My research and teaching focus on the topics of blackness, whiteness, racism, and forms of resistance to racism in Brazil, and more broadly in Latin America. My book, Mama Africa: Reinventing Blackness in Bahia (Duke University Press, 2010) traces the ways in which Africa has been imagined and reinvented by Afro-Bahian cultural groups, functioning, on the one hand, as an inspiring reference for the construction of cultural and political black identities, but serving, on the other hand, to freeze blackness in static icons that are manipulated by the local government and the tourism industry. Mama Africa is a revised and expanded edition of Reinvenções da África na Bahia (Editora Annablume, 2004), which received an Honorary Award from LASA’s Premio IberoAmericano “for the outstanding book on Latin America in the Social Sciences and the Humanities in Spanish or Portuguese,” in 2006.
My current research project looks at African American roots tourism in Brazil within the wider context of transnational black links of solidarity. Before joining the Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies, I was a Henry Rice postdoc fellow at Yale University, and a Mellon postdoc fellow in the Department of Black Studies in Amherst College. I have a PhD in Social Sciences from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas – UNICAMP.
My recent publications also include:
“Bahia is a Closer Africa.” African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World, edited by Ana Lucia Araujo. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2015, 253-284.
“The Dirty Body that Cleans: Representations of Domestic Workers in Brazilian Common Sense.” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 13 (1), August 2015, 103-128.
“Nurturing Bantu Africanness in Brazil.” Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America, edited by Kwame Dixon and John Burdick. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012, 21-41.
“Domestic Relations in Brazil: Legacies and Horizons,” co-authored with Elizabeth Silva. Latin American Research Review 45 (2), June 2010, 90-113.
“White but not Quite: Tones and Overtones of Whiteness in Brazil.” Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 29 (13/2), June 2009, 39-56.
“African-American Roots Tourism in Brazil.” Latin American Perspectives 160 (35), May 2008, 70-86.