The Graduate Program in Social Sciences in Development, Agriculture, and Society (CPDA) at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ) is an interdisciplinary teaching, research, extension, and exchange program within the area of the social sciences that focuses on knowledge about the rural world and related topics. The program offers master’s and doctorate levels, and is evaluated annually by the CAPES Sociology and Social Sciences Committee; for the last four-year period spanning 2013–2016 it received a 5 (on a 3–7 scale), designating it a program of national excellence. The CPDA is also part of scholarship programs through the CAPES, CNPq, and FAPERJ (Brazilian research agencies).
Throughout its history, CPDA/UFRRJ has hosted students from various academic backgrounds (such as social sciences, economics, history, geography, agronomy) and all regions of Brazil, along with a number of countries in Latin America and Africa, particularly the Portuguese-speaking nations of that continent. In 2016, a quota system was established for Black and Indigenous students.
The CPDA has become an established center of excellence in the social sciences, focusing on social processes related to agriculture, agrarian issues, the rural world, and the formation of agri-food systems, which are analyzed in all their complexity and multidimensionality. Research on public policies, social movements, food production and consumption, territory and culture, peasantry, agribusiness, and environmental and indigenous issues are some of the topics that have made the CPDA a reference in Brazil as well as Latin America. These themes are reflected in the work of the research groups and centers led by professors in these areas.
The CPDA was created in 1976 as the Graduate Center for Development and Agriculture, linked to the Inter-American School of Public Administration at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (EIAP/FGV). The master’s course began in 1977 at the Solar do Imperatriz in the Botanical Gardensof the city of Rio de Janeiro. In 1982 the program moved to UFRRJ along with its teachers, students, and staff, becoming part of the Department of Humanities, Arts, and Letters, and later the Department of Letters and Social Sciences. In 1983, the original headquarters in the Botanical Gardens moved to a building that currently is part of the UFRRJ Technical School, where it remained until the end of the decade, when it moved to several rooms in the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (ICHS/UFRRJ) annex building.
With the closure of the Sugar and Alcohol Institute in the early 1990s, and thanks to support from the UN/FAO, the CPDA was able to obtainfour floors of the building this institute had occupied at 417 Presidente Vargas Avenue in downtown Rio de Janeiro for UFRRJ. Academic and administrative activities began at this new site, although the staff continued to teach undergraduate courses (in areas including agronomy, veterinary medicine, zootechny, and forestry engineering) and attend meetings at the campus of UFRRJ inSeropédica, on the outskirts of Rio.
At that time, the course was organised into three areas: Development and Agriculture; Society and Agriculture; Planning and Policies for Agricultural and Rural Development for Latin America and the Caribbean. The latter area was known as VittórioMarrama, the product of an agreement between CPDA/UFRRJ, the FAO, and La Sapienza University in Rome.
In 1995, the doctorate program was established. After redefinition of the field of study, it was renamed the Graduate Program in Development, Agriculture, and Society. At the same time, the Department of Development, Agriculture, and Society was founded and all the CPDA teaching staff were linked to this department. During the 1980s and 1990s there was also a significant push towards advanced degrees among the teaching body, since (as was common at that time in Brazil) not all the professors in the graduate program held a doctoral degree.
The creation of the doctorate program and the constant need to update theoretical and methodological approaches led to important changes in the curriculum at the CPDA. In 2004, based on the suggestions of professors and students through meetings and assessment activities that took shape through the CPDA Forum, and according to recommendations from the CAPES Sociology Committee (which the CPDA joined in the 1980s), the decision was made to eliminate the old areas of concentration and reorganize the lines of research to bring them more in line with the field of social sciences, with a more clearly defined interdisciplinary approach in this field. At this time the name was changed to the Graduate Program in Social Sciences in Development, Agriculture, and Society; the name was approved by CAPES in 2006, but because the CPDA acronym was already well-known in Brazil and abroad, this was maintained. Starting in 2016, the program awarded both master’s and doctoral degrees in social science from the Graduate Program in Social Sciences in Development, Agriculture, and Society.
