BRASA’s Lifetime Contribution Award (LCA) recognizes a leader in the field of Brazilian studies with both a record of outstanding scholarly achievement and significant contributions to the promotion of Brazilian studies in the United States. It is awarded every two years, corresponding with the BRASA International Conference.

2020 BRASA Lifetime Contribution Awarded to

Professor Anani Dzidzienyo

Anani Dzidzienyo

Tianna Paschel
Bryan McCann
Leila Lehnen

The BRASA Executive Committee is delighted to present the 2020 Lifetime Contribution Award to Anani Dzidzienyo, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, at Brown University. Professor Dzidzienyo’s work exemplifies the true meaning of this award, which honors someone with outstanding scholarly achievement and significant contributions to the promotion of Brazilian studies in the United States. His research, teaching and mentorship were instrumental to bringing the study of race to the center of Brazilian Studies, and his labors central to the founding of the field of Afro-Latin American Studies.

Professor Dzidzienyo received his B.A. in Political Science from Williams College and completed his graduate studies at the University of Essex in Latin American Politics and  Government. He then spent three years as a research fellow at the International Race Studies Program at the Institute of Race Relations in London, during which time he also began teaching at Brown University, where he has served as a professor for over four decades. Dzidzienyo’s pathbreaking scholarship provoked Brazilian Studies to put Afro-descendants, and the afterlives of slavery, at the center of the field. At the same time, his approach also pushed the field to embed the study of Brazil in the study of the world, on both sides of the Atlantic. Both of these critical contributions can be found throughout his interdisciplinary, multilingual and transnational body of work. His brilliant and pioneering research is only matched by the monumental impact he has had on the field through his direct and indirect mentorship of generations of Brazilianists in the United States, and Brazilians. As his nominators noted “it would take at least two hands to count the books published by those he has taught”. Indeed, in the acknowledgements of these works, one easily finds Anani Dzidzienyo, the generous mentor and thoughtful interlocutor. The committee felt that Dzidzienyo’s nomination could not have come at a better time. His service, teaching, and research has always been informed by his deep commitment as a public intellectual. When he first began writing about race in Brazil in the 1970s – he was surveilled by the Military Dictatorship. He also lent his sharp analysis and critical eye to the policy arena, writing reports for human rights organizations and foundations. As his nominators noted, his first publication was the 1971 report “The Positions of Blacks in Brazilian Society”, written for the Minority Rights Group, and remains widely influential some 50 years later. Professor Dzidzienyo’s work reminds us to ask urgent and timely questions, to write and teach topics that may be unpopular, and to ultimately have a politics. It is with great honor that we award him this prize.



The BRASA Executive Committee is delighted to present the 2018 Lifetime Contribution Award to Anthony Seeger, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ethnomusicology at UCLA and Director Emeritus, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. First nominated in 2015, during the last nomination cycle, we believe that it is now time to recognize Professor Seegers’s extraordinary contributions as a professor, archivist, record producer, administrator, and activist to Brazilian Studies. He is best known for his ethnographic and musicological research with the Kĩsêdjê (formerly known as Suyá) people of northern Mato Grosso, which yielded dozens of articles and book chapters, several recordings, a DVD, and several books, including the award-winning Why the Suyá Sing: A Musical Anthropology of an Amazonian People (Cambrige UP, 1987). During his early teaching career at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro (1975-82), he played a leading role in the development of ethnomusicology in Brazil, while also advocating for indigenous rights during the period of abertura. Since 1982, his institutional career has been based in the United States, first as a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University, then as Curator of the Folkways Collection & Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings starting in 1988, and finally as Professor of Ethnomusicology at UCLA from 2000-2012. The four letters of support received attest to his deep impact and lasting legacy as a teacher and mentor to graduate students trained in Brazil and the US. In addition to his outstanding accomplishments as a scholar, teacher, and administrator, the committee found his nomination compelling for additional considerations pertaining to discipline, area specialization, and professional trajectory. Professor Seeger is the first ethnomusicologist and the first scholar of Amazonian/Indigenous Brazil to receive this distinction from BRASA.


The Brazilian Studies Association is delighted to honor Jon M. Tolman with the BRASA Lifetime Contribution Award. At BRASA’s first international congress in Atlanta in March 1994, Jon was elected the first president of the organization. Jon did incredible work between 1992 and 2004 when he retired as Executive Director of BRASA. During those years Jon personally organized and ran the first seven BRASA congresses. BRASA could easily have failed during the 1990s. The resources for the organization were scarce. In addition to all this administrative and organizational work, he lobbied the Brazilian government and a steady stream of Brazilian ambassadors to Washington. He was a one-man machine successfully promoting Brazilian studies in the United States. We all owe him an enormous debt, one that we can never fully repay. For eleven years, Jon invested a good deal of his professional and personal life in giving life to BRASA. Bestowing Jon M. Tolman with BRASA’s Lifetime Contribution Award is one way for us to acknowledge our debt to him and to honor his formidable work toward the promotion of Brazilian studies in the United States.


