The Brazilian Studies Programme brings together scholars from around the University of Oxford who are teaching and researching on Brazilian topics. Four research clusters are associated with the programme: International Relations; Comparative Politics; Language and Culture; Environmental Studies
The Programme is an integral part of the Latin American Centre and is coordinated by a University Lecturer in Brazilian Studies.
Since March 2013, Dr Francesca Lessa has been undertaking a new project to study the so-called ‘Operation Condor trial,’ a pioneering prosecution unfolding in Federal Criminal Court 1 of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Justice without Borders: Accountability for Plan Condor Crimes in South America
Dr Francesca Lessa, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow, Latin American Centre, University of Oxford
On 9th May 2011, the Latin American Centre signed a collaboration agreement with CAF Development Bank of Latin America. The agreement encourages both institutions to combine efforts to generate and diffuse knowledge of Latin America, as an essential tool for economic and social development of the region.
On December 18, 2015, Dr Francesca Lessa organised together with the Ministry of Justice of Chile a closed-session workshop, which was held at the Miguel de Cervantes University in Santiago de Chile, with the participation of human rights activists, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and members of national ministries, for a total of invited 24 participants. Taking as starting point the Operation Condor trial in Buenos Aires, but also investigations in Chile on the same subject, the discussion focused on the legal and factual challenges associated with investigating transnational crimes.
A collaboration between the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Flacso) and the University of Oxford’s Latin American Centre. Violence in Latin America tends to be measured at the national level, disregarding the micro- or local-level conditions associated with human rights violations. For example, In Mexico over the last eight years, more than 20,000 people have disappeared, but these disappearances are not distributed evenly across the country. Country-level explanations therefore do not help explain the phenomenon.
Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights Violations during past Dictatorships and Armed Conflicts: Promoting Strategic Litigation and Truth Commissions. The aim of the project is to consolidate an emergent wave of judicial investigations aimed to achieve corporate accountability; develop a truth commission model that target corporate complicity in human rights violations; and, produce synergistic work that links efforts of activists and scholars working on corporate accountability.
A collaboration between the Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology Centre (CAAF) of the Federal University of São Paulo and the University of Oxford’s Latin American Centre. The project will examine the 43 homicides in Baixada Santista (São Paulo) in May 12-20, 2006. Despite numerous demonstrations by the victims' families and human rights advocacy organizations, they have not received information on the events and the main suspects (state officials) have not faced conviction.
The project is motivated by the surprising sustainability of multiparty presidentialism in Africa, Latin America, and postcommunist Europe.
Despite predictions to the contrary, presidents have been remarkably successful at winning legislative support from fragmented legislatures. The project has two principal objectives: (1) to identify the tools that presidents use to govern in concert with multiparty legislatures and (2) to assess the effects of these tools on horizontal accountability in new democracies.