Seminar Directors

The seminar is led by two co-directors, Prof. Erika Robb Larkins (San Diego State University) and Prof. Kathryn Sanchez (University of Wisconsin, Madison). We both have extensive experience in teaching Brazil and conducting research on Brazilian culture and history from an interdisciplinary perspective. Our complementary expertise in Anthropology, History, Literary, Cultural and Performance Studies will give the program interdisciplinary vibrancy. We have lived for extensive periods of time in different regions of Brazil and hope that this hands-on personal experience will contribute additional depth and insights to our discussions. We will both be present at all sessions throughout the seminar, alternating leading the seminar or co-teaching the material. Our seminar will be enriched by the contributions of three guest speakers.

Dr. Erika Robb Larkins

Dr. Erika Robb Larkins is the director of the Center for Brazilian Studies and associate professor of Anthropology and Sociology at SDSU. 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. Dr. Larkins is presently working on a second book examining the private security industry in Brazil.

Dr. Kathryn Sanchez

Dr. Kathryn Sanchez is a Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she teaches courses on literature, film, culture and history with a focus on the representation of race and ethnicity within the Portuguese Black Atlantic. Her first book is a study of the noble savage in nineteenth-century literature, published with the Portuguese national press, 2008, and her second book, Creating Carmen Miranda: Race, Camp and Transnational Stardom, was published in 2016 with Vanderbilt University Press. She is currently working on two book projects: Cosmopolitan Modernities: Brazil and the Transatlantic Performance of the Exotic and Filming the Amazon: Tales of Myth, Violence and Indigeneity Made in Hollywood

Guest Speakers

Dr. Benjamin Cowen

Dr. Benjamin Cowen is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego where he is a historian of the Brazilian military dictatorship and cold war, specializing in the cultural and gender history of the post-1964 era. He is the author of Securing Sex: Morality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) that received awards from the Latin American Studies Association and the Southeastern Conference on Latin American Studies. He is currently writing a second monograph illuminating the rise of the contemporary Right as a Brazilian and transnational process. 

Dr. Jessica Graham

Dr. Jessica Graham is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego where she teaches on twentieth-century US and Brazil, African American and Afro-Brazilian history of race, political ideology, cultural policy and diplomacy. She is the author of Shifting the Meaning of Democracy. Race, Politics, and Culture in the United States and Brazil (University of California Press, 2019) in which she assesses Brazil and the US during the Great Depression and World War II and analyzes the redefinitions of the concepts of nation and democracy in racial terms.

Dr. Keisha-Khan Perry

Dr. Keisha-Khan Perry is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, whose research focuses on the critical study of race, gender, and politics in the Americas with a particular focus on black women’s activism, urban geography and questions of citizenship, feminist theories and intellectual history, among other topics. She has conducted extensive research in Latin America and is the author of the award-winning monograph Black Women Against the Land Grab: The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil (Minnesota University Press, 2013). Her current research project, “The Historical Paradox of Citizenship: Black Land Ownership and Loss in Brazil, Jamaica and the United States” uses a globalized perspective to explore localized struggles for land throughout the Americas by illuminating the historical meanings of citizenship, material culture and diaspora, in relation to Brazil in comparison with Jamaica and the United States. 

Project Staff

Amethyst Sanchez

Jessica Baham