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Afro- and Indigenous Cultures of Brazil: A Contemporary Examination of Racism and Antiracism

Pelourinho, Historic Center of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
Pelourinho, Historic Center of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
Next offered: 
Application Deadline: 
February 15, 2019

Program Description

This program will expose UW students to the richness of Afro and Indigenous cultures of Brazil by studying and living in Salvador da Bahia, the heartland of Afro-descended peoples of Brazil, in addition to Araçuaí, in the state Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.

Salvador da Bahia was the first capital of Brazil and is the city with the largest black population in the country. Salvador represents one of the great cultural mélanges of the Americas evident in the religion, cuisine, dance, clothing, martial arts, and the rich musical traditions including samba-reggae, a style of percussion performed by blocos. Students will be participating in lectures, discussions, and workshops on history, demographics, cultural politics, religions, graffiti, percussion, Capoeira, affirmative action programs in higher education, and the work of NGOs in the state of Bahia. Students will be living with host families in Salvador for two and a half weeks in order to spend as much time as possible interacting with the local culture.

Student will then travel to Araçuaí in the state of Minas Gerais, where they will stay with host families. While in Araçuaí, they will visit and collaborate with an indigenous community, the Pankararu of the Cinto Vermelho aldeia. In addition, they will visit a quilombo community of Baú (a historical settlement of formerly enslaved Africans) and study a successful antiracist movement that was led by religious leaders, anthropologists, students, artists, critical pedagogues and black-indigenous organizations. Also, a great deal of attention will be given to environmental issues, in particular to the links between genocide and environmental plunder, the violence of monocultural production and the various movements attempting to create sustainable modes of agricultural and farming techniques.

Students will finish this program in Rio de Janeiro, where they will spend 4 days, staying in a large group accommodation. Students will visit tourist attractions and also see how the Olympics and World Cup changed the lives of marginalized communities.


Salvador da Bahia, Araçuaí, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


In Salvador and Araçuaí, students will stay in single-rooms in family houses. The hosts will select the students based on their profiles and interests. In Rio de Janeiro, students will stay in a large group accommodation. 


Prerequisites/Language Requirements

This program is open to all UW students interested in learning about Afro and Indigenous Cultures and race issues in Brazil. There is no language requirement for this program as classes and visits will be conducted in English. Some basic Portuguese will be taught be taught as part of the program, however, the content class is 100% taught in English. We would like to have a diverse background of students in this program.

There are no prerequisites and no language requirements. This program is tailored to students who would like to immerse in Brazilian culture, in particular Afro and Indigenous cultures. Note that although Portuguese is not required, most host families have no English skills or very limited proficiency in English. Most students communicate their basic needs with the help of Google translate and with the assistance from the professors on the trip.

This program does not require any excessive amount of walking or fitness activities, unless if the student decides to participate in optional activities, such as a hiking, for example.


5 Credits


 JSIS A 365, BIS 480 or PORT 365 (5 credits)

At the end of the program, students will turn-in a 5-6 page double-spaced paper discussing the study abroad experiences in a broad context, connecting it to the framework, theories and hypothesis from the course readings. This paper should consider the student’s personal experiences with cultural conditioning, issues of power, and advantages and disadvantages. The final paper should adhere to principals of auto-ethnography.

Program Directors & Staff

Eduardo Viana da Silva, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, Program Co-Director

Eduardo ( is a lecturer and coordinator of the Portuguese Program at UW Seattle. Eduardo is originally from Brazil and has been teaching Portuguese and cultural classes in the United States and Canada for the past 14 years. He holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. Eduardo conducted a study abroad program to Brazil in 2016.

Johnathan Warren, Professor, Jackson School of International Studies

Jonathan is a professor in the Jackson School of International Studies. He has conducted 10 study abroad programs to Brazil to Araçuaí, Vassouras, and Rio de Janeiro. His area of study is Brazil, indigenous issues, racial formation theory, along with racism and antiracism.

Paulette Thompson, doctoral student in the College of Education

Paulette (  is interested in ethnic studies, civics, and the work of Paulo Freire, the Brazilian educator - philosopher.  This will be her fourth time in Brazil. She has participated as a student in the 2018 UW Program "Afro-Cultures of Brazil" and the 2003 UW Program "Brazil through Race."

Program Expenses

Cost: $4,800

Estimated Program Fee of $4,800, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($450), airfare, UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations, a Brazilian Visa and personal spending money.

All meals, transportation, and lodging in Brazil are included. We suggest a discretionary stipend of $300.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,200 - $1,600 roundtrip*

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $450
Program Fee Balance $4,800


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.  Students wishing to be considered for financial aid should apply by February 15th.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of the Study Abroad website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$450 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of the Study Abroad website for more information.

Program Status: