top of page

The Making of Modern Brazil Podcast

Welcome to the Making of Modern Brazil Podcast, a project of the NEH Summer Institute, Making of Modern Brazil hosted by the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies at San Diego State University in Summer 2022. Our podcast talks to the faculty and graduate students who participated in the Institute about their research projects. This podcast was made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 1

Episode 1 with Demetrius Murphy

Demetrius Murphy is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Southern California. He received his B.B.A. in Management Consulting and Africana Studies from the University of Notre Dame and his M.A. in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University. His research interests lie in the areas of race and ethnicity, urban sociology, and economic sociology. Specifically, he has two lines of research: (1) resistance and anti-Blackness in Brazil and (2) flourishing and the Black class structure in the United States.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 2

Episode 2 with Watufani Poe, Tassiana Moura de Oliveira & C. Darius Gordon

Watufani M. Poe earned his B.A. from Swarthmore College, his Masters in History and his PhD in Africana Studies from Brown University. His manuscript project entitled “Resisting Fragmentation: The Embodied Politics of Black LGBTQ+ Activism in Brazil and the United States” is an ethnohistoric analysis of Black LGBTQ+ activism in both countries to outline the ways Black LGBTQ people push for freedom across various social movement spaces. His work lies at the intersection of Africana Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Anthropology, and History focusing intently on questions such as the connections of the Black diaspora, Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Social Justice Movements. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Black Studies at Amherst College and will begin as an Assistant Professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education in September of 2022.

Tassiana Moura de Oliveira is an Afro-Brazilian woman from the Northeast of Brazil. She now works as a lecturer at the Department of Latin-American and Caribbean Studies at the University at Albany. She is also a post-doctorate fellow at Cebrap (Centro Brasileiro de Análises e Planejamento). She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) in 2020. In 2018, she visited the University at Albany as a researcher sponsored by CAPES. She received her Master’s degree in Law from the Catholic University of Pernambuco, both in Brazil. Currently. Her research interests are judicial politics; Brazilian Judiciary; judicial behavior and judicialization of policies and politics. Right now, she is working on project that will evaluate in what capacity municipal institutions have used Brazilian state courts to extend the discussion about Covid-19 policies.

C. Darius Gordon (they/them) is an interdisciplinary scholar and educator. They are currently a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley in the Critical Studies of Race, Class, & Gender program housed in the Graduate School of Education. Broadly, they study the 20th-century intellectual histories of Black liberation movements throughout the Atlantic world. Drawing on Black feminisms and Black Geographic thought, Darius’s dissertation project is an intellectual history of the relations forged between the Brazilian Black movements and anti-colonial revolutions of Lusophone Africa from the 1950s-1980s. It is their hope that this work will further our understanding of the histories of Black internationalism, the limits and possibilities of Black transnational solidarity, and the lasting legacy of (Portuguese) empire. Their work has been published in the Berkeley Review of Education and the Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies. Feel free to connect with them on Twitter at @cdariusg for more information.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 3

Episode 3 with Alejandra Aguilar Dornelles

Alejandra Aguilar Dornelles is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at Florida Atlantic University. Her teaching and research interests include Caribbean literature, Brazilian literature, and Afro-Latin American Diaspora. She has published articles on Caribbean narrative and poetry in journals such as Latin American Research Review, Afro-Hispanic Review, and Latin American Theatre Review. Her article, “Heroísmo y conciencia racial en la poeta afrocubana Cristina Ayala,” was awarded the 2017 Ibero-American Prize for an Academic Article on the Nineteenth Century (LASA) as well as the Harold Eugene Davis Prize by the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS). She edited Sufragio femenino en América Latina: alianzas nacionalistas y políticas transnacionales, a special issue of Meridional: Revista Chilena de Estudios Latinoamericanos (2021), in collaboration with Vanesa Miseres and Claudia Montero. In 2022, her unpublished project “En nombre de la madre: el valor político del heroísmo en la narrativa de Maria Firmina dos Reis” was awarded the Marielle Franco Prize by the Gender and Feminist Studies section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). Her current research projects are focused on the representation of Black subjectivities in Latin American literary texts of the nineteenth and twentieth century.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 4 with Jessica Glass and Cassandra White