Professor Maxine Margolis, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of Florida and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Margolis stands out for her more than forty years of extraordinary and unflagging commitment to the mission of our organization: the promotion of Brazilian Studies in the United States. She is the author of many books, including Goodbye Brazil: Émigrés from the Land of Soccer and Samba (University of Wisconsin Press 2013), An Invisible Minority: Brazilian Immigrants in New York City (University Press of Florida, 2009), and Little Brazil: An Ethnography of Brazilian Immigrants in New York City (Princeton UP 1994). As her numerous books, articles, and media appearances attest, she pioneered research on Brazilian immigration in this country, raising the profile of Brazil-US relations in the process. Virtually single-handedly, Professor Margolis invented the study of the Brazilian Diaspora, and she began research on this topic a full decade before others had even identified the relevant trends. Dr. Margolis served BRASA in a number of capacities over the years, including taking on leadership roles on various committees. Beyond that, she has mentored several generations of students at the University of Florida and provided support to many emerging colleagues in Brazil over the years. She served as an active networker and an outstanding contributor to the consolidation of BRASA as an internationally recognized professional organization.

2012 Richard Graham

BRASA’s Lifetime Achievement Award (LCA) recognizes Professor Graham as a leader in the field of Brazilian studies with both a record of outstanding scholarly achievement and significant contributions to the promotion of Brazilian studies in the United States. Professor Graham’s stellar career merits such an honor for his scholarship, teaching, publishing, mentoring, and institutional development. Professor Graham is recognized internationally for his contributions to deepening our understanding of Brazilian history. Professor Graham’s first book, Britain and the Onset of Modernization in Brazil, 1850-1914 (1968), is a landmark study of British influence in Brazil. It won the prestigious Bolton Prize from the Conference on Latin American History in 1969. In 1978, he published The Jesuit Antonio Vieira and his Plans for the Economic Rehabilitation of Seventeenth-Century Portugal, an important contribution to colonial Brazilian and Portuguese imperial history. The following year, Escravidão, reforma e imperialismo (1979) brought together some of his article-length work on Brazilian slavery and profoundly shaped the emerging Brazilian scholarship on the country’s slave society. His pioneering work on slave families appeared in Portuguese in this volume, and laid out an agenda for future research on slave families in Brazil. Professor Graham’s 1990 Patronage and Politics in Nineteenth- Century Brazil quickly became a canonical work on Brazilian state formation in the nineteenth century. Perhaps his greatest contribution to Latin American history more broadly is the invaluable, The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870-1940 (1990); it remains in wide use as an introduction to the field. In his retirement, Professor continues to research and write major contributions to Brazilian history. Feeding the City: From Street Market to Liberal Reform in Salvador, Brazil, 1780-1860, a study of the production and marketing of food in Salvador, Bahia, from the end of the eighteenth century through independence and the time of liberal reforms to the mid- nineteenth century was published in 2010. This book won the Bolton-Johnson Prize awarded by the Council on Latin American History in early 2011. Born in 1934 in the interior of Brazil to an American Presbyterian missionary father and a Brazilian mother, Richard Graham studied with Lewis Hanke at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1950s, receiving his doctorate in 1961, upon which he began his long and distinguished teaching career at Cornell University. In 1970, Professor Graham moved to the University of Texas and taught both undergraduates and graduate students there until his retirement in 1999.

2010 Werner Baer

Professor Baer’s research and writing focus primarily on the areas of industrialization, growth and economic development, public policy, inflation, and income distribution and equity. He has a distinguished record of scholarly achievement, including such books as Industrialization and Economic Development in Brazil(1965),The Development of the Brazilian Steel Industry (1970), and The Brazilian Economy: Its Growth and Development (1979), now in its sixth edition, as well as a lengthy stream of articles on a diverse range of economic and policy issues. One of the unique aspects of Baer’s work is the link he makes between historical, social, and institutional legacies of the Brazilian past and his direct and ongoing engagement with the most current issues of economic and public policy. He has taught at Yale (1961-65), Vanderbilt (1965-74), and the University of Illinois (1974-present), and he served as a program advisor for the Ford Foundation in Rio de Janeiro from 1967 to 1976. He has encouraged large numbers of young people to enter Brazilian studies and has recruited many, from both the United States and Brazil, to undertake doctoral studies in economics under his direction. Professor Baer’s multiple contributions have been widely recognized in Brazil. He has received the prestigious Rio Branco Medal from the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (December 2000), the Medalha de Honra da Inconfidência from the state of Minas Gerais (1995), and the National Order of the Southern Cross from the government of Brazil (1982).


