Office Hour: The Quaker, German, Brazilian Professor

Hi there! I’m Samuel Cai, and I’m the blogger for Office Hour and Blogside Manner. For Office Hour, I visit professors at the best university in the world and talk to them about their jobs here at Brown!

This week, I got to talk to Professor Green (He asked me to call him Jim), a professor in the History department that specializes in Brazilian history. His path towards becoming interested in Brazilian history is long and winding, featuring the Vietnam war, Quakers, and Germany.

Interest in Brazil: As mentioned before, Jim teaches Brazilian history here at Brown. In college, however, he was a German and political science major. Only after traveling to Germany after college did he realize he was not interested in German culture (oops!). After getting involved in the Vietnam War protests, he moved to Mexico, where he learned some Spanish, before returning to live in a Quaker commune; this is where he learned about Brazil, and after visiting Brazil and falling in love with the friendly, warm Brazilian culture, he dedicated his life to studying Brazil. The rest is history.

Involvement: In addition to conducting research on Brazil and contributing to literature on the subject, Jim is also very invested in Brazilian politics and culture; one of his earliest projects was educating the American public about the effects of the Brazilian dictatorship. He is also invested in defending LGBT rights in Brazil. He is the director of the Brown-Brazil Initiative at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Teaching: This upcoming semester, Jim is scheduled to teach a first year seminar (FYS) called “Tropical Delights”, but he is also slated to teach the higher level history course “Brazil: From Abolition to Emerging Global Power”. He is incredibly passionate about his work. Though he is a self proclaimed hard professor, he assures that his classes are very enjoyable as well!

Have a professor you’d like to see covered on Office Hour? Send me an email at!


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