Officers, Executive Committee & Constitution


Marcelo Paixão

Marcelo Paixão is Associate Professor of The University of Texas at Austin working at African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS). Previously, between 1999 and 2015, he was a Professor at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Economic Institute. He is currently a member of the Brazil Center linked to LLILAS at UT Austin. His field of research is focused on dynamics of ethnic and racial inequality in Brazil. It includes analysis based on demographic indicators and studies on development and public policies. Professor Paixão holds a degree in Economics from UFRJ and a PhD in Sociology from the Research University Institute of Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ). Between 2012 and 2013 he was a Visiting Professor at Princeton University where he worked on the Project Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA) coordinated by Prof. Edward Telles. He has published several articles and books about racial relations and racial inequality in Brazil. Some of the most important are Desenvolvimento Humano e Relações Raciais; two editions of Relatório Anual das Desigualdades Raciais no Brasil (Ed. Garamond, in 2008 and 2011); and A Lenda da Modernidade Encantada: por uma crítica ao pensamento social brasileiro sobre relações raciais e projeto de Estado-Nação (Ed CRV, 2014). More recently, in 2016, he published the book, 500 años de soledad: estudios sobre las desigualdades raciales en Brasil (Ed Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2016)

Vice President

Sidney Chalhoub

Sidney Chalhoub is Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Before coming to Harvard, he taught at UNICAMP for 30 years. He has published three books on the social history of Rio de Janeiro: Trabalho, lar e botequim (1986), on working-class culture in the early twentieth century; Visões da liberdade (1990), on the last decades of slavery; and Cidade febril (1996), on tenements and epidemics in the second half of the nineteenth century. He also published Machado de Assis, historiador (2003), about the literature and political ideas of Machado de Assis. His latest book monograph is A força da escravidão (2012), on illegal enslavement and the precariousness of freedom in nineteenth-century Brazil. Professor Chalhoub has supervised 30 completed PhD dissertations, 23 MA theses, and 29 senior theses and is very proud of my former students. The large majority of those who completed their doctorates under his supervision are now professors in public universities in all regions of Brazil.

Former President

Gladys Mitchell-Walthour

Dr. Gladys Mitchell-Walthour is an Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Gladys Mitchell-Walthour is a Political Scientist specializing in Brazilian racial politics. Her work examines Afro-Brazilian political behavior, affirmative action, Bolsa Família, and racial inequality. She was the BRASA president form 2018-2020. She is currently co-coordinator of the US Network for Democracy in Brazil. She is the author of The Politics of Blackness: Racial Identity and Political Behavior in Contemporary Brazil (Cambridge UP, 2017).She co-edited the book, Race and the Politics of Knowledge Production Diaspora and Black Transnational Scholarship in the United States and Brazil (2016) with Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Brazils New Racial Politics (2010), with Bernd Reiter, and has published articles in Racial and Ethnic Studies (2010),The National Political Science Review (2011), Latin American Politics and Society (2009), Opiniao Publica (2009), Review of Black Political Economy (2009), and Studies in Latin American Popular Culture (2008). She has received Postdoctoral Fellowships at Duke University and Johns Hopkins University. She was the 2013-2014 Lemann Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Dr. Mitchell-Walthour holds the MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago, the Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, and a BA in Political Science and African & African-American Studies from Duke University.

Executive Committee 2020-2022

Rebecca Atencio

Rebecca Atencio is Associate Professor of Portuguese and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Tulane University, where she has taught since 2009 following three years at UNC-Charlotte. Although trained as a literary scholar, her research and teaching interests are deeply interdisciplinary, as reflected in my book, Memory’s Turn: Reckoning with Dictatorship in Brazil published in the University of Wisconsin Press’s Critical Human Rights Series (2014) and her current book project on Brazilian feminisms. At Tulane, she is a core faculty member of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and currently direct the program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. As of 2019, she is also an editor of the interdisciplinary academic journal Luso-Brazilian Review

Isis Barra Costa

Isis Barra Costa is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Brazilian Literary and Cultural Studies at Ohio State University. She previously taught at Arizona State University, where she directed the Brazilian Studies Certificate Program. She received her PhD in Comparative Literature and MA in English Literature at New York University. Isis is an initiated elder in the Orisha traditions of Cuba and Brazil.  Her presentations at BRASA have often focused on her main area of research: Afro-Brazilian orature, cosmology, and performance. Since 2014, following the 2013 protests in Brazil, she has been presenting and organizing panels that directly address the current political situation in Brazil. Isis believes in the importance of associations such as BRASA taking a stand on pressing social, political, and ecological issues. As an advocate of collaborative ventures, Isis has co-authored anthologies in Argentina with Eduardo Muslip (Brasil: ficciones de argentinos and Passo da Guanxuma: contactos culturales entre Brasil y Argentina), in the U.S. with Emanuelle Oliveira-Monte (on the Afro-Brazilian Diaspora), as well as in Portugal with Denis Renó (on media ecology and digital knowledge-making). Isis has been collectively participating and organizing academic symposia and artistic interventions in traditional and digital venues (such as the Afro Digital Museum of Rio de Janeiro where she serves as a member of the Editorial Committee). As a member of BRASA’s Executive Committee, she is committed to further involving herself in conversations and actions to support BRASA’s mission and strengthen the connections of scholars, activists, and artists in the Americas.

