazil (2000), Chapter 2, “Urban Politics and Neighbourhood Organizing in Brazil,” pp 26-47 [on library scans page]

•Robin Nagle and Jill Nagle, Claiming the Virgin: The Broken Promise of Liberation Theology in Brazil (1997), Ch 1, “Consecrated Politics and Active Religion,” pp 1-24 [on library scans page]

•“Dom Helder Câmara: The Father of the Church of the Poor,” in Beattie, ed, The Human Tradition, 249-67