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Coming of Age?: Recent Scholarship on Brazilian Foreign Policy

From: Latin American Research Review
Volume 48, Number 2, 2013
pp. 204-217 | 10.1353/lar.2013.0029

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Coming of Age?
Recent Scholarship on Brazilian Foreign Policy
Brazilian Foreign Policy after the Cold War. By Sean W. Burges. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2009. Pp. xiii + 229. $65.00 cloth. $29.95 paper. ISBN: 9780813033334.
Brasil, Índia e África do Sul: Desafios e oportunidades para novas parcerias. Edited by Maria Regina Soares de Lima and Monica Hirst. São Paulo: Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, and Ford Foundation, 2009. Pp. 237. R$28.00 paper. ISBN: 9788577530953.
The New Brazil. By Riordan Roett. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2010. Pp. vii + 178. $29.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780815704232.
Brazil on the Rise: The Story of a Country Transformed. By Larry Rohter. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Pp. 289. $19.00 paper. ISBN: 9780230618879.
Relations internationales du Brésil, les chemins de la puissance. Edited by Denis Rolland and Antônio Carlos Lessa. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2010. Vol. 1, Représentations globales, pp. 322. €29.93 paper. ISBN: 9782296135437. Vol. 2, Aspects ré gionaux et thé matiques, pp. 430. €36.10 paper. ISBN: 9782296132108.
Brazil and the United States: Convergence and Divergence. By Joseph Smith. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010. Pp. ix + 243. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 9780820327709.
A agenda internacional do Brasil: A política externa brasileira de FHC a Lula. By Amaury de Souza. Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier, Centro Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais, and Campus, 2009. Pp. 191. R$52.50 cloth. ISBN: 9788535234626.
Brazilian Foreign Policy in Changing Times: The Quest for Autonomy from Sarney to Lula. By Tullo Vigevani and Gabriel Cepaluni. Translated by Leandro Moura. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009. Pp. xx + 169. $29.99 paper. ISBN: 9780739128824.

Brazilian foreign policy has never been a major point of interest among the non-Brazilian scholars who call themselves Brazilianists. Over a span of almost thirty years, the four edited collections of that epistemic community’s informal state of the art—Alfred Stepan’s Authoritarian Brazil (1973) and Democratizing Brazil (1989), and Peter R. Kingstone and Timothy J. Power’s Democratic Brazil (2000) and Democratic Brazil Revisited (2008)—have altogether one chapter on foreign relations. A small number of scholarly books have looked at the topic over the past forty years, mostly focusing on historical problems, overwhelmingly on aspects of the relationship with the United States. Ronald M. Schneider’s Brazil, Foreign [End Page 204] Policy of a Future World Power (1976) and Wayne A. Selcher’s Brazil’s Multilateral Relations (1978) and Brazil in the International System (1981) stand out as pathbreaking attempts to look broadly at the country’s foreign relations as if Brazil were a significant power or at least a “normal” state from the standpoint of mainstream foreign policy studies. Like some stretches of the Trans-Amazonian Highway, however, bushes and trees progressively invaded the path with years of neglect, a situation that only now appears to be changing. The major exception is Andrew Hurrell and Leticia Pinheiro’s 2006 collection Brazil in the World: Globalization and State Power, which reopened the path but whose broad coverage of issues, intriguingly, is ignored by the many works reviewed here.

While northern (colonial?) area studies remained largely indifferent, a very different scenario was playing out in Brazil itself, where historians and scholar-diplomats have long been engaged in the study of their country’s foreign relations.1 The Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional has been published without interruption since 1958 by the Instituto Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais (IBRI). The University of Brasilia (UnB) introduced a graduate program in the history of Brazilian foreign policy in 1984, and for a long while the academic field was dominated by the works of UnB historians, in particular Amado Luis Cervo and Luiz Alberto Moniz Bandeira. There is also a strong tradition among senior Brazilian diplomats to produce and publish book-length studies about various aspects of their country’s foreign policy: for instance, and among a large number of other works, Fernando de Mello Barreto’s two-volume Sucessores do Barão (2001, 2006), Gelson Fonseca’s A legitimidade e outras questões internacionais (1998) and O interesse e a regra (2008), and perhaps...