Brazil Comes Alive

 Application: Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Library Research

Completed: Fall 2009

Contributors: Josh Rowe, Alyssa Blood, Chelsea Waite, Eric Johnson, Adi Gold*, Katie Rand, Rebecca Leeds

Faculty Advisor: Jim Green, History Department

*Adi is a graduate student; thus, she is not included in the group officially applying for the award. Nevertheless, she contributed to various parts of the project.

The ultimate goal of this project is to create an interactive website that links Brazilian history to culture, art, language and society.  The following website presentation is the foundation for an ongoing pedagogical database that will materialize into a dynamic, interactive website that will serve as a both a teaching tool and a resource for all those interested in Brazilian culture and history.  

This preliminary website comprises all of our research completed in the fall of 2009.  The reason for our submission of this project to be considered for the Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Library Research is that we made extensive use of many library resources, which we believe have made our project come to life.  In particular, our submission incorporates extensive use of the JCB Early American Image Archive, principle works in the Thomas Skidmore Collection, a comprehensive use of library books on Brazilian History and considerable collaboration with Brown University research librarians.

Over the course of the semester, we met with Susan Danforth, Sarah Bordac, Patricia Figueroa, and Tom Stieve about various facets of our undertaking.  With their help, we encountered and utilized many different library resources that we were previously unfamiliar with. Patricia’s expertise in Latin American Studies allowed us to clarify our research and to synthesize it into a comprehensive whole, exposing us to various sources integral to the completion of our project in addition to introducing us to web design tools that enabled us to formally present our research.  Similarly, Sarah’s background in technology was particularly useful in helping us to channel our thoughts into a complete project as well as helping us to envision the intricacies of our final website.  

Several components of our project involve images generated from the JCB archive of Early American Images.  In order to select the most pertinent visuals from this massive archive, we scoured thousands of images, using the technological tools available on the website that allowed us to zone in to specific and small details in the images.  The final product of our search is a varied collection of images that represents key facets of Brazilian culture, society, art, and language.  We also made use of the Thomas Skidmore Collection, undoubtedly one of the finest resources of Brazilian history available in the United States.  

Due to the depth and breadth of the resource pool on Brazilian history available here at Brown, we believe that the research that we have done will be extremely useful to students and scholars interested in the study of Brazil. The project touches on many of the most significant aspects of early Brazilian history and culture.  Thus, we expect that the material that we have gathered, much of it unique to Brown given its extensive Skidmore Collection and scholarly endeavors, will be useful to scholars of Brazil, amateur and experienced alike.