DBI Projects

Current Signature Projects


Capoeira Connections from Angola to Brazil

Angola and Brazil have a deep connection forged by the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The earliest enslaved peoples brought to Brazil by the Portuguese came from West Central Africa. These Africans brought with them their languages, cuisines, religions and expressive practices that had a foundational and lasting impact on Brazilian culture. This event explored the connection between Angola and Brazil through the combat game of capoeira. A blend of fight, dance, ritual and percussive music, capoeira has roots in Angola, was developed in Brazil, and today is globally popular. This three-day event included movement and music workshops in Angolan combat games and capoeira with guest artist-teachers from Angola and Brazil, as well as a book launch party and performance. All events are free and open to the Duke and wider community. For more information email kw87@duke.edu or visit https://www.katyawesolowski.com/events

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Katya Wesolowski on Capoeira Connections

Hip Hop Pedagogies: Education for Citizenship in Brazil and the United States (2023-2024)

Collaboration with Bass Connections


Past Projects

The Global Brazil Humanities Lab (2014-2017)


The Global Brazil Humanities Lab was an innovative teaching experiment that entailed developing new interdisciplinary methods to learn about Brazil, not just in an area studies context, but primarily as a global actor, especially related to the overarching themes of culture, the environment, and politics. The lab was funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation and supported by the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke.


The Cost of Opportunity: Higher Education & Social Mobility in the Baixada Fluminense (2016-2018)


Bass Connections brings together Duke faculty and students to explore real-world issues in interdisciplinary research teams. This project team worked collaboratively with faculty, graduate students and undergraduates at the Multidisciplinary Institute of the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (IM/UFRRJ) in Novo Iguaçu, a county of 829,000 people in the Baixada region on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, to understand social mobility as it relates to higher education in the region.