Jessica Glass earned her BA and MA in applied cultural anthropology from Georgia State University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Studies at Tulane University. Her research centers on beliefs and practices regarding citizenship, identity, and belonging, particularly in low-income communities in Brazil. Using interdisciplinary methodologies, including historical analyses, social theory as practice, and over two years of ethnographic fieldwork living in Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio, Jessica’s recent work focuses on how the pandemic has highlighted and intensified social exclusion and patterns of inequality in Brazil. Her research has been supported by The Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies, The Tinker Foundation, and The Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking. She has presented her work at 11 conferences worldwide and was interviewed on the BBC radio program “Thinking Allowed,” which focuses on social science research. Utilizing her positionality as an anthropologist and favela resident at the onset of the pandemic, Jessica wrote “Use Mascara: The Trajectory of COVID-19 in the Favela Rocinha,” which was published in City & Society.

Cassandra White is a cultural and medical anthropologist whose research has focused on Brazil and Brazilian Americans since she first had a chance to study abroad in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. She received her BA and MA in Anthropology from the University of Florida and her PhD from Tulane University in New Orleans. She is currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Georgia State University, where she has taught since 2003. Much of her research has focused on the experiences of people affected by Hansen’s disease (leprosy), both in Brazil and among Brazilians in the context of international immigration. Dr. White has also conducted research on racial identity among Brazilians in the Atlanta metro area and is beginning work on a collaborative project on the intersections of climate change, health, and migration that includes Brazilian migrants to North Georgia and internal migrants in Minas Gerais. She has directed several applied anthropology field schools to Rio de Janeiro. During the pandemic, Dr. White became a member of the Grupo de Pesquisa Josué de Castro (based at PUC-Rio), which focuses on addressing structural inequalities through social science research and collaborative work. Dr. White lives in Clarkston, Georgia (a refugee-accepting community in the Atlanta metro area known as “the most diverse square mile in America”) with her son Ash and husband, Dr. Chris DeFrancisco, both of whom have accompanied her on several trips to Brazil.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 4

Episode 5 with Cari Maes

Cari Maes is an Assistant Professor of History at Oregon State University, where she also teaches courses in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She earned her MA in Latin American & Iberian Studies from UC Santa Barbara and a PhD in History from Emory University with a focus on modern Brazil. Her research focuses on maternal and infant health during the presidency and dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas from 1930 to 1945. Her research has been published in the Portuguese Studies Review and in a number of public-facing forums, like Nursing Clio and Somatosphere. She has also been a contributor for Ms. Magazine.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 6 with Leticia Cobra Lima

Letícia Cobra Lima is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Art & Architecture department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a doctoral emphasis in Feminist Studies (2020). Her areas of concentration are modern and contemporary art from Latin America, women and queer artists, and sculpture, particularly the media of assemblage art with found objects. She was the recipient of the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Murray Roman Curatorial Fellowship awarded by the Art, Design & Architecture Museum (UCSB). Letícia has a master’s degree in Visual Arts from Santa Catarina State University (2014) and bachelor’s degrees in Graphic Design (Federal University of Santa Catarina, 2011) and Visual Arts (Santa Catarina State University, 2015).


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 7 with Jennifer Alpert

Jennifer Alpert is a film scholar interested in portrayals of marginalized groups in the popular cinemas of the Americas as it pertains to race, gender identity, sexuality, class, and political ideology among others, and with a focus on human rights in Latin America. Her book project, Collective Reconstructions: Genre and Historical Trauma in Argentinean Cinema, rethinks the affective work popular cinema performed in the post-dictatorship era and establishes the screen (and particularly film genre) as a site of collective resistance for a nation reckoning with the consequences of genocide. She has taught courses on the cinemas of Latin America, race and gender in Hollywood film, film genre (melodrama, crime film/noir, science fiction, musicals), animation, colonialism and visual representation, and migration in film. She currently teaches at Harvard University in the History and Literature concentration.

In her life before Harvard, she worked in the Hollywood industry at places such as Pixar Animation Studios and in public-facing initiatives such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles/Latin America project, From Latin America to Hollywood: Latino Film Culture in Los Angeles 1967–2017, aiming to increase Latin American/Latinx representation in popular media. She current serves as an advisor for another Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles/Latin America project at the UCLA Film and TV Archive, Science Fiction Against the Margins. She is also the managing editor of the JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies Teaching Media Dossier, a publication dedicated to media pedagogies in higher education, where she champions equity and inclusive classroom practices. In conjunction with these roles, she is a mentor with the PUENTE project, a nationwide program aimed at increasing enrollment of underserved minorities in four-year institutions.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 8 with José Amador

José Amador is Associate Professor of Latin American Studies and History at Miami University, Ohio. He is the author of Medicine and Nation Building in the Americas, 1890-1940 (Vanderbilt University Press, 2015) and the co-editor of Historia y memoria: sociedad, cultura y vida cotidiana en Cuba (Centro de la Cultura Cubana Juan Marinello, 2003). His scholarly interests include the history of public health and race, the history of the African diaspora in the Americas, and transgender studies. He has been a National Humanities Center fellow, and has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He is currently writing a book on the history of trans identities in Brazil.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 9 with Flavia, Caio, & Eduardo

Flavia Azeredo-Cerqueira holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics, with a concentration in Second Language Acquisition. She joined the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Johns Hopkins University in Fall 2014. Before joining the department, she established the Portuguese program at Morgan State University, Baltimore, and taught language and culture courses at American University in Washington, D.C. and at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Dr. Azeredo-Cerqueira specialized in second language acquisition, language identity, the role of motivation in language learning, corrective feedback, phonetics and phonology, and the effects of cultural aspects in SLA. Her research interests are language learning and development, heritage learners, and the role of study abroad in language and cultural awareness. Dr. Azeredo-Cerqueira also conducts research in continued education, language teacher training and the intersection of literature, language teaching and telecollaboration.

Since Dr. Azeredo-Cerqueira arrived at Johns Hopkins University, she has developed several courses to study Brazilian history, culture, Afro-Brazilian religions, soccer, politics, film, and civilization. In addition, she launched the JHU study abroad program to Brazil and Luso-African countries in 2015. She has developed and led successful programs to different states in Brazil and to Cape Verde.

She has been an ongoing advocate for the teaching of Portuguese at universities in North America. She has presented at several conferences in the USA, England, Portugal, and Brazil, and has organized symposiums, roundtables, and educational panels at multiple venues in the United States.

Caio Fernandes Barbosa has experience with education, Public History, Digital History, and researching abroad. Before coming to the US, he taught history in the Brazilian public school system for eight years. He spent three years teaching in the Quilombo do Barro Preto community in Jequié, Bahia, and then for another five years in public schools in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Salvador, Bahia. He recently got a Ph.D. in History at UFBA. Now, he is developing the project “Favelas Vulneráveis”: The Brazilian War College and the Use of Racial Harmony against Communism during the Military Dictatorship. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Revista de História da Universidade Federal da Bahia, which is oriented toward providing a space for graduate students and early-career scholars to publish their work in a high-quality, peer-reviewed academic journal. He has dedicated himself to projects which look to disseminate history beyond the academy. Additionally, he has a column, called “Labirinto Estrangeiro,” on the website História da Ditadura, the national website on the Public History of the Brazilian dictatorship, and he develops a public and digital history project, Salvador 64/85, which uses GIS technology to map places related to the military dictatorship in Salvador, Bahia, connecting events, people, and geographical space together.

