Assistant Professor of Portuguese
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.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
INTL 0703 - LAS Senior Thesis
Latin American Studies Senior Thesis
Fall 2011, Winter 2012
PGSE 0101 - Beginning Portuguese I
This course is a fast-paced introduction to Brazilian Portuguese and contemporary Brazilian culture. It focuses on the development of skills in listening, reading, speaking, and writing within a cultural context. Students are expected to continue with PGSE 0102 in winter term, and PGSE 0103 in spring term, after successful completion of PGSE 0101. 5 hrs. lect./disc.LNG
PGSE 0102 - Beginning Portuguese II
This course is a continuation of PGSE 0101 and a pre-requisite for PGSE 0103. (PGSE 0101)
PGSE 0103 - Beginning Portuguese III
This course is a continuation of Portuguese 0102. Intensive reading, writing, and speaking. (PGSE 0102) 5 hrs. lect./disc.LNG
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 2010, Fall 2011
PGSE 0202 - Intermediate Portuguese II
Intermediate Portuguese II
This course is designed to balance textual analysis with a thorough review of grammar at an intermediate-high level. Students will hone their critical thinking and writing skills through the oral and written discussion of literary and cultural texts. (PGSE 0201 or placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc.
PGSE 0210 - Beginning Port/Span Speakers
This course is designed for Spanish speakers and advanced Spanish learners at the 0300-level. 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 Spanish. Students are expected to continue with PGSE 0211 in the Winter Term, after successful completion of PGSE 0210. (SPAN 0220 or placement at Spanish 0300-level or above or instructor's approval) 6 hrs. lect./disc.LNG
PGSE 0215 - Advanced Portuguese
This course is a continuation of either PGSE 0201 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 0201 or PGSE 0210 or by waiver) 6 hrs. lect./disc.
PGSE 0320 - Port Adv Grammar/Creative Writ
In this course we will examine the basic question of how texts produce meaning through various linguistic and grammatical processes. Our goal will be to improve reading and writing skills through textual analysis and composition. “Text” will be defined as a set of rhetorical devices that are manipulated to create specific effects. To describe and discuss textuality, its categories and components, we will analyze different textual genres such as poetry, essays, short stories, modern chronicles, advertisements, news reports, and comics from Portugal, Brazil, and Lusophone African countries. After studying some linguistic tools, their uses, functions, and stylistic resources, students will be expected to produce their own texts and comment on them. (PGSE 0202 or PGSE 0211 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./disc.LNG
PGSE 0352 - Topics of Luso-Brazilian Cult
In this course students will be introduced to four Luso-Brazilian historical and social topics, and will analyze how these topics are represented in literature. From Portugal, we will discuss the figure of Inês de Castro (1320-1355), known as "the queen who was crowned after death," and Sebastianism, a messianic belief in the return of King D. Sebastião, who disappeared in battle in 1578. The two Brazilian topics are "malandragem" - an urban and bohemian lifestyle associated with laziness, poverty, cheating, and cleverness - and patriarchy, a family and social system that played a crucial role in Brazilian history. Readings will include the works of Camões, Camilo Castelo Branco, Manuel Antônio de Almeida, and Raduan Nassar. (PGSE 0202 or PGSE 0211 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./disc.AAL LIT LNG
PGSE 0356 / WAGS 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.
PGSE 0357 - Luso-African Children in Lit
Luso-African Children in Literature
In this course we will focus on the representation of African children in fictional narratives of Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique. Childhood in these countries will be examined within the following historical frameworks: 19th century slave society in Brazil, the Civil War in Angola (1975-2002), and the Civil War in Mozambique (1976-1992). Questions we will consider include: how do children perceive and narrate the world around them while their world is literally falling apart? What are the basic parameters of children's perceptions? How does fiction represent slave children in Brazilian slave society? To what extent does this representation ratify and/or falsify history? Students will read historical accounts, philosophical essays on childhood, two novels by Luso-African authors, and one Brazilian play. (PGSE 0215 or one course at the 0300 level or above) 3 hrs. lect./disc
PGSE 0358 - Poetry and Fernando Pessoa
Principles of Poetry and the Works of Fernando Pessoa
In the first part of this course we will study general aspects of poetry. Some questions that will guide us are: "What is poetry?", "What has been its role in society since ancient times?", "How does one read a poem?", "How does one establish the value of a poem?". In considering these questions, we will analyze poetic pieces from Lusophone poets such as Camões, Drummond, and José Craveirinha. In the second part we will focus on the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), his works, and his "case”-which refers to the literary phenomenon called heteronym, which, roughly speaking, means the fragmentation of the "author" into other "authors". (PGSE 0215 or equivalent) 3 hrs lect./disc.
PGSE 0363 - Brazil,Port,Moz. Lit/Hist/Soc
In this course we will focus on small but significant historical, cultural, and literary images of Portugal, Brazil, and Mozambique. The starting point will be three novels. Portugal of the 18th century appears in Memorial do convento (1982) by Nobel-laureate José Saramago. Memórias póstumas de Brás Cubas (1881) by major Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis, describes upper-class families' lives and customs in 19th-century Rio de Janeiro. Mia Couto's Terra sonâmbula (1992) takes place in Mozambique during the civil war (1976-1992). Each of these works incorporates historical events and interprets them in a particular way. Each making use of magic realism as an alternative form of objectivity. The results are complex images of each country that may be read as national allegories. (PGSE 0202 or PGSE 0211 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./disc.AAL HIS LIT LNG
PGSE 0367 - Luso-Brazilian Romanticism
Romanticism was a revolutionary movement in art history. The invention of modern subjectivity, which radically changed the way individuals perceive themselves and the world around them, may be seen as the epicenter of the romantic revolution. The consequences of this change in perception were multiple and complex. Those we will examine in this course comprise the construction (or re-construction) of national identities, love and religion as paths to redemption in a bourgeois materialistic society, the concept of authorship and originality as an artistic value, the Middle Ages revival and neo-Gothicism, nature and pantheism, and abolitionist discourse. We will also consider the development of literary works as commercial products, a shift with considerable social as well as rhetorical implications. We will focus primarily on fictional works by Luso-Brazilian romantic authors such as Camilo Castelo Branco, José de Alencar, and Álvares de Azevedo. (PGSE 0215 or equivalent) 3hrs. lect./disc. )
PGSE 0500 - Independent Study
Winter 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013