Salvador Cultural History Tour

Our Field Lab is scheduled for Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, and will include a historic tour of the old town, the Cidada Alta (“Upper Town”) and Cidada Baixa (“Lower Town”), the Elevador Lacerda that connects the two, the Model Market, the Museu de Arte de Bahia (MAB) and the Cathedral of Salvador (among possible others), with lunch at a traditional churrascaria.  The historical evolution of the city from colonial capital and slave-trading center to the world’s largest outdoor party (the Carnaval da Bahia) and tourist economy will be looked at through the lenses of state-commerce-church relations and how they have adapted to changing cultural and global conditions.

Your job is careful observation and note-taking regarding Intercultural Communication differences between highly (daily, hourly, mass-mediated) technologized North Americans and the relative lesser technological influence on South Americans.  Pay special attention to 1.) sense of proximity with/to nature, 2.) perception of time as an external reality that is imposed on the day as opposed to something that just is, 3.) sense of urgency or lack thereof in completing tasks, 4.) sense of “stress” or “anxiety” about achievement, accomplishment, social standing, etc, 5.) personal distance space between two communicators, 6.) comfort/shame associated with one’s own body and/or its functions, 7.) relative “happiness” or “contentment” with the world as it is, 8.) personal grooming and in/significance of it in cultural context, 9.) gender relations and barriers, 10.) social hierarchies — what are they based on, why, and what does this tell you about the values of the culture, 11.) church-state-commerce relations and class distinctions between “Upper Town” and “Lower Town” residents, 12.) relationship of Catholicism and Candomble in the present day, 13.) perception of “reality” vs. “show” in current tourist economy (and on our tour in particular) and 14.) any/everything else you notice, observe or see that seems interesting, different, unusual, strange, compelling, etc.

Academic Objectives:

1.  Cultural History Tour of Salvador with focus on Intercultural Communication elements (time, space, identity, etc)

2.   Economic, Racial, Geographic, Historic background of slave trade port city

3.    Diversity of peoples, belief systems, and symbolic structures within one city, and relationship to Carneval.