The Cost of Opportunity? Higher Education in the Baixada Fluminense (2016-2017)

Brazil faces challenges of great magnitude, and an expanded system of federal universities has embraced the obligation to address them. The future of the country depends in part on access to higher education. But do policymakers understand the obstacles that racially or socioeconomically marginalized populations face when they pursue mobility through higher education? Does greater access to education automatically contribute to diminishing inequality by enhancing opportunity?

This project team collaborated with faculty, graduate students and undergraduates at the Multidisciplinary Institute of the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, located in the Baixada Fluminense on the outskirts of Rio. A region of four million people, the Baixada is highly stigmatized as a site of corruption and violence.

The team conducted fieldwork over the summer and brought 17 of the Brazilian collaborators to Duke in the spring for a nine-day exchange and day-long conference. Team members produced a documentary video drawing on 50 interviews with students and their families, which is being used in Brazil to encourage local high school students to apply to the university.

 

The team’s findings suggest that policymakers do not sufficiently understand the obstacles, both financial and psychological, that racially or socioeconomically marginalized populations face when they pursue mobility through higher education. One must challenge the generally accepted belief that greater access to higher education automatically contributes to diminishing inequality by enhancing opportunity, as well as the idea that a college degree leads to significant improvements in wealth and labor outcomes.

The team’s website was honored as the best in the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections. Stephanie Reist won the Bass Connections Award for Outstanding Mentorship. Adair Necalli won the Bass Connections Photo Contest.

Timing

Summer 2016 – Spring 2017

Team Outcomes

The Cost of Opportunity: Higher Education & Social Mobility in Rio de Janeiro’s Baixada Fluminense (Part 1) (G. Kidd, A. Necalli, C. Ricks, J.V. Alencar, R. Allen, J. Lee, T. Brown)

The Cost of Opportunity: Higher Education & Social Mobility in Rio de Janeiro’s Baixada Fluminense (Part 2) (G. Kidd, A. Necalli, C. Ricks, J.V. Alencar, R. Allen, J. Lee, T. Brown)

The Cost of Opportunity? Higher Education in the Baixada Fluminense (presentation by Adair Necalli and Chloe Ricks, EHDx Talks, April 19, 2017)

The Cost of Opportunity Conference (Franklin Humanities Institute, March 27, 2017)

Duke Global Brazil Conference (Franklin Humanities Institute, February 17, 2017)

Challenges for Marginalized Students in Higher Education in South Africa, the U.S. and Beyond (workshop by Duke alumna Amelia Herbert, November 11, 2016)

Project website (best website at EHDx, Education & Human Development theme)

Videos

The Cost of Opportunity? Higher Education in the Baixada Fluminense

Global Brazil Lab - Cost of Opportunity in the Baixada Fluminense

Reflections

John Victor Alencar ’17

Gray Kidd, PhD Program in History

Adair Necalli ’19

Eyram Klu ’19

This Team in the News

Enraizados exibiu documentário ‘O custo da oportunidade’ no Ponto Cine

Documentário mostra transformações e desafios de estudantes da Baixada que decidem cursar o ensino superior

Student Laurels and Honors for 2017

Students Present Their Research and Learn from Each Other at the Bass Connections Showcase

From Durham to Brazil, Students Share Research Stories

Two Graduate Students Honored for Excellence in Mentoring Their Bass Connections Team Members

Challenges, Dreams and Struggles: Sharing Experiences Transnationally

Photo Contest Winners Shed Light on Their Research Experiences in Brazil and India

March 27 Conference to Explore Cost of Opportunity Related to Higher Education in Brazil

Brazilian Scholars to Meet at Duke Feb. 17 for Discussion of Dams, Education and Impeachment

Bass Connections in Brazil

Bass Connections in Baixada Fluminense

IM é tema de pesquisa internacional

Advances and Challenges in the Expansion of Higher Education

Duke Team Collaborates with Brazilian Students to Explore the Cost of Opportunity

Duke’s Global Brazil Lab Works to Create Partnerships between Duke, Brazilian Universities

Rio, the Reluctant Metropolis: Introduction to the Baixada Fluminense (Part 1 and Part 2)

This project was cosponsored by the Global Brazil Humanities Lab and the Duke Brazil Initiative.

See related team, The Cost of Opportunity? Higher Education in the Baixada Fluminense (2017-2018).

Faculty/Staff Team Members

Antonio Arce, Trinity - Latin American Studies*
Marcos De Almeida Rangel, Sanford School of Public Policy*
John French, Trinity - History*
Katya Wesolowski, Trinity - Cultural Anthropology*

Graduate Team Members

Aaron Colston, History-PHD
Gray Kidd, History-PHD
Travis Knoll, History-PHD
Leighanne OhBiomedical Engineering (BSE)
Stephanie Reist, Romance Studies-PHD

Undergraduate Team Members

John Victor Alencar, Economics (BS), Global Health (AB2)
Riley Allen, Int Comparative Studies (AB)
Timothy Brown, Political Science (AB), Statistical Science (AB2)
Zhong Huang, Computer Science (BS)
Michael Ivory, Political Science (AB)
Eyram Klu
Jessica Lee, Computer Science (AB)
Adair Necalli, Linguistics (AB)
Chloe Ricks, Int Comparative Studies (AB)

Community Team Members

Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro
Dudu de Morro Agudo, Enraizados
Ryan Mitchell, Undergraduate, UNC Chapel Hill

* denotes team leader

Status

Completed, Archived