In 2018 and 2019, after extensive internal discussions (particularly via the CPDA Forum), the lines of research and curriculum were again updated to consider new interests and emerging topics. The changes were intended to better qualify master’s and doctoral candidates by reinforcing epistemological, theoretical, and methodological discussions, valuing interdisciplinary dialog based on a deeper exploration of theoretical approaches in the main areas.
The CPDA is a center of excellence for rural, agrarian, and Brazilian agri-food studies, and has a strong focus on Latin America; this led to its 1987 selection by the FAO/UN to be the regional headquarters for the master’s degree in Agricultural and Rural Development Planning and Policies for Latin America and the Caribbean (VittórioMarrama). This course, which graduated four cohorts with master’s degrees from 1990 to 1999, was developed in collaboration with educators from Italy and other European Union countries through institutional cooperation programs. In the area of domestic exchanges, over the past two decades the CPDA has developed projects to train doctoral candidates as part of the Brazilian Academic Cooperation Program (PROCAD/CAPES), with the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA, Minas Gerais), and the Inter-Institutional Doctorate Program (DINTER/CAPES) with the State University of Santa Cruz (UESC, Bahia; 2009–2013) and the Goiano Federal Institute (IFGoiano, Goiás; 2017–2021).
From the outset, the CPDA has regularly participated in various research exchange activities, in Brazil as well as abroad. One example is the Social Research Exchange Project in Agriculture (PIPSA), which was coordinated by the CPDA between 1979 and 1984, with support from the Ford Foundation. This pioneering initiative created contacts between researchers from all over Brazil so they could discuss their research, and also included those still obtaining their master’s or doctoral degrees. The CPDA also hosted the Executive Secretariat of the Network of Institutions Dedicated to Teaching Agricultural and Rural Development Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean (REDCAPA), a horizontal cooperation network with more than 60 universities and research centers in this region, Europe, and North America that includes distance training programs, workshops, seminars, exchanges, publication of the PolíticasAgricolasjournal, as well as books and teaching materials, and organization of research activities, with funding from the FAO Project for Italian Technical Cooperation and the ALFA/European Union Project.
Efforts to increase international participation have been ongoing during CPDA’s history. The program is currently part of various international research networks with significant activities in topics related to the sustainability of agriculture and the agri-food system, food and nutritional sovereignty and security, transformations in land ownership structure and land uses, climate change, and public policies for agriculture and the rural world, among others. The program has also made notable contributions to the development, monitoring, and evaluation of public policies, and the construction of different studies and policy guidance documents prepared by multilateral bodies, particularly within the UN agencies.
Since 1993, the CPDA has been publishing the journal EstudosSociedade e Agricultura on a thrice-yearly basis; this publication has assumed a prominent position among Brazilian scientific publications devoted to rural, agricultural, and agricultural issues in the field of social sciences.
In a partnership with REDIBEC (the Ibero-American Network for Ecological Economics), since 2017 it has also published Revibec – RevistaIberoamericana de EconomíaEcológica, which is dedicated to the relationship between society and nature, particularly in terms of the tools of social metabolism, in order to help strengthen ecological economics as a scientific approach.
Since 2007, CPDA’s students have published IDeAS – Interfaces emDesenvolvimento, Agricultura e Sociedade, a free, peer-reviewed scientific journal featuring articles in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Not only does this publication disseminate the scientific knowledge produced in universities and other research institutions and foster debate and circulation of information on the “rural world” in the interface between development, agriculture, and society, it also ensures a place for graduate students to publish their research in the areas of the social and agrarian sciences and humanities.
For more information about the CPDA:
CESCO, Susana; MOREIRA; Roberto José; LIMA, Eli de Fátima Napoleão de. Interdisciplinaridade, entre o conceito e a prática um estudo de caso. Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais, vol. 29, n. 84, Fev 2014, p. 57-71.
MOREIRA, Roberto. Mobilizando agendas em torno da pesquisa social em agricultura. O Programa CPDA, A APIPSA e o PRONEX. In: LIMA, Eli Napoleão de e LEITE, Sérgio Pereira (Orgs.). CPDA 30 Anos. Desenvolvimento, Agricultura e Sociedade. Rio de Janeiro: Mauad X; Seropédica: EDUR, 2010.
Postado em 29/06/2018 - 15:59 - Atualizado em 15/04/2021 - 11:08