Benjamin Cowan

Ben Cowan is an Associate Professor in the history department at UCSD. His work focuses on right-wing radicalism, morality, sexuality, and 20th-century imperialism, and the Cold War, with a more particular specialization in the cultural, religious, and gender history of the post-1964 era. His first book Securing Sex: Morality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), won book awards from the Latin American Studies Association and the Southeastern Conference on Latin American Studies. His work can also be found in American Quarterly, Luso-Brazilian Review, The Journal of the History of Sexuality, The Hispanic American Historical Review, Radical History Review, Latin American Research Review, and other venues. Ben serves as a collective member of the Tepoztlán Institute; and as an editorial board member for the Hispanic American Historical Review, the Revista Nordestina da História do Brasil and Fronteiras: Revista Catarinense de História. His second book, Moral Majorities Across the Hemisphere: Brazil, the United States, and the Creation of the Religious Right, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2021. 

Inês Dourado

Dr. Inês Dourado is a full professor and researcher at the Health Collective Institute (Instituto de Saúde Coletiva) of the Federal University of Bahia, Northeast Brazil. The Health Collective is a leading academic Institution in graduate programs in public health and has the highest evaluation score from the Brazil CAPES (Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education of the Ministry of Education) in the Northeast Region and among other 3 Programs in the country. She is a physician, with an MA in public health from University of Massachusetts and a PhD in epidemiology from the School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Dourado teaches epidemiology to undergraduates as well as graduate-level courses in epidemiological methods. Her research is on epidemiology of infectious diseases specifically on HIV/AIDS. She has been extensively involved in the study of human retrovirus (HIV and HTLV) epidemiology and prevention in Brazil. She was a visiting professor at NYU Master´s Program in Public Health (2010-2011) and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Brown University School of Public Health where she was a visiting professor during first semester of 2015 as part of the Cátedra CAPES-Brown Program of CAPES (highly regarded Program for senior researchers in Brazil) and The Brazil Initiative at Brown University. She has published extensively, documenting her long-term commitment towards improving the health of those most at high risk for HIV.

Reighan Gillam

Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. I am currently writing my book manuscript, “Visualizing Black Lives: Afro-Brazilian Media in São Paulo”, which examines the meanings that Afro-Brazilian media producers attribute to black identities through their own representations. She has published articles on representations of blackness in media produced by Afro-Brazilians in Communication, Culture, and Critique and Feminist Media Studies. She has been a member of BRASA since 2006 when she attended the Congress at Vanderbilt University. She most recently attended BRASA Congresses at Brown University and Kings College London. Through her teaching and research she works to center cultural productions and representations by people of African descent in Brazil.

Erika Larkins

Dr. Erika Robb Larkins is Director of the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology 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. Her research and teaching focus 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. Larkins is concluding a second book on how the private security industry in Brazil shapes urban space. She currently serves on the board of the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology (SLACA). In June 2020, she will co-teach a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for university faculty entitled, “Marginal Spaces, Race, and Modernity in Brazil.”

Leila Lehnen

Leila Lehnen is Associate Professor and Chair of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University. She specializes in contemporary Brazilian and Spanish American literature. Her thematic areas of research include the representation of citizenship, human rights, social justice, and democracy in literary and cultural production. Her book Citizenship and Crisis in Contemporary Brazilian Literature (Palgrave Macmillan 2013) examines the portrayal and critique of differentiated citizenship in contemporary Brazilian literature. She has published articles on citizenship, social justice, and human rights and ecocriticism in Brazilian and Spanish American literature, among other topics. Currently, she is working on a book on democracy and contemporary Brazilian literature. Leila has served as the American Portuguese Studies Association Secretary, Vice-president and the Association’s President-elect. She has also served in the BRASA conference selection committee (2015, 2012 and 2006) and in the Selection Committee Jon M. Tolman Award (2014 and 2016).

