Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Faculty-Led Summer Abroad Program

Study Abroad

Photo by Dmitry V. Petrenko.

African Diaspora in the Americas
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Summer Session: Whole
June 9–July 21, 2017*

Application Deadline EXTENDED: March 15, 2017

*Dates subject to change

LAS W324L / ANT W324L / AFR W321 / ANT W391 Black Diaspora in the Americas
ANT W379 Research in Black Diaspora


The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the jewels of the Americas, famous for its natural beauty, carnaval, samba and other music, and beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema. Other famous landmarks include the giant Christ statue (Cristo Redentor), the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), Maracanã Stadium, and the world’s two largest urban forests, Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca and the famous Floresta da Tijuca.

A city of contrasts, Rio is also home to sprawling networks of favelasFavelas are an essential part of understanding the makeup of Rio. These primarily black communities are informal urban settlements originating from independent ex-slave communities called quilombos. Favela residents make up 25 percent of the city and are the fastest growing group of the city’s population.


While attending the course on African Diaspora in the Americas, students will have the unmatched opportunity to read and debate topics concerning Black peoples while experiencing the very new and palpable effects of the greater presence of Afro-Brazilians in previously segregated institutions of higher learning. Students will volunteer with the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Criola and its partners.

Criola, founded on September 2, 1992, is run by Black women of different backgrounds whose work is directed toward Black women, teenagers, and girls in Rio de Janeiro. Criola and its partners work for the improvement of the black population's life conditions. They strive for the insertion of black women into society as transformative agents who contribute to its development.


Dr. João Vargas, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Department of African & African Diaspora Studies, is a Brazilian who has worked for over 15 years on the gendered dynamics of race in both Brazil and the United States. He has collaborated with Criola on this program for almost a decade.

Course Information

African Diaspora in the Americas will provide participants with an overview of the theories, histories, and politics of the African Diaspora in the Americas. Coursework is the equivalent of one graduate course at UT, totaling 45 credit hours. Drawing on resources and faculty from The University of Texas at Austin, it will enhance the academic formation of those wishing to pursue graduate work. The main themes of the course—the histories, politics, and knowledges of the African Diaspora in the Americas from the perspective of Black peoples—are often excluded from academic and public debates. The course intends to fill this void. Reflecting a central orientation of both the UT academics involved and the partners in Brazil, the theme of Black Feminisms will anchor the course. Participants in the course, lectures, and debates will be expected to master and apply concepts necessary to understand and intervene in the struggles of Black peoples in the Americas.

In Field Research in Social Anthropology, students will conduct a research project with the help of Professor Vargas. Students can register for a supervised research course in their own department but need departmental approval beforehand.

The course is divided into the following five modules:

  1. Routes and Roots of the African Diaspora: Foundations of Critical Black Thought and Political Practice
  2. Activist Research
  3. Anti-Racism, Feminism, and Black Women’s Movements
  4. Metaphysical Traditions of African Matrixes, and Black Feminism in Brazil
  5. Black Women’s Activism in the United States: From Slavery to Civil Rights
Course Requirements

Participants will be expected to (a) read the materials prior to class, (b) actively participate in class discussions, (c) prepare and be responsible for initiating discussions on a specific reading at least once during the course, and (d) write a final 15-20-page research paper based on ethnographic and/or archival work organized around pertinent topics. For each meeting, there will be a presenter and a discussant. The presenter will be responsible for writing and distributing to the class a book review (no more than 3 pages), while the discussant will bring copies of questions/thoughts that will structure the class discussion. Proposals for research projects will be due at the end of the first week of Module II. Topics are open but they need to have prior approval from the instructors.

Approximate Expenses and Fees, Summer 2017
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Estimated Program Fee: $3,500**
  • Food: $450
  • Airfare: $1300
  • Local Transportation: $250
  • Medical Insurance: $96
  • Passport: $135
  • Visa: $160
  • Emergency Funds/Other: $500

Total Cost: $6,466

**Estimation subject to adjustment

The program fee includes classes, housing, excursions, administrative and instructional costs, cell phone, and on-site orientation. The program fee DOES NOT INCLUDE TUITION, airfare, passport, visa, insurance, local transportation, or personal expenses.

Information to come. Costs and dates are subject to adjustments. Please contact Professor João Vargas or Carla Silva-Muhammad.

Financial Aid

Federal, state, and UT institutional aid may be used on approved faculty-led programs. Summer financial aid packages can be recalculated based on the additional costs of the program—usually, the extra aid is in the form of loans. For more information, visit Study Abroad.


Various scholarships are specifically designated for international study. Please pay special attention to eligibility requirements and be aware of early application deadlines. For more information, visit Study Abroad.

Students are encouraged to use GLOBAL A$$IST, an online scholarship application system tool matching overseas educational opportunities with funding resources. Apply at GLOBAL A$$IST

Limited competitive grants specific to students participating in this program are also available through the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies,and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS). To learn more, contact Brazil Center Coordinator Carla Silva-Muhammad.

Getting Started

Step 1: To learn about the program, attend an information session held by program faculty and staff or make an appointment. Contact the Carla Silva-Muhammad at 512.471.8410.

Step 2: To apply for the program, e-mail Carla Silva-Muhammad. Include: (1) your UT EID, (2) a 1-page letter specifying your interest in the program and how it contributes to your academic formation, and (3) a recommendation letter from a UT faculty member on your behalf.

You will then be directed to other application steps as well as funding and scholarship possibilities.

Non-UT students: Please contact Carla Silva-Muhammad.

  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712