Officers, Executive Committee & Constitution


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.

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.

Past President

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)

Executive Committee 2022-2024

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

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.

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, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2021, received the Roberto Reis Book Award.

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.

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 JazeeraTruthout, 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

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.

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.

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, published by Northwestern University Press, received the Roberto Reis Book Award in 2021. 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.

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 bookexplores 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.

Carolina Helena Timóteo de Oliveira

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.

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. 

BRASA Secretariat

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.

Christopher Dunn
Executive Director

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.”