Thank you! (for the welcome)
Yes, it is conservative. I’m not sure if more than others. I’m 57 yrs old and bought the interdisciplinarity discourse with naive enthusiasm in my early 20s. It turned out to be mostly lip service. I ended up with as interdisciplinary a curriculum as it gets, had great networking and soft money but departments favored linear careers.
Two universities were interested in me after I came back from my postdoc and a visiting fellowship here (US), I was PI on a technology transfer project funded by everybody (from CNPq to FAPESP, plus international agencies) and in the end, it was all destroyed.
The saddest part was Amazonia. Part of the project was about biopiracy in Amazonia and supporting local communities to protect their traditional knowledge.
Nothing worked. That’s when I left. And now I’m back through the door that I waited 15 years to be opened for me.
About their current openness to independent scholarship and true interdisciplinarity, it’s exactly what you said: Brazil has a huge graduate education system, one of the measures to promote scientific and technological catching up from the days of the dictatorship (and that didn’t work as well). All graduate students have either CNPq, CAPES or their local FAPs scholarships.
The fascist government is cancelling them. They have also frozen faculty promotion.
The scenario is even more catastrophic than it would be, anyway, due to the pandemic: there is an orchestrated attack on science, especially science projects involving co-production with traditional communities. Genocide is the name of the game for them.
Most graduate students will probably have to interrupt their programs, which is something that has a limited time: either you come back in X months or you lose your spot.
Those who manage to finish their Ph.D.s won’t have a job.
I think I should be more proactive in spreading the word about Ronin and IGDORE… Can you connect the other Brazilians with me? I wonder if we couldn’t put together a project that generates enough data for us to document our findings in publications and create a blueprint for academic survival for countries where science is no longer welcome.
I didn’t think about this before. Your question triggered this train of thought so it’s still pretty chaotic. Let me know what you think.