Mario Higa

Associate Professor of Portuguese

 work(802) 443-5877
 Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10:00-11:00 a.m.
 Warner Hall 01

Mario Higa was born in Santos-SP, Brazil. He holds a Master degree in Portuguese Literature from the University of São Paulo (USP), and a Ph.D. in Latin-American Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. At Middlebury, Mario teaches Portuguese language and Luso-Afro-Brazilian literature courses. As a scholar, he has special interest in literary theory, and modern intellectual history. Some main topics Mario has been teaching and writing of lately include History and its literary representation, methods of reading poetry, rhetoric and meaning. These topics have been discussed in classes as well as in articles and conferences taking as starting points works from Brazilian, Portuguese, Lusophone African, and Spanish American authors.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1428 - The Other in Latin America      

In Search Of the Other in Latin America
Who is the Other? What does the Other reveal about me? How does it shape my beliefs and attitudes? In this seminar we will develop a theoretical, analytical, and practical approach to the concept of the Other, conceived as both an exterior entity and a component of the self. We will examine critical texts by modern thinkers such as Octavio Paz, Todorov, and Levinas. We will also discuss fictional and non-fictional narratives primarily focused on the encounter of civilization and barbarism in Latin America. Students will be required to conduct field research on the topic of Otherness, either on campus or in the local community, and write about their experiences dealing with the Other. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW LIT

Fall 2014

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PGSE 0102 - Beginning Portuguese II      

Beginning Portuguese
This course is a continuation of PGSE 0101 and a pre-requisite for PGSE 0103. (PGSE 0101) LNG WTR

Winter 2015, Winter 2017

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PGSE 0201 - Intermediate Portuguese I      

This is a course designed to consolidate the linguistic skills and expand the cross-cultural knowledge acquired in the PGSE 0101 - PGSE 0103 sequence. A grammar review will accompany critical readings, discussions, and compositions on contemporary Brazilian culture. (PGSE 0103 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Fall 2014

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PGSE 0210 - Beginning Port/RomanceSpeakers      

Beginning Portuguese for Romance-Language Speakers
This course is designed for Romance-language speakers and advanced Romance-language learners at the 0200 or 0300-level, depending on the language. It is an intensive introduction to Portuguese, covering all of the basic structures and vocabulary as well as important aspects of the cultures of Lusophone countries. Language learning is based on the students’ previous knowledge of one or more Romance languages. Students are expected to continue with PGSE 0215, after successful completion of PGSE 0210.
6 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017

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PGSE 0215 - Advanced Portuguese      

Advanced Portuguese
This course is a continuation of either PGSE 0103 or PGSE 0210. It is designed to balance textual and cultural analysis with a thorough review of grammar at an intermediate/high level. Students will hone their critical thinking and linguistic skills through guided readings, oral discussions, and short written assignments on Lusophone cultural topics. (PGSE 0103 or PGSE 0210 or by waiver) 4 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018

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PGSE 0356 / GSFS 0356 - Murdered Women: Port & Brazil      

Murdered Women: Politics and Literary Representation in Portugal and Brazil
In this course we will study the tragic history of three women ordered to be executed by political chiefs for political reasons. The course's aim is twofold: to analyze, in their historical frameworks, the political ideologies used to justify the women's murders, and to examine through textual analysis how these events are represented in fictional and non-fictional literature. The women are Inês de Castro (1320-1355), the lover of the Portuguese Prince Pedro; Olga Benario (1908-1942), the Jewish-German wife of the Brazilian communist leader Luís Carlos Prestes; and Elza Fernandes (1918-1934), the girlfriend of a high member of the communist party in Brazil. Inês was killed because her imminent marriage to Pedro could have rendered Portugal politically unstable. Olga died in a Nazi concentration camp, to which she was sent by Prestes' enemy Getúlio Vargas, then President of Brazil. Elza was accused of political betrayal and eventually murdered by communist party members, with the support of Luís Carlos Prestes. Readings will include poetry, a biography, and a historical novel. (PGSE 0215 or equivalent) 3hrs. lect./disc. AAL AMR LIT LNG

Spring 2016

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PGSE 0359 / SPAN 0359 - Luso-Hispanic Short Stories      

Through the Looking Glass: Short Stories from the Spanish and Portuguese Americas
This course will be taught in Spanish and Portuguese for students proficient in or who have previously studied both languages. The main goal of the course is to examine and compare key historical issues of the Hispanic and Lusophone Americas through the reading of short stories. By scrutinizing these issues in both contexts, and contrasting them, students will explore their commonalities and specificities. Critical essays will accompany the fictional texts. Authors to be read include Borges, Rulfo, and García Márquez, from the Spanish side; Rosa, Lispector, and Machado de Assis, from the Portuguese side. Topics to be analyzed are violence, love and sexuality, madness and sickness, power dynamics, otherness, and the feminine condition. (PGSE 0215 and SPAN 0350 or above, or by approval) 3hrs. lect. AMR CMP LIT LNG

Fall 2017

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PGSE 0369 - Two Iconic African Women      

Two Iconic African Women from the Lusophone World
In this course students will learn about two legendary figures from the Lusophone world: Queen Anna Nzinga (1583-1663) and Chica da Silva (1732-1796). Queen Anna Nzinga is arguably the most celebrated woman in pre-colonial African history, and is today a symbol of African resistance against European colonialism and the national heroine of Angola. Chica da Silva was a Brazilian slave who famously became the mistress of her owner, the Portuguese João Fernandes de Oliveira. Their public relationship brought attention to issues of race and gender that would have presumably remained taboo had this relationship not existed. We will examine these issues and those related to the mythologization of both women in popular culture. To this end, we will draw a parallel between the fictional (novels, movies, songs, soap operas) and historical (biographies, documentaries) portraits of Queen Anna Nzinga and Chica da Silva. This analysis will primarily aim to help students distinguish between myth and history. (PGSE 0215 or by approval) 3 hrs. lect. AAL LIT LNG

Spring 2017

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PGSE 0370 - History of Brazilian Soccer      

A Cultural History of Brazilian Soccer
Brazilians usually joke that volleyball is the country’s #1 sport, because soccer in Brazil does not count as a sport, it is a religion. In this course students will learn about the history of Brazilian soccer and how it became a “religion”. This history begins in 1895 when Charles Miller, coming from England, organized in São Paulo the first soccer game ever played in Brazil. Since then, the sport has deeply permeated Brazilian culture and arts (literature, music, cinema). Topics to be examined in this historical context are race, social class, gender, politics, and national identity. Materials to be discussed include fictional and non-fictional texts, songs, videos, and movies. Depending on the number of students enrolled, the course will be scheduled to have one soccer practice and one game (against another team) during the semester. Students may opt out of the practice and/or the game if they want. (PGSE 0215, or by approval) 3hrs. lect AAL AMR LIT LNG

Spring 2018

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PGSE 0401 - Portuguese Senior Seminar      

Portuguese Senior Seminar
In this seminar students will develop a research project on a topic of their own choice. To support each project, the class will focus on providing research guidance and promoting critical discussion. Students will give regular oral reports on the development of their work. In the spirit of intellectual exchange, these reports will be analyzed by classmates who will be expected to offer thoughtful comments and suggestions for improvement. Readings will primarily cover methodology and academic style. By the end of the semester, each student will have written and presented an independent research project of academic relevance. (Senior students with at least one Portuguese course numbered 0350 or above and/or one course abroad in a Lusophone country) 3 hrs. sem. LNG

Fall 2015

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PGSE 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
(Approval Required)

Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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Program in International and Global Studies

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