The USP Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences

“I consider the Faculty initially called Philosophy, Science, Literature and Languages and then divided into several institutes an extraordinary happening. It not only transformed the cultural life of São Paulo, but contributed to modifying the cultural life of the entire country” (Antônio Cândido, ADUSP magazine, June 1999)

The Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences (FFLCH) of the University of São Paulo, founded in 1934, is recognized nationally and internationally as one of the main centres of excellence in Latin America in the Humanities. Formerly called FFCL (Faculty of Philosophy, Science, Languages and Literature), it has eleven departments and is the largest unit in USP: 10,000 students are enrolled in 5 undergraduate courses, and 2600 students in 25 postgraduate (MA and PhD) programmes.

As an institution, FFLCH went through different moments throughout its history. There were many struggles for the achievement of a physical space, because, during several years, FFLCH worked without its own building. FFLCH had its first headquarters in the vicinity of the Medical School and the Polytechnic College, where 83 students were distributed among the courses of Chemistry, Science, Geography, Historia, Social Sciences, Languages and Literature, Mathematics and Physics. Without its own installations, unlike what happened with other institutes of the University, the courses were taught in different buildings lended by other faculties. During the period of 1937 to 1947, the Faculty occupied important locations in the city of São Paulo, going through several transfers from place to place before occupying Rua Maria Antônia.

The Faculty has been cosmopolitan since its foundation. Prestigious foreign professors were hired from the United States and Europe to help in this endeavour. They brought with them different sociological traditions which marked the new institutions, where they taught and researched. French social scientists with their structural-functionalism tradition came to the University of São Paulo, professors such as Roger Bastide, Claude Lèvi-Strauss and Fernand Braudel marked the process of consolidation and institutionalisation of the humanities in USP and in Brazil.

Department of Sociology

Created on September 15, 1987, the Department of Sociology is located in the same institute as the Anthropology and Political Science, responsible for managing, pedagogically and administratively, the Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences at USP, and the Licentiate Degree in Social Sciences (known as Licenciatura in Brazil), in partnership with the Faculty of Education of USP. Its foundation is related to the French Mission in Brazil, a group of professors and researchers who collaborated with the founding of USP, in 1934 and the institutionalisation of the social sciences in Brazil.

Sociological research in Brazil during this period was profoundly dedicated to interpreting and explaining a variety of phenomena in the country. During the 1920s and 1930s, sociology went through a process of professionalisation and institutionalisation, influenced heavily by the French tradition and the American tradition, specifically the Chicago School, and the foundation of Department of Sociology in USP was crucial in this process (CORDEIRO, NERI, 2019). During the period of 1934 and 1945, around thirty-seven French professors settled in Brazil, mostly in USP (MERKEL, 2022). Internationally renowned Brazilian Sociologists such as Florestan Fernandes, Fernando de Azevedo and Caio Prado Jr. were some of the important figures that helped in the foundation and taught in the Department of Sociology.

For further information about the Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences (FFLCH), please visit:

Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences

About the Department of Sociology

DOMINGOS, V. C., NERI, H. 1930s–1940s—Institutionalising Sociology: The Settlement of an Academic and Scientific Environment. In: Sociology in Brazil. Sociology Transformed. Palgrave Pivot, Cham, 2019

SKIDMORE, Thomas E. Lévi-Strauss, Braudel and Brazil: A case of mutual influence. Bulletin of Latin American Research , v. 22, n. 3, p. 340-349, 2003

CORDEIRO, Veridiana Domingos; NERI, Hugo. Sociology in Brazil: A brief institutional and intellectual history . Springer, 2019

MERKEL, Ian. Terms of Exchange: Brazilian Intellectuals and the French Social Sciences . University of Chicago Press, 2022.