Becoming Brazilian

"To be an immigrant is to be a better Brazilian," says Jeffrey Lesser. The Samuel Candler Dobbs professor and chair of Emory's history department discussed his new book, Immigration, Ethnicity, and National Identity in Brazil, with Provost Claire Sterk at a Life of the Mind event last month. "In the United States, immigrants often are viewed as being saved by the greatness of the country," Lesser says. "By contrast, Brazilians tend to perceive immigrants as improving Brazil and fixing problems caused by its native population. In fact, politicians in Brazil seem to be more successful and popular if they are foreign or take on a foreign identity." To hear the conversation in full, visit