Eduardo Viana da Silva is an associate teaching professor of Portuguese and coordinator of the Portuguese Program at the University of Washington, Seattle. He received his Ph.D. in Luso-Brazilian Literature with an emphasis in Applied Linguistics from University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and holds an interdisciplinary degree in teaching “Certificate in College and University Teaching” from UCSB, a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) graduate certificate from Brigham Young University (BYU), and an M.A. in Luso-Brazilian literature, also from BYU. His main area of interest is Applied Linguistics in connection to Luso-Brazilian literature and Cultures, and Global Citizenship.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 10 with Luisa Melo

Luisa Melo is a Brazilian scholar and graphic artist who grew up in the outskirts of Brasilia and have lived in many Latin American countries, including Mexico, where she got an MA in Urban Studies. Her experience of marginality informs her approach to academia as a potential space to create counter-narratives and emancipatory connections between her own community and other marginalized groups.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 11 with Vanessa Castaneda

Vanessa Castañeda earned her Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is currently the Guarini Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Afro-Latinx and/or Afro-Latin American Studies. Her research centers on the baianas de acarajé, predominantly older, working-class Black women who are street vendors in Salvador, Brazil, that sell typical regional foods with culinary origins in West Africa. They also have come to exist as central icons of the African heritage tourism and cultural figures of regional and national Brazilian identity. Using interdisciplinary methodologies, including archival research and eighteen months of community-based ethnographic fieldwork with the Association of Baianas (ABAM), Vanessa’s work reconceptualizes the baianas as political agents of Black feminism for self and collective liberation. She shows how the women have mastered navigating their mobility in accessing multiple spaces of power, both figuratively and spatially. Her research has been supported by the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) Initiative Scholarship, the Tinker Foundation, and the US Fulbright Program. She currently serves as an executive officer for the Southeastern Council for Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) and as one of the communication officers for the Association of Latina & Latino Anthropologists for the American Anthropological Association (AAA). As a first-generation student herself, Vanessa is committed to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. At Tulane University, she was the graduate assistant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Gender & Sexual Diversity for several years and in 2016, she founded the Undocumented Student Support Committee.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 12 with Paulina Pardo Gaviria

Paulina Pardo Gaviria specializes in the history of modern and contemporary art of the Americas. Her scholarship focuses on the development of contemporary art under dictatorship in Brazil and examines the introduction of experimental artistic strategies beginning in the 1970s. Paulina’s current book project is the first substantial study of the work of Brazilian artist Letícia Parente, a chemistry professor who developed a politically committed artistic practice through the use of video and image reproduction technologies. Paulina is Assistant Professor of Art History at California State University, Long Beach.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 13 with Jordan B. Jones

Jordan B. Jones is an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at Brigham Young University. He holds a BA in English and Portuguese (BYU, 2014), an MA in Luso-Brazilian Literatures (BYU, 2015), an MS in Secondary English Education (Johns Hopkins University, 2017), an MA in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies (Brown University, 2021), an MA in Hispanic Studies (Brown University, 2021), and a PhD in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies (Brown University, 2021). His research interests include human rights and contemporary literature/culture, 19th-century antislavery texts, translation and digital humanities, and inter-American literature. Jordan is the author of articles and reviews that have appeared in the Journal of Lusophone Studies, Veredas, Revista Abusões, and Brasil/Brazil, and he is the translator of multiple scholarly articles and chapters, a collection of poetry, and The Myth of Economic Development (Polity Press, 2020), by Brazilian economist Celso Furtado.


This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 14 with Stephanie Reist

Stephanie Virginia Reist is a Lecturer in Civic, Liberal, and Global Education at Stanford University. Prior to coming to Stanford, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Education Department at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, financed by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. She completed a PhD in Romance Studies with a focus on Latin American Cultural Studies as well as a Master's in Public Policy at Duke University in 2018. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Williams College.

Her research and writing focus on issues of race, public policy, Black feminisms, cultural production, youth, and urban belonging in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Specifically, she is interested in the relationship between youth movements and access to higher education in Rio's predominately black, working-class urban peripheries. As part of her commitment