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Globalization and Afro-Brazilian Culture in Salvador, Brazil

Globalization and Afro-Brazilian Culture in Salvador, Brazil
Learn about the history of the African diaspora in Brazil and the impact of the globalization of Afro-Brazilian culture by examining the music, religion, art, and tourism in Bahia.
Salvador, Brazil
Language of Instruction: 
Winter Break
Academic Disciplines: 
-Open to All Majors
African/African American Studies
Global & International Studies
Latin American Studies
Program Type: 
  • Learn about African slavery in Brazil, Afro-Brazilian history, and the vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture.
  • Understand how and why Afro-Brazilian cultural elements such as music and capoeira have gone global and its complexities.
  • Take an interdisciplinary course abroad in English and elect to take a course that fulfills KU Core requirement 4.2 or 6.1. 
Program Summary: 

Brazil had the longest and largest history of African slavery in the Americas. This course will take place in the coastal city of Salvador, which is the city in Brazil where the African influence is most transparent due to the large diaspora from different African regions during the colonial period and to the constant expression— and celebration— of the African heritage in its culture. Afro-Brazilian cultural elements such as the music of Afro groups, capoeira, an art form/martial art/dance and candomblé, a religion, are now realities around the world.


Brazil is the largest country in South America and is often compared to the U.S. due to its colonial past and racial makeup. It is known for its natural beauty, music, talent for sports, and growing economy, which has made studying Portuguese even more valuable. Salvador, located in the state of Bahia, is the third largest city in the country and is home to the largest Afro-Brazilian population. Its architecture, food, music, religions, and culture have fused European, African, and indigenous elements. The city's historic center is famous for its beautiful cobblestone streets and colonial buildings in Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Deco styles. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1985.  

Academic Information: 

Three hours of academic credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program and will be posted to the student's Spring transcript. The title of the course is Globalization and Afro-Brazilian Music and Culture in Salvador, Brazil. Undergraduate students will enroll in one of the following courses: AAAS 496 (meets KU Core Goal 6.1), GIST 550, LAA 302, MUS 300, or PORT 300 (meets KU Core Goal 4.2). Graduate students will enroll in either MUS 800 or PORT 785. 

Students will meet four times before going to Brazil and once upon return to gain background knowledge regarding globalization, Afro-Brazilian history, and their interaction. Readings include essays about slavery in Brazil and Bahia's African roots and legacy.


Students will be placed in host families and the family will provide three meals daily. Students will walk or take public transportation to class. 

Life Abroad: 

Cultural activities will enhance the students’ understanding of the rich Afro-Brazilian culture in Brazil, and especially Salvador. Guest lecturers will present on topics such as Brazilian history, music, religion, dance, education, and Carnival. Planned site visits include temples of Afro-Brazilian religions such as candomblé and umbanda and syncretic Catholic churches such as the Church of Our Lady of the Black Rosary. The group will also visit the Afro-Brazilian museum and attend capoeira, samba, and other Afro-Brazilian dance classes and concerts. Each of these activities will happen with a focus on globalization and its influence on the local culture of Salvador.

Planned activities include a guided tour of Salvador, an excursion to the cities of Cachoeira and Santo Amaro to learn about their African heritage, and to the beach at Praia do Forte. Also included are a welcome lunch with host moms and a closing reception with students and host families.


Minimum 2.5 GPA required (exceptions considered after submission of a petition).  The program is open to students of any major. There is no language requirement, though students with previous exposure to Portuguese or Spanish will find it helpful.

Further Reading: 

Passport and student visa information

All students must obtain a tourist visa in order to travel to Brazil. Students who do not have a passport should apply for one immediately. The KU Office of International Programs offers passport services. Students with passports should verify that the passport is valid for six months after the program is over. If it does not meet this requirement, it must be renewed prior to applying for a visa. It takes at least six weeks for the passport to be processed. It is recommended to have the passport by early December at the latest to have ample time to process the visa. Please contact the Program Coordinator for more information.

Program Faculty: 

Luciano Tosta, Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Dylan Bassett, Lecturer in the School of Music, will co-lead the program.

Professor Tosta specializes in the cultures of the Americas, particularly focused on Afro-Brazilian culture. He is from Salvador and has led numerous study abroad programs there. Contact Professor Tosta at lucianotosta@ku.edu.

Professor Bassett is a lecturer in music, with a focus on world percussion, and is the director of the KU West African Drum Ensamble. He has performed in Cuba, Ghana, Senegal, Guinea, the Gambia, and througout the United States. Contact Professor Bassett at dbassett@ku.edu


Deadlines Extended for Summer, Fall and Academic Year Programs.

See list of programs below:

Study Abroad Financial Advising

The Office of Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons from 4:00-5:00 pm and Thursday afternoons from 12:30-1:30 pm in room 203 Lippincott Hall.  For those that can not attend the weekly Info Sessions, we also offer individualized study abroad financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students.  Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.

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