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In 1912 the Brazilian diplomat and scholar Manuel de Oliveira Lima gave six lectures at Stanford University that encapsulated his views of what we now call Brazilian Studies. This article summarizes Oliveira Lima’s lectures. It then points out three aspects of Oliveira Lima’s worldview that are problematic from the perspective of the twenty-first century: his Eurocentrism; the unproblematic nature of the nation-state in his thinking; and his largely negative view of Brazil’s racial heritage. The third part of the essay analyzes three aspects of Oliveira Lima’s lectures that are still contemporary. These are the need to establish an adequate comparative context for the study of Brazil; the difficulty of justifying an academic discipline that revolves around the study of a single country; and the challenge of uniting disparate and specialized disciplines in order to appreciate Brazil’s complexity and trajectory in the modern world. In the conclusion, some guidelines for maintaining Brazilian Studies as a vibrant field are suggested.
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