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SIS Abroad

Forests and Livelihoods: Rural Development in Brazil

Serra do Brigadeiro, Brazil

This course provides insight into agrarian development theories and practice through the topical lens of food systems. The course is offered in conjunction with the SIS practicum program to Brazil. Students who wish to enroll in the course must also be able to enroll in the practicum program for credit. Auditing the course is not an option. Additional practicum information can be found here: 2014 Summer Practica

Faculty Director

Eve Bratman

Academic Details

This 3-credit course, with the support of Iracambi Research Center in Brazil, investigates specific dynamics of agricultural production, rural labor relations, land use, and economic markets as they intersect with poverty alleviation and food systems in rural areas. The complexities of culture, environment, knowledge production, and social change will be analyzed through a multi-disciplinary approach. Development practice, sustainable food systems, and the promotion of rural livelihoods are critically and analytically engaged through course lectures, readings, discussions, and assignments.

As this course is being offered in conjunction with the practicum, students will register for 6 credits total.

Practicum eligibility:

To be eligible to participate in an SIS Practicum, MA students must be in good academic standing (including a 3.0 cumulative GPA) and have completed 18 credits of graduate coursework by the end of the spring 2014 semester, prior to participating in the Practicum. Dual degree students (e.g. MA/MBA, JD/MA, and KU/MA) must have completed at least 9 of the minimum 18 credits to participate. Students from any MA program can apply to this practicum.

2014 Program Schedule

Tentative Program dates: May 27 - June 21

Program Costs

AU tuition (see program guide for more details).

Who Should Attend

The interdisciplinary nature of the program is designed for graduate students with an interest in international and rural development, food systems, and environmental issues. Students must be able to travel to Brazil and enroll in the Brazil practicum program, which will take place in conjunction with the course. The ability to stay in a rural area which is 12 km from the nearest town and a high level of cultural awareness are also a must.


During the course and practicum, students will spend a few days in Rio de Janeiro, two and a half weeks in Serra do Brigadeiro at the Iracambi Research Center, and also visit Ouro Preto and Belo Horizante. The full itinerary and all site visits will be confirmed before the program departure. Participants will stay in accommodations at the Iracambi Research Center. Students are required to make their own travel arrangements to and from Brazil, but all program related travel in the country will be arranged on the student's behalf. More details can be found in the program guide.

Application and Deadlines

Students must read the entire program guide before applying. The program guide can be found in the Forms section of this website. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but must be received by February 14, 2014.


As part of the review process, the Faculty Leader may invite students to meet with her to discuss the submitted application. Once admitted to the Program by SIS, and to the practicum program, students will receive notification via e-mail. At that time, students will be required to submit a non-refundable deposit of $250 to SIS, through a check or money order made payable to American University, to secure their place in the Program.

Contact Us!

Email: sisabroad@american.edu

Facebook: American University SIS Study Abroad

Twitter: SISStudyAbroad

Google Chat: sisstudyabroad@gmail.com

Info Session

Thursday, January 23, 5:30-7pm, SIS 349

Application and Deadline

February 14, 2014



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