CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Samuel Huntington and "Decompression" in Brazil

January 15th, 2016
12:00 pm

100A Jones Hall, Greenleaf Conference Room

The Harvard political science professor Samuel P. Huntington (1927-2008) was a leading scholar of comparative politics and international relations and an influential foreign policy advisor. Huntington was interested in Brazil and made several visits there in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1974, during the presidency of General Geisel, he made a visit to Brazil in order to advise the government about “decompression”, President Geisel’s policy of liberalization. This period has often been interpreted as the beginning of democratization in Brazil. What did Huntington recommend to the government during his visit to Brazil? What impact did this advice have? And who in turn influenced Professor Huntington? This presentation, based on research in a hitherto inaccessible archive, attempts to answer those questions. It challenges the notion that “decompression”, for Huntington and the Geisel administration, was intended to lead to democratization. It also describes the network of Brazilians who influenced Professor Huntington’s view of Brazil. The presentation attempts to place an encounter between an American academic and his Brazilian hosts in the context of the liberalization of the Brazilian authoritarian regime, US-Brazilian relations, and the politics of the Cold War.

Anthony W. Pereira is a Professor and Director of the Brazil Institute at King’s College London. He obtained his B.A. from Sussex University (U.K.) in 1982 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1986 and 1991 respectively. He has held positions at the New School, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tulane University, and the University of East Anglia. In 2005 he was a visiting professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE). His books include Political (In)justice: Authoritarianism and the Rule of Law in Brazil, Chile and Argentina (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005); a Portuguese translation of the latter, entitled Ditadura e Repressão (Paz e Terra, 2010), and a volume edited with Lauro Mattei called The Brazilian Economy Today: Towards a New Socio-Economic Model? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Professor Pereira has recently published articles in Third World Quarterly, Latin American Perspectives, and the Bulletin of Latin American Research. Currently at work on a book about the Brazilian state, Professor Pereira is President of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA). Dr. Pereira can be reached at

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Latin American Graduate Oraganization (LAGO) 2018 Conference: Call for Proposals

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The Latin American Graduate Organization will be hosting its 2018 Latin American Studies Conference titled Thinking of the Future: Expanding the possible in the Americas (Pensando en el porvenir: Expandiendo lo posible en las Américas) February 23 – 25, 2018, at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This year, the conference topic is meant to challenge academics and activists to move beyond critiques and recommendations of how to address modern days issues, and instead articulate a vision of and for the future.

The LAGO Conference welcomes all disciplines and all approaches, as long as the project attempts to grapple with the idea of building something better. This is a Latin American Studies Conference, but creative writers, journalists, artists, performers, organizers, lawyers and healthcare providers as well as graduate students and other academics are welcome. Proposals are accepted in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and English.

Deadlines: Abstracts of papers and projects are due November 25, 2017. Abstracts of papers or project descriptions must not exceed 300 words.

Please contact with questions. For more information, visit the official conference website.