Activism, Culture and Education for Citizenship in Brazil and the U.S. (2024-2025)


Since the early 2000s, the Brazilian community organization known as Instituto Enraizados (Institute of the Rooted) has promoted racial, social and political awareness through hip hop, dance, and visual and media arts on the urban periphery of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Located in the city of Nova Iguaçu in the Baixada Fluminense, Enraizados hosts regular slam poetry events, a reading library, media production facilities and a college preparatory exam course. It is a beacon of hope, awareness and empowerment to the youth of the Baixada, which is home to four million residents, two thirds of whom are African-descended and poor or working class.

Brazil’s unprecedented expansion of access to higher education after 2003 led to the foundation in 2006 of a new campus in Nova Iguaçu for the tuition-free Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro. The leaders of the Multidisciplinary Institute (IM-UFRRJ) and its 3,500 students have long been committed to an outward-facing community involvement that intensified after the completion of the IM’s new campus in 2010. Founded in the early 2010s, its Documentation and Image Center (CEDIM) has emerged as a locus for community extension, research, and engagement devoted to documenting and exploring little-known local histories of activism, business, culture, and politics.

CEDIM and Enraizados have long collaborated with Duke University and Bass Connections through a series of projects marked by deep engagement and a horizontal exchange of knowledge and skills including the production of films aimed at wider audiences within and beyond the Baixada.

Project Description

Building on the work of previous teams, this project will bring together scholars, artists and students from Duke, North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Instituto Enraizados, and the Federal Rural University in Rio de Janeiro to investigate key forms of activism and cultural organizing ranging from Black, women’s and LGBTQ+ movements to the memorialization of slavery and local religious and musical expression. Additionally, this project team will examine elections and urban and labor struggles, especially among public school teachers.

The team will engage in qualitative research including gathering, transcribing and summarizing oral histories from movement activists and participants and using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Undertaking parallel work in Durham, they will also carry out ethnographic, participant observation and action research, precisely the liberatory pedagogical practices the team wishes to understand more deeply. The team may also pair this with quantitative data collection via government statistics, election results, or even fieldwork surveys or residents or students from the municipality of Nova Iguaçu. As a culmination of these efforts, Duke and NCCU will host an international research conference in the Spring of 2025 with its Brazilian counterparts.

Anticipated Outputs

Scholarly and public articles; conference presentations; working papers; social media content; film that communicates the results of dialogue established between Durham and the Baixada

Student Opportunities

This unique cross-institutional collaboration will allow team members to work with students and youth from Duke, NCCU, the Enraizados program and the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro.

Ideally, this team will include 5 undergraduate students from Duke and NCCU as well as 5 graduate students withinterests and/or experience in the interpretive social sciences, education, public policy, social justice, audio and visual arts and hip-hop. While language skills in Portuguese are highly desirable, the team is open to students who do not yet speak Portuguese but would like to learn.

Through this project, students will gain experience conducting field research in Brazil, conducting qualitative and quantitative analyses and learning the type of innovative pedagogies central to the team’s concept of education for citizenship. Working collaboratively on a diverse team, they will use their varied talents and energies, whether it be the use of Portuguese or their interest in producing audiovisual materials.

The overall aim is to craft a community-based participatory research project with Brazilian colleagues from study design through the production of a range of public-facing products aimed at audiences in the U.S. and Brazil.

Graduate and professional students will be charged with leading subteams and mentoring other team members as they develop their own research agendas that align with the overarching project aims.

All team members will be required to attend preparatory meetings prior to traveling to the Baixada Fluminense and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil probably for two weeks between May 24 - June 7, 2024 (subject to possible change). After they return, students will be expected to write up their field notes and document their research activities and reflections.

North Carolina Central University students should apply for this team here; Duke students should apply using the standard application


Summer 2024 – Spring 2025

  • Summer 2024 (required): Conduct preparatory meetings and travel to Brazil in May-June 2024 to conduct field research with the Multidisciplinary Institute and Instituto Enraizados (all team members).
  • Fall 2024: Prepare a final version of field notes; contextualize learnings through readings and class discussion; analyze interviews and archival sources collected; produce collaborative working papers; plan and organize the Spring 2025 conference. 
  • Spring 2025: Host week-long visit from Brazilian collaborators to prepare presentations for the project’s culminating conference; polish working papers to publish in online series; contribute interviews for the film, etc.


Academic credit available for fall and spring semesters; summer funding available

See earlier related team, Hip Hop Pedagogies: Education for Citizenship in Brazil and the United States (2023-2024).

Image: Team members meet for dinner in Durham, courtesy of Courtney Crumpler

Image: team members sharing a meal around a table at a restaurant. Photo by Courtney Crumpler, used with permission.

Team Leaders

  • Courtney Crumpler, Arts and Sciences–Romance Studies–Ph.D. Student
  • John French, Arts & Sciences-History
  • Gladys Mitchell-Walthour, North Carolina Central University

/graduate Team Members

  • Julian Alvarez, Philosophy-PHD, History-AMS
  • Travis Williams, Divinity-MDV
  • Stephanie Reist, Romance Studies-AM
  • Travis Knoll, History-PHD
  • Lucas Lopes, Romance Studies-AM, Romance Studies-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Yuri De Melo Costa, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Akshay Gokul
  • Rafael Perdigao De Moura

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Dudu de Morro Agudo, Enraizados Institute
  • Silvio Almeida, Luiz Gama Institute (São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Luciana Pereira da Silva Lopes, Visiting Scholar
  • Álvaro Nascimento, Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Cedra Goodrum, Undergraduate Student, NC Central University
  • Alexandre Fortes, Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Enraizados Institute
  • Fatoumata Balde, Undergraduate Student, NC Central University