Symposium on Brazil

Amazonian Studies: Multidisciplinary Approaches

November, 18–19, 2019
Levering – Great Hall

Organized by: Dr. Flavia Azeredo-Cerqueira, Portuguese Language Program Director

Sponsored by:

  • Portuguese Language Program
  • Latin America in a Globalized World Initiative
  • International Studies Program
  • Department of German, Romance Languages and Literatures

Program & Livestream

Monday, November 18 – Location: Levering, Great Hall

10:00 a.m.Coffee break and registration
10:50 a.m.Opening remarks
Dr. Flavia Azeredo-Cerqueira, Johns Hopkins University
11:00 a.m.Session 1 - The Indigenous Heritage in Brazil: Native Realities

Legal Mythologies and Amazonian Realities: Indigenous Protagonists and their Struggles with Brazilian Law
Dr. Janet Chernela, University of Maryland, College Park
12:00 p.m.Lunch Break
1:00 p.m.Students’ poster Session
2:00 p.m.Session 2 - The Indigenous Heritage in Brazil: Religion and Traditions

From the Cannibals’ Points of View: Expanding the Antropofagia Metaphor for Brazilian Identity with Perspectives from Amazonian Ethnography
Dr. Beth A. Conklin, Vanderbilt University
3:00 p.m.Panel 1 - The Future of Amazonian Studies: The Indigenous People

Dr. Beth Conklin, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Janet Chernela, University of Maryland, College Park
Moderator: Dr. Túlio Zille, Johns Hopkins University

Tuesday, November 19 – Location: Levering, Great Hall

9:30 a.m.Coffee break and registration
10:00 a.m.Session 3 - Amazonian Studies: Geography

Avoiding Amazonian Catastrophes
Dr. Robert Walker, University of Florida
Link to talk article/paper
11:00 a.m.Session 4 - Amazonian Studies: The Amazon from Space

Understanding the past, present, and future of Amazonia from Space
Dr. Douglas Morton, NASA
12:00 p.m.Lunch Break
1:00 p.m.Students’ poster Session
2:00 p.m.Session 5 - Pressing Issues: Land Distribution and Ecological Challenge

Resisting Dispossession: Ownership and Retaking of Indigenous Lands in Brazil
Dr. Jeremy M. Campbell, Roger Williams University
Link to talk article/paper
3:00 p.m.Panel 2 - The Future of Amazonian Studies: Development and

Dr. Jeremy Campbell, Roger Williams University
Dr. Robert Walker, University of Florida
Moderator: Dr. Nicole Labruto, Johns Hopkins University

Speaker Bios

Dr. Jeremy M. Campbell is an associate professor of anthropology and director of the Honors Program at Roger Williams University. He has conducted ethnographic research on land use, colonization, and indigenous rights movements in the Brazilian Amazon since 1999, and has published extensively on these matters. His 2015 book, Conjuring Property: Speculation and Environmental Futures in the Brazilian Amazon was awarded the James M. Blaut Award for most outstanding book in cultural and political ecology by the American Association of Geographers. Since 2016, he has been working with indigenous and riverine communities on land demarcation efforts in the Tapajós Valley of Brazil. Professor Campbell also serves as a board member of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America.

Robert Walker is a Professor of Latin American Studies and Geography at the University of Florida. He has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Regional Science, and an MS and BS from the University of Florida. Professor Walker has spent the last 25 years conducting research on tropical deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. He has lived in Belém, Brazil, where he taught at the Federal University of Pará. He worked for two years as an economist at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Professor Walker publishes scientific papers as well as articles aimed at a more general public. His work has appeared in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, World Development, The Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Environment, Earth Island Journal, Beatdom, The Kudzu Review, and The Conversation. He has been interviewed by NPR, the BBC, and the New York Times.

Dr. Douglas Morton is the Chief of the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory (Code 618) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland. He leads an interdisciplinary Earth system science lab at NASA to conduct large-scale ecological research using data from NASA’s satellites and airborne platforms, ecosystem models, and fieldwork. Dr. Morton’s work focuses on tropical forests, fires, and food production. He has worked in Brazil for the past 18 years, with an emphasis on agricultural frontiers in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes and dynamics of deforestation, forest degradation, and agricultural management following forest conversion. Dr. Morton contributes to the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED,, a collaborative effort to characterize the impact of global burned area and carbon emissions from fire activity on the Earth system. Dr. Morton is also actively engaged in international efforts to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), and serves as a technical advisor to SilvaCarbon, a US-Government initiative to build capacity in tropical forest countries to monitor and manage their forest resources.

Janet M. Chernela is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland.  After receiving her PhD from Columbia University in 1983, she served on the faculty of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (National Institute of Amazonian Research, INPA) in Manaus.  She has worked among indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin for over three decades.  Her research interests include local knowledge, including environmental knowledge; indigenous rights and organizations; gender and language.   Her principal publications include a book, The Wanano Indians of the Brazilian Amazon: A Sense of Space (1993, 1996) and a recent trilogy on language and gender in the Upper Rio Negro: Talking Community in the Northwest  Amazon” (American Anthropologist, 2003); “The Second World of Wanano Women: Truth, Lies and Back-Talk in the Brazilian Northwest Amazon” (Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 2011); and “Mascarading the Voice: Texts of Self in the Brazilian Northwest Amazon” (Journal of Anthropological Research, 2012).  She is the founder of AMARN/Numia Kura, one of the oldest ongoing indigenous associations in Brazil and former president of the international Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America.

Professor Conklin is a cultural and medical anthropologist specializing in the ethnography of indigenous peoples of lowland South America (Amazonia). Her research focuses on the anthropology of the body, religion and ritual, health and healing, death and mourning, the politics of indigenous rights, and ecology, environmentalism, and cultural and religious responses to climate change. She teaches courses on anthropological theory, medicine and healing, indigenous peoples, and environmental issues. Her publications include Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society, “Body Paint, Feathers, and VCRs: Aesthetics and Authenticity in Amazonian Activism,” “The Shifting Middle Ground: Brazilian Indians and Eco-Politics” (with Laura Graham), “Ski Masks, Nose Rings, Veils and Feathers: Body Arts on the Front Lines of Identity Politics,” and “Environmentalism, Global Community, and the New Indigenism.”


Flavia Azeredo-Cerqueira is the director of the Portuguese Language Program at Johns Hopkins University, and an Associate Teaching Professor in Portuguese.

Dr. Azeredo-Cerqueira received her PhD in Applied Linguistics and her MA degree from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). Dr. Azeredo-Cerqueira taught Portuguese language as well as courses in Brazilian cinema and culture in different institutions: at the Morgan State University in Baltimore, at the University of Maryland at College Park, at the American University in Washington, D.C., and at Johns Hopkins University in the spring of 2010. For several years, she worked at the Brazilian-American Cultural Institute (a former branch of the Cultural Department of the Brazilian Embassy), Washington, D.C. There she taught Portuguese as a foreign language and served as a course coordinator and material developer.

Dr. Azeredo’s research explores second language acquisition with a focus on bilingualism, corrective feedback, motivation, language identity, and cultural aspects.

  • Past Symposiums

    Africans and Afro-Brazilians: the African Diaspora in Brazil
    November 14-15, 2016

    See a slideshow of photos from the event: