ELECTION CANDIDATES

CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT

Erika Robb Larkins

Dr. Erika Robb Larkins is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies at San Diego State University. She received her doctorate in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also holds a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago. Larkins’ research and teaching focuses on violence and inequality in urban settings. Her first book, The Spectacular Favela: Violence in Modern Brazil (U California Press 2015), explores the political economy of spectacular violence in one of Rio’s most famous favelas. A second book manuscript, Guarding Rio: Private Security in Brazil, examines how the private security industry produces urban inequality. She has also published on issues of race, gender, and politics in Brazil, with recent articles appearing in American Ethnologist, City and Society, and the Journal for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, and in public outlets including El País and Estadão (O Estado de São Paulo). Larkins’ is currently working on a new National Science Foundation funded research project on the intersection of extreme heat, environmental racism, and inequality in Rio de Janeiro. She was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to co-teach the second iteration of the NEH Summer Institute, “Race, Modernity and Urban Spaces in Brazil” for higher education faculty in 2022. Larkins is committed to advancing scholarship on Brazil across academic fields. In her work as the director of an interdisciplinary Brazilian Studies center, she fosters collaborative research between scholars in the humanities and social sciences and areas as diverse as Engineering, Public Health, Education. Drawing on this experience, if elected as BRASA’s Vice President, she would welcome the chance to work to increase BRASA engagement beyond its traditional membership base. In addition, she would like to contribute to advancing the dissemination of scholarship produced by Brazilian scholars for wider publics in the United States, in keeping with BRASA’s mission. In pursuit of this goal, she is particularly interested in developing an initiative and programming to connect BRASA to the ongoing work being done on Brazil in the many centers for Brazil Studies, Latin American Studies, Brazil Initiatives housed at various universities across the U.S.

CANDIDATES FOR NEW MEMBERS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Amy Chazkel

I’m an Associate Professor of History and hold the Bernard Hirschhorn Chair of Urban Studies at Columbia University. Both as a member of the History faculty at the City University of New York for seventeen years and now at Columbia, I have been actively involved in research, teaching and institutional program-building related to my scholarship on Brazilian history. Although the city of Rio de Janeiro has been the focus of much of my work, I have conducted research in various parts of Brazil and taught at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina as a visiting professor. My book, Laws of Chance: Brazil’s Clandestine Lottery and the Making of Modern Public Life in Brazil (Duke University Press, 2011), a study of petty crime and urban culture in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Brazil, was published in Brazil as Leis da sorte: O jogo do bicho e a construção da vida pública urbana (Editora da Unicamp, 2014). Other publications include articles on the history of penal institutions and illicit gambling in modern Brazil, the privatization of common property in global perspective, Rio’s nineteenth-century curfew, a collection of essays on police museums in Latin America, and a co-edited anthology of primary sources from Rio’s origins to the present day. I am co-editor of a recent issue of Radical History Review that explores historical cases of places and times without police throughout the world. Among other ongoing projects, I’m completing a book, Rio de Janeiro and the Politics of Nightfall (forthcoming with Oxford University Press), which recounts the history of the urban nighttime focusing on nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro.  BRASA has played an important part in my professional and intellectual life for over two decades. As a member of BRASA’s Executive Committee, I would support the Association’s work in bringing specialists in the study of Brazil throughout the world into dialogue with each other, promoting the field and expanding its reach, and advocating for us as a collective. I would also look forward to sharing in the work of public programming and would be particularly interested in expanding the Association’s work in supporting at-risk scholars and public intellectuals in Brazil and elsewhere, strengthening BRASA’s network beyond the US-Brazil axis, and promoting the sharing of ideas and resources.

Marcelo Diego

Marcelo Diego is Associate Professor in the Department and in the Graduate Program of Comparative Literature at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He is also deputy coordinator of the portal <machadodeassis.net> and a member of the CNPq Research Group “The Fiction of Machado de Assis: Poetic System and Context”. Having a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and another one in Art History from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), he obtained a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature also from UFRJ and a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese from Princeton University, institution for which he has also a graduate certificate in Latin American Studies. Twice a recipient of Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa Research Center scholarship (in 2008 and 2015), Marcelo has acted as lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at UFRJ (2009), in the Department of Art History at UERJ (2012), and in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University (2013-2015). He was member of the research group that launched the academic journal Machado de Assis em linha, serving as its editorial assistant from 2008 to 2014 and executive editor from 2018 to 2021. Currently, Marcelo’s main research interests are the intertextual and intersemiotic relationships between Brazilian authors and the European repertoire in the 19th and 20th centuries. He has articles and reviews published in Brazilian and international journals, such as Luso-Brazilian Review, Remate de Males e Alea. His book Ópera flutuante: teatro lírico, literatura e sociedade no Rio de Janeiro do Segundo Reinado is forthcoming, by the Editora da Universidade de São Paulo. His main goals within the association are to strengthen BRASA’s ties with the academic community based in Brazil and its initiatives in support of diversity.

Paula Halperin

Paula Halperin is Associate Professor of History and Cinema Studies, and the Director of the School of Film and Media Studies at SUNY Purchase. Her research integrates media, history, and the public sphere in Brazil during the twentieth century. She has published a range of essays on cinema, television, race, gender, and the process of “being Brazilian.” Her articles have appeared in academic journals in the US, Brazil, and Argentina. She is currently finishing her manuscript, Nationalism and Historical Imagination. Popular Cinema in 1970s and 1980s Brazil and Argentina. She also writes film criticism for film journals, websites, and blogs.

If elected to the BRASA Executive Committee, she will organize (during BRASA International Conferences) series on Brazilian cinema. They will present an excellent opportunity to showcase the cinematic work of classic Brazilian filmmakers, young talents, and filmmakers connected to social and political movements. These kinds of events would help to stimulate the discussion on the crucial role of film and media in the actual political debate in Brazil.

Ana Paulina Lee

Ana Paulina Lee is assistant professor of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University. Lee’s research and teaching interests focus on the intersections between literary studies, political economy, and law. She takes a cultural studies approach to addressing race, gender, nation, and citizenship. Her research focuses on Brazil and Asia connections. Lee received a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

She is the author of Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation, and Memory (Stanford University Press), winner of the 2019 Antonio Candido Book Prize for Best Book in the Humanities. Mandarin Brazil examines the way that Brazilian cultural institutes constructed ideas about China and the Chinese to strengthen nationalism and racial whitening ideologies. The book brings together a multigenre archive that maps the circulation of trade, labor, and material culture to reveal the connected histories of Chinese and Portuguese expansion and globalization to the hemispheric Americas. Lee has also published articles, essays, and translations in academic journals and news outlets, including the Luso-Brazilian Review, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, The Drama Review, Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures, The Blackwell Companion to Luis Buñuel, The Global Studies Journal, e-misférica, Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World; Al Jazeera, Truthout, and MSNBC. If elected to serve on the Executive Committee of BRASA, she would work toward creating more opportunities for comparative Global South studies to expand research on Brazil’s historical and cultural connections to Asia

Okezi Otovo

Dr. Okezi T. Otovo, Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University in Miami. My research interests focus on modern Brazilian social history and the social history of medicine, specifically peoples of African descent and the politics of gender and citizenship in the 20th century. My book Progressive Mothers, Better Babies: Race, Public Health, and the State in Brazil, 1850-1945 (University of Texas Press, 2016) analyzes the rise of the maternalist movement in Brazil as a reaction to international discourses on health and progress as well as local concerns about the deconstruction of slavery. It connects the history of changing cultural, intellectual, and medical ideas about mothers and children to the actual experiences of poor families of color in newly-formed institutions devoted to public health and social welfare. Within the profession, I have served as Chair for the Health and Society track for the Latin American Studies Association and Section Chair of the Brazilian Studies Committee for the Conference on Latin American History. From Miami, I lead a number of major research and community advocacy projects on Black maternal health in Florida, including “The Black Mothers Care Plan: Reducing Racial Bias and Supporting Maternal and Infant Health,” “From Moments to Movements: Story-Telling as Epistemology in Black Maternal Health,” and “Perspectives on Black Motherhood and Health.” As someone who has moved increasingly into U.S.-focused work in the past few years, I look forward to thinking of creative ways that BRASA can encourage transnational research and engagement. From my particular vantage point, I hope to contribute to much needed conversations on how expertise in and inspiration from the humanities can be put into public service.

Flavia Rios

Flavia Rios (Ph.D, USP, 2014) is a Professor of Sociology at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Brazil. She was a Visiting Student Reasearcher Collaborator (VSRC) in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University (2013). Professor Rios is a researcher at Afro / CEBRAP. Currently, she coordinates the Management of Racial Equality project in the city of Niterói. Flavia is a member of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), the The Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA), the Brazilian Association of Postgraduate Studies in Social Sciences (ANPOCS), and the Brazilian Sociological Association (SBS). Her main interests are Social Movements, Gender and racial inequalities, Democracy and political representation, State and Racial Formation, Intersection Theories and Black Feminism,  Anti-Racism, Brazil and Latin America.  She wrote and co-organized three books: Lélia Gonzalez (Summus, 2010); Negros nas cidades brasileiras (Intermeios, 2018) and  Por um feminismo afro-latino-americano (ZAHAR, 2020). BRASA is a fundamental association for the formation of scientific networks and academic meetings between Brazilian researchers and specialists in Brazil. BRASA is a space for exchanging knowledge, methodologies, and research experiences. The Brazilian Studies Association can make more and more an environment for intellectual stimulation and partnerships between researchers interested in Brazilian issues, especially in the themes of gender, race, and class inequalities.

Aldair Rodrigues

I am from Minas Gerais and I live in São Paulo, Brazil. I hold a Ph.D. in Social History from University of São Paulo (USP) and since 2016 I am assistant professor in the department of History at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP). I am also director of Arquivo Edgard Leuenroth. In the United States I was a postdoctoral fellow in Latin American Studies at Yale University (2014-2015), where I coordinated the Brazil Lecture Series with the support of Yale Brazil Club. We were able to foster an interdisciplinary community from different nationalities and backgrounds to socialize and discuss multiple aspects of Brazilian society. In 2019 I had the opportunity to be a visiting scholar at the program of African Studies at Northwestern University (2019) to develop my current project about Brazil and the African Diaspora and network with a vibrant community of scholars from different parts of the world. It was also a great opportunity to get to know scholars in the Midwest. Based on these years of experience, here are my goals for BRASA: 1) Promote the visibility of studies that represent the social and ethnic diversity of its affiliates. 2) Keep the BRASA network active and vibrant in the digital environment throughout the year to strengthen its relevance beyond the annual event. 3) Enlarge its membership trough outreach in areas yet underrepresented in the association.
4) Position BRASA abroad to defend Brazilian democracy, human rights, racial justice and gender equality.

Marcos Davi Silva Steuernagel

I am Assistant Professor in Theatre & Dance, member of the Latin American Studies Center steering committee, and affiliate faculty in Ethnic Studies and in the Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate at the University of Colorado Boulder. I have published essays on performance and politics in Brazil in TDR: The Drama ReviewLatin American Theatre Review, and the Journal of Global South Studies, and co-edited with Diana Taylor the multilingual digital books What is Performance Studies? (2015), and Resistant Strategies (2021). My upcoming monograph addresses the performance of politics, policy, and aesthetics of the Workers’ Party years in Brazil, from 2002 to 2016. I hold a Ph.D. and M.A. in performance studies from New York University, a Specialization in Cinema and Video and a B.A. in Theatre Directing from Faculdade de Artes do Paraná, and have previously taught at NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU, and Faculdade de Artes do Paraná, in Brazil.  As a candidate for Executive Committee Member, I see BRASA as uniquely positioned to promote transnational and transdisciplinary conversations on the shared histories of coloniality, violence, and structural inequality in Brazil and across the Americas. I seek to advocate for the importance of performance as part of this conversation. To this end, I have presented and organized transnational interdisciplinary panels for BRASALASAABRACE (Associação Brasileira de Pesquisa e Pós-graduação em Artes Cênicas), ASTR (American Society for Theatre Research), PSi (Performance Studies international, and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, of which I am also a council member. My current research has focused on the radicalness of the current turn towards the far-right in Brazil and beyond, and I look forward to fostering rich conversations with my fellow Brazilianists across disciplinary and national borders.

Elena Shtromberg

Elena Shtromberg is Associate Professor at the University of Utah. She specializes in modern and contemporary Latin American visual culture, with a specific focus on Brazil and the U.S.-Mexico border region. Her book, Art Systems: Brazil and the 1970s (University of Texas Press, 2016) explores visual forms of critique and subversion during the height of Brazilian dictatorship. Her interdisciplinary research interests extend to gender and media studies, cultural studies, as well as communications, geography and postcolonial theory. She has been the recipient of grants from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council and DAAD, among others. During her research leave in 2011-12 she was a guest scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. She has also curated a number of exhibitions, the latest among them a co-curated survey entitled “Video Art in Latin America” which opened in September 2017 at LAXART (an alternative art space in Los Angeles), part of the Getty Foundation’s initiative PST: LA/LA. She is now working on a scholarly monograph on the topic entitled The Politics of Memory in Video Art from Latin America. At BRASA she hopes to engage and promote interdisciplinary dialogues that expand the reach of the Association as well as support a greater platform for the participation of the visual arts and artists.

Rebecca Tarlau

My name is Rebecca Tarlau and I am an Associate Professor of Education and Labor and Employment Relations at the Pennsylvania State University. My first engagement with Brazil was as an undergraduate, when I had the opportunity to work with a feminist organization in Recife using Freirean popular education in its community organizing efforts. I pursued graduate school to learn more about how social movements incorporated education into their social justice struggles. My book Occupying Schools, Occupying Land: How the Landless Workers Movement Transformed Brazilian Education (Oxford University Press 2019) won five book awards, include the LASA Brazil Section Best Book in the Social Sciences and the BRASA Robert Reis Book Award. Based on 20 months of ethnographic research, the book explores how MST activists have linked education reform to their vision for agrarian reform. I have also done research on the role of philanthropic organizations in shaping Brazilian education and the internal dynamics of Brazilian teachers’ unions. I have published my research in a range of education and political sociology journals, including the Journal of Education PolicyCurrículo sem FronteiraTeachers College Record, Comparative Education ReviewEducação e Sociedade, Mobilization, Journal of Peasant Studies, Educational Theory, and the Labor Studies Journal. I am excited about the opportunity to be part of the Executive Committee of BRASA and engage more with the society. If elected, I will promote participation in the annual conferences by both humanities and social science students and faculty. I would also love to see BRASA highlight the knowledge production of Brazilian activists by facilitating community presentations on relevant social, cultural, and political topics. Finally, I believe that BRASA should play a role linking theory to practice by taking stands, when appropriate, on Brazilian political issues that are relevant and supported by academic research.

Rubia Valente

I am an assistant professor at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College (CUNY). Prior to joining Baruch, I was a post-doctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Dallas, where I completed my PhD in Public Policy and Political Economy, and a visiting lecturer for the Program in Latino Studies at Princeton University. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, my family immigrated to the United States when I was in high school. My research seeks to produce scientific inquiries that measure and evaluate public policies and practices, with a focus on understanding social issues related to economic, political, and social development. On its broadest level, my work applies advanced quantitative methods and socioeconomic theory to investigate the impact of policies on underrepresented and marginalized groups, providing empirical support for formulating policies addressing socioeconomic inequalities due to race, class, and gender in social, political, educational, and religious institutions. 
My work can be found in the Latin American Research Review, Regional Studies, Review of Religious Research, Latin American & Caribbean Ethnic Studies, Cities – the International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, Race Ethnicity and Education, Geographical Review, The Professional Geographer, Journal of Happiness Studies, Applied Research in Quality of Life, Brasiliana – Journal for Brazilian Studies, PentecoStudies, and PNEUMA. As a member of the executive committee, I would advocate for increasing membership, particularly among junior scholars and PhD students, and increasing visibility; many PhD Brazilian students I’ve met were not aware of BRASA— this has to change. I will advocate for intellectual collaborations between scholars both in American and Brazilian universities. Such collaboration will provide Brazilian scholars with an important network of like-minded scholars in the United States.  Finally, I hope to fulfill BRASA’s mission of promoting and expanding Brazilian studies in the U.S.