Marcia Lima

Márcia Lima is Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of São Paulo and a senior researcher at CEBRAP [Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning]. In 2016-2017, she was fellow at Afro-Latin American Research Institute/Hutchins Center for African & African American Research – Harvard University. In 2011-2012, she did her postdoc stage at Columbia University. Her experience is within the field of Sociology, with a research focus on racial inequality studies. She has published and supervised students in the following areas: labor market, educational trajectories, race and gender inequalities, and affirmative action policies in Brazil.

Ynaê Lopes dos Santos

Ynaê Lopes dos Santos is Professor of History of America at Universidade Federal Fluminense. She holds a BA, MA and PhD in history from the University of São Paulo. Her research areas deal with the history of slavery in the Americas, as well as the study of ethnic-racial relations in the American continent, the teaching of history of Africa, and black issues in Brazil. She is the author of Além da Senzala: arranjos escravos de moradia no Rio de Janeiro (1808-1850), published by HUCITE in 2010 – the result of her master’s research. She recently published the book História da África e do Brasil Afrodescendente (Pallas 2017). She is currently researching black intellectuals in the post-abolition period, from a connected perspective between Cuba, the United States, and Brazil. Ynaê is also a public historian in the teaching and dissemination of ethnic-racial histories.

Tianna Paschel

Tianna Paschel is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies and the Department of Sociology at the University of California – Berkeley. She is interested in the intersection of racial ideology, politics, and globalization in Latin America. She is also the author of Becoming Black Political Subjects, Movements and Ethno-Racial Rights in Colombia and Brazil (Princeton UP, 2018), which draws on ethnographic and archival methods to explore the shift in the 1990s from ideas of unmarked universal citizenship to multicultural citizenship regimes and the recognition of specific rights for black populations by Latin American states. It is the winner of numerous awards including the Herbert Jacob Book Award of the Law and Society Association and the Barrington Moore Book Award of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Her work can be found in the American Journal of Sociology, the Du Bois ReviewSOULS: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, and Ethnic and Racial Studies and various edited volumes. Professor Paschel is also the co-editor – along with Petra Rivera-Rideau and Jennifer Jones – of Afro-Latin@s in Movement, an interdisciplinary volume that explores transnationalism and blackness in the Americas. Professor Paschel is a Ford Fellow, member of the American Political Science Association Task Force on Race and Class Inequality, the Council of the Law Section of ASA, and the Steering Committee of the Network of Anti-Racist Action and Research (RAIAR).

Patricia Pinho

Patricia Pinho is Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Informed by Cultural Studies, her work revolves around issues of identity and power. In her research and teaching she has sought to highlight the importance of Brazil in the broader contexts of the Americas and the black diaspora. Her publications, including Mama Africa: Reinventing Blackness in Bahia (Duke University Press, 2010), have centered on blackness, whiteness, racism, and forms of resistance to racism in Brazil. Her latest book, Mapping Diaspora: African American Roots Tourism in Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), examines the construction of black transnational solidarity within the geopolitics of the black diaspora. Born and raised in Salvador, Bahia, she has a PhD in Social Sciences from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas – UNICAMP and I has lived and worked in the United States since 2002. She has been a member of BRASA since 2004 when the conference was held in Rio de Janeiro where she participated on the panel “Novas Negritudes, Novas Atitudes,” an excellent opportunity to discuss anti-racist activism and aesthetics with Brazilian and U.S. American scholars/activists. Building local and transnational solidarity is a crucial means of struggle, especially in the face of Brazil’s dire political situation following the 2016 coup.

Sonia Roncador

Sonia Roncador is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Austin-Texas. She holds an MA in Brazilian Literature from University of Brasilia (1993), and a PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University (1999). Before joining the faculty of UT-Austin, she had previous teaching appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Columbia University, and a visiting position at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). She is the author of three books on Brazilian literature and cultural history. Her first monograph, Poéticas do empobrecimento (Annablume, 2002) explores the intersections of social responsibility and “ethics of care” in Clarice Lispector’s later writings. Her next book, A doméstica imaginária (University of Brasilia Press, 2008) reveals the symbolic centrality of domestic servants to post-abolition Brazilian intellectual discourse, and argues that the social and economic space of waged domestic servitude remains profoundly shaped by the legacy of slavery. A substantially revised and expanded English version of this book, Domestic Servants in Literature and Testimony in Brazil, appeared in 2014 (Palgrave Macmillan).Her current book project, “Imperial Trash: The Portuguese in the American Tropics” (Brazil, Trinidad, and Hawaii), challenges the nationalist paradigm in the scholarship of Portuguese immigration by demonstrating the international resonance of the myths of white slavery and white genocide framing the emerging discourses of luso migrations across the American tropics in the 19th and early 20th centuries. With its transatlantic geographic scope, the book examines the juxtaposing contexts of African slavery and Asian and European indentured servitude, as well as Portuguese and British imperialisms. It also interrogates the “human acclimatization” debate guiding racial and immigration politics of the time, discourses generated by narratives of white race expansion and conversely white extermination during decades of intense southbound mobilities.

