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Join us for a guest lecture by Prof. Rodrigo Patto Sá Motta as he discusses the history, current political role and possible future trajectories for the Brazilian Armed Forces.

One of the pre-conditions of the negotiated transition that ended the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985) was offering amnesty for the crimes committed by repressive agents of the state. This decision curtailed attempts to overcome authoritarianism in the country and fuelled the recent growth of the radical right, particularly visible in the 2018 election of former Army Captain Jair Bolsonaro.

The Brazilian ultra-right shares multiple features with its counterparts around the world, but one of its defining elements is nostalgia for a military dictatorship they believe to have brought about economic growth and security. Since the 1990s, groups of retired military personnel have cultivated positive memories of the authoritarian regime. This initiative was strengthened amid right-wing reactions to the Workers Party governments (2003-2016), especially after the latter established the National Truth Commission (2012-2014) to investigate the crimes of the dictatorship.

Elected in part thanks to the efforts of the ultra-right and its nostalgic discourses, the Bolsonaro government attempted to censor historical knowledge and impose its own view on the recent past, for example by honouring figures and dates related to the dictatorship. The severity of recent right-wing radicalization and nostalgia for the dictatorship was most clearly demonstrated when Bolsonaro was almost re-elected as President in 2022. This became more evident still with the attempted coup against the newly sworn-in government of Lula da Silva, when rioters demanded military intervention.

In this guest lecture, Prof. Rodrigo Patto Sá Motta analyses the ongoing role of the military corporation in the context of the current Lula government and develops hypotheses about the political future of the Armed Forces in Brazil. This lecture is part of Thinking Inside The Box: 1973, a student-led archive analysis and curatorial project that is culminating in a month-long exhibition and roster of events.

About Thinking Inside the Box 

Event details

Room K0.20
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS