• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Development Studies, International Relations, Latin American Studies, Arts, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

Brazil is the sixth largest economy in the world, home to an advanced aerospace industry, and the source of a cultural rhythm that has shaped music and the arts the world over. Yet despite numerous signs of advanced development, the country is still beset with widespread poverty, social exclusion, and disturbingly high levels of violence and citizen insecurity. As the bossa nova singer Tom Jobim noted, ‘Brazil is not for beginners’. The purpose of this course is take students from a beginner’s to a more advanced understanding of Brazilian society, and the political dynamics of this amazingly diverse country. The course is divided into three sections. The first concentrates on Brazil’s historical and cultural origins, which have shaped its politics and continues to do so today. The second section focuses on the unique configuration of Brazilian political institutions, including its presidential-led coalition model, ‘robust’ federalism, and the long standing importance of the ‘local’. The third section of the course will focuses on critical issues for Brazil’s development from a policy perspective including crime, drugs, and kidnapping, poverty and inequality, environmental sustainability and the Amazon, and its ‘soft power’ foreign policy—all of which matter for its success in being conceived today as a regional hegemon in the global sphere.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of basic issues and contextual questions relevant to Brazilian politics;
  2. Analyze the main institutional structures and processes in Brazilian politics;
  3. Discuss the contemporary reality and issues of Brazilian politics;
  4. Critically assess the value and importance of alternate arguments
  5. Communicate an understanding of Brazilian politics through written analysis and/or oral presentation.

Indicative Assessment

Research Paper 40% (Learning Outcomes 2, 4, 5) (2500 words)

Contemporary Policy Briefing Paper 20% (Learning Outcomes 3, 4, 5) (750 words.)

Timed Summative Take Home Essay Exam 40% (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 5). (2500-3000 words)

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed either POLS 1007 or POLS 1002 or POLS 1005 or ANTH 1003 or SOCY 1002 or with the permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

A P Montero (2014), Brazil: Reversal of Fortune (Polity Press).
P Kingstone and T Power, eds. (2008), Democratic Brazil Revisited (University of Pittsburgh).

Preliminary Reading

Larry Rohter (2012), Brazil on the Rise (Macmillan).
Michael Reid (2014), Brazil: The Troubled Rise of a Global Power (Yale).

Assumed Knowledge

Understanding of basic concepts in political science or public policy.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3216
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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