Fabio de Sá e Silva

Fabio de Sá e Silva is Assistant Professor of International Studies and Wick Cary Professor of Brazilian Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He studies the social organization and the political impact of law and justice in Brazil and comparatively. Fabio has a multidisciplinary background multidisciplinary background, with training in law, social sciences, and public policy, as well as a diversified professional experience that blends academic work and policy analysis. He holds a B.A. in legal studies from the University of Sao Paulo, where he received a prestigious CAPES fellowship for studies in law and society. He also attained a Master of Laws at the University of Brasilia Law School and a Ph.D. in Law, Policy, and Society at Northeastern University as a CAPES-Fulbright fellow. He founded and co-directs OU’s Center for Brazil Studies. As such, he has been deeply involved in creating an infrastructure for Brazilian Studies at OU in collaboration with Brazilian institutions.

Victoria Saramago

Victoria Saramago is an Assistant Professor of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies at the University of Chicago. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Iberian and Latin American Cultures from Stanford University, as well as M.A. and B.A. degrees in Luso-Brazilian literatures from the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Her book, Fictional Environments: Mimesis, Deforestation, and Development in Latin America, is forthcoming in November 2020 with Northwestern University Press. Fictional Environments investigates the growing rift between environments fictionally preserved in novels and the changes these same environments face in referential reality. It shows how novels have inspired the development of conservationist initiatives, how they have offered counterpoints to and dialogues with modernization projects, and how environmental aspects have composed the agendas of novelists as activists, politicians, and public intellectuals. She is the author of O duplo do pai: o filho e a ficção de Cristovão Tezza (São Paulo: É Realizações, 2013). She has also published articles in a range of topics, including transatlantic uses and meanings of the term sertão. Her research interests include Latin American literatures and cultures with a focus on Brazil, ecocriticism, fiction and fictionality studies, and autobiographical writings.

Carolina Helena Timóteo de Oliveira
Graduate Student Representative

Carolina Timóteo de Oliveira completed her undergraduate degree in English at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte. While working on her undergraduate degree, Carolina developed research on new literacy and critical literacy in English language textbooks. She worked for seven years as a Portuguese and English teacher before completing her master’s degree in Latin American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her master’s thesis entitled “Afro-Brazilian Culture as a Means of Transformation: Spaces, Business and Political Participation in Belo Horizonte, Brazil” investigates how Brazilian hip-hop can challenge social patterns and build new realities. At UNC Charlotte, Carolina taught Portuguese as a Foreign Language and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture courses to undergraduate students. In addition, Carolina participated in ethnographic research on social and racial dynamics in a gentrifying community in Charlotte, North Carolina. Carolina is currently pursuing a PhD in Latin American studies at Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University and is part of the Mellon Graduate Program in Community Engaged Scholarship. Carolina is developing a project on identities, therapeutic resources, and empowerment strategies with the Afro-LGBT+ population in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In addition, Carolina is conducting research with an ethnomusicological approach on the relationship between Candomblé and Afro-Brazilian art, the dynamics between Afro-diasporic rhythms, identity constructions, and notions of citizenship.

Christopher Dunn
Executive Director, BRASA Secretariat

Christopher Dunn is Professor and Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University. He received his Ph.D. in Luso-Brazilian Studies from Brown University in 1996, the same year he joined the Tulane faculty. He holds a joint appointment with the Africana Studies Program and is a core member of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. His research focuses on cultural politics during the period of the dictatorship, race and nationality, popular music, and black culture in Brazil. He is the author of Brutality Garden: Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture (UNC Press, 2001), which was later translated into Japanese and Portuguese. With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he completed his second book Contracultura: Alternative Arts and Social Transformation in Authoritarian Brazil (2016), also published by the University of North Carolina Press. Contracultura was co-winner of the BRASA Roberto Reis Book Award in 2018. He is co-editor with Charles Perrone of Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization (Routledge, 2001) and co-editor with Idelber Avelar of Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship(Duke UP, 2011). He is currently writing a book tentatively titled “Stray Dog in the Milky Way: Tom Zé and Brazilian Popular Music.”

Claudia B. de Brito
Administrative Director

A native of Niterói, RJ, Claudia de Brito has lived in the Greater New Orleans area since 1993. She is Senior Executive Secretary of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University where she has worked since June 2000.  She received an Associate Degree in Computer Technology from Delgado Community College in 2000 and a BS in Computer Sciences from Tulane University in 2006. Claudia de Brito is a Louisiana Supreme Court Certified Legal Interpreter  and a Certified Medical Interpreter of Portuguese.