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Mario Higa

Associate Professor of Luso-Hispanic Studies

 work(802) 443-5877
 2020-2021 Academic Year Leave
 Warner Hall 01

Mario Higa holds a Ph.D. in Luso-Brazilian Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. At Middlebury, Mario teaches Portuguese language and Luso-Brazilian literature/culture courses. As a researcher, he is primarily interested in literary hermeneutics applied to modern Luso-Brazilian literature. Some of the topics Mario teaches in his courses and reflects on his scholarly works include History and its literary representation, critical methods of reading literary texts, and rhetoric and the nature of meaning.



Course List: 

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

IGST 0703 - LAS Senior Thesis      

Latin American Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021

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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 2017

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PGSE 0210 - Beginning Port/RomanceSpeakers      

Accelerated Beginning Portuguese
This course is an intensive and fast-paced introduction to Portuguese, covering all of the basic structures and vocabulary as well as important aspects of the cultures of Lusophone countries. Within a cultural context, emphasis will be placed on active communication aimed at the development of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Students are expected to continue with PGSE 0215, after successful completion of PGSE 0210. Open to all students. 6 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019

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PGSE 0215 - Advanced Portuguese      

Advanced Portuguese
This course is a continuation of 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 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019

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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, Spring 2020

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PGSE 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
(Approval Required)

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020

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SPAN 1353 - Borges' Ficciones      

Borges' /Ficciones/
The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) is arguably one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. In this course we will take a deep look at one of his major works: the short story collection Ficciones (1941). By using the technique of close reading, we will define Borges’ main themes in this book and analyze their connections with history and philosophy. We will also examine Borges’ literary sources and cultural legacy. This course will be taught in Spanish. (At least two Spanish courses at the 0300 level, or by waiver). AAL AMR LIT LNG WTR

Winter 2020

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Department of Luso-Hispanic Studies

Warner Hall
303 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753