Module 2 of a 2-module course
The Brazilian Amazon is very important, as the rainforest is considered one of the world’s major “lungs,” meaning a carbon sink; such sinks grow ever more important as the concerns mount about global climate change. This case raises a central question regarding land and water resources: Are they to be exploited? Conserved? Shared?
Brazil is one of the emerging countries known as the BRICs: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Hence, it is an increasingly significant player on the world stage. The issues surrounding the Amazon were developed in such a way that students gained insights into the general matters of sustainability as well as matters specific to the Brazilian context. This context is a democratizing and developing country that is considered a rising global power.
This learning module takes the Brazilian Amazon as a contested space.
Last fall (Fall 2014) this learning module was included in Latin American Politics, a mid-level comparative politics course that focuses primarily on democratization in the region.
Similar modules might be developed to explore issues surrounding copper mining or coffee growing in Latin America, for example (thanks to Team Beloit for this idea.) They would work well as pedagogical tools in courses on Latin American and/or international development.
The module was couched within the broader discussion of Brazilian politics. In this, the first iteration of this module, it was one of a number of roundtable discussions. In brief, course roundtables combine oral presentations with discussion, with all attendees (presenters and non-presenters) seated around a table. In each roundtable, participants individually present summaries and analyses of course readings (listed below), then collectively discuss the day’s topic.