Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From Brasil with Love

Ola! Tudo bem!

After a longer than planned break, we are finally back, and ready to feed you the sociological knowledge you so crave. Our apologies for the delay, but the primary writers for this blog were either graduating college or traveling, both of which are important life steps, or at the very least put you in situations without Wifi access.

As this is our first blog post in awhile, it may get rather lengthy. Please bear with me.

Speaking of travelling, today's post comes to you from South America! More specifically, from the city of Ivoti in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil. If you want to know exactly where that is, click here. A team of students from Covenant College, led by the fearless Dr. Antonio Chiareli, are staying here for almost three weeks.

For those of you who may not be aware (probably most of you), these kinds of trips are a yearly thing for Dr. Chiareli. Every May, he leads a group of students somewhere in the world, seeking to give them practical field experience in group ethnography and ethnographic research. Though the research performed on the trips is a bit rushed by ethnographic standards, it is important to note that it is more for practice, rather than to come to any kind of definitive conclusions about whatever particular subculture is being studied.

Students going on these trips conduct interviews, engage in spatial and social mapping, and record observations, hoping to draw some kind of meaningful conclusions from the research. in addition to learning the language and taking a crash course in the native culture.

This year, the subculture in question is the large German population in the southern states of Brazil. For a brief historical background: in the 19th and early 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Germans immigrated from the Fatherland to Brazil, for a variety of reasons. Now, they continue to thrive as a very distinct community, making the south of Brazil one of the most diverse regions in the nation. Though in Brazil, the buildings and towns often look German, and many of the people still speak German, some primarily.

If this seems like a strange mix of cultures, it's because it is.

Believe it or not, this guy is Brazilian.
And German. It's all messed up.