Gregory Rabassa, Emeritus Professor of of Spanish and Portuguese, City University of New York, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Brazilian Studies Association’s Lifetime Contribution Award. BRASA especially wishes to emphasize Dr. Rabassa’s lifetime contributions to the promotion of Brazilian culture and literature internationally, considering that his numerous translations of Brazilian writers have made Brazil’s literature more readily available to English-language readers. Professor Rabassa’s prominent career in Brazilian literature began as an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College, where he studied Portuguese, among other languages. After serving in Europe as a US Army language specialist during World War Two, he pursued his PhD at Columbia University, graduating in 1954 with a dissertation on Blacks in Brazilian literature after 1888. It was later published by Tempo Brasileiro Press as O negro na ficção brasileira (1965). Professor Rabassa’s greatest impact in the field of Brazilian Studies in the US has been as a translator. Rabassa has been called one of the greatest practitioners of the translation craft and has been the recipient of some of the most prestigious translation awards in the US, such as the National Medal of the Arts, which he received from President George W. Bush in 2006, and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art, for his 2005 memoirs If This Be Treason: Translation and its Dyscontents. He has published over forty translations of Latin American literature, among them some of the most important twentieth-century Brazilian authors, such as Jorge Amado, Machado de Assis, and Clarice Lispector. As a translator, scholar, and university professor, he has had a significant impact in the field of Brazilian Studies.

2006 Thomas Skidmore

Dr. Skidmore’s stellar career merits such an honor for his scholarship, teaching, publishing, mentoring, and institutional development, among other contributions to the profession. He played a very significant role in advancing the study of Brazil in the United States throughout his forty-year career as a professor of Brazilian and Latin American history. Dr. Skidmore graduated from Denison University in 1954, received a masters’ degree from the University of Oxford, and completed his doctorate in history at Harvard University in 1961. He taught as an instructor and then as assistant professor at Harvard from 1960 to 1966. In 1967 he moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, becoming a full professor the subsequent year. Dr. Skidmore moved to Brown University in 1988 where he taught in the History Department (where he was Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Modern Latin American History) and was the Director of the Center for Latin American Studies until his retirement in 2000. He has served as President of the Latin American Studies Association and of the New England Council of Latin American Studies.Dr. Skidmore’s first monograph, Politics in Brazil, 1930-1964: An Experiment in Democracy(Oxford University Press, 1967), based on post-doctoral research at Harvard University, immediately became the definitive political history in English of those turbulent times. He followed up that volume with a political history of the military regime, The Politics of Military Rule in Brazil, 1964-85 (Oxford University Press, 1988) that documented the political system under the dictatorship and the gradual return to democratic rule in the early 1980s. He has also produced an important textbook history, Brazil: Five Centuries of Change (Oxford University Press, 1999). Another significant contribution of Dr. Skidmore to Brazilian studies has been the intellectual history, Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought (Oxford University Press, 1974), which traces the changes in notions of race in Brazil from debates during slavery to the eugenic and nationalist movements of the twentieth century. Like his two works on the political history of twentieth-century Brazil, this volume has become a reference point for all subsequent treatments of the subject. Dr. Skidmore continued publishing on this topic with an edited volume, The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870-1940 (University of Texas Press, 1990). In Brazil, Thomas E. Skidmore came to personify the “Brazilianist,” as is reflected in the Portuguese publication of a collection of his essays, O Brasil visto de fora (Paz e Terra, 1994) and in the numerous printings of his translated works.


For the BRASA Lifetime Contribution Award

The Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the BRASA Lifetime Contribution Award. We invite members of the Brazilian studies community to submit their nominations for the recipient of this prestigious award, which will be presented at the BRASA XV International Conference, to be held at Georgetown University, Marc 9-12, 2022.

Reflecting the primary mission of BRASA, the goal of this award is to recognize an individual with both a record of outstanding scholarly achievement and significant contributions to the promotion of Brazilian studies in the United States. The BRASA Executive Committee especially wishes to emphasize the criterion of lifetime contributions.

Nominees can be from any discipline or nationality but must have spent the greater part of their career involved in U.S.-based Brazilian studies activities. Nominees need not be members of BRASA.

Nominations will be reviewed by a BRASA award committee and voted on by the BRASA Executive Committee. The recipient will be announced before BRASA XV in 2020. The recipient will also be invited to address the Congress. The BRASA vice president will present the recipient with a plaque of appreciation.

Nominations should consist of one substantial letter of recommendation outlining the accomplishments and contributions of the individual; a CV; and a list of five references prepared to provide additional letters, if necessary. Materials can be either in English or Portuguese. One nomination per individual is sufficient. No self-nominations or posthumous nominees will be accepted.

Please email nomination materials to the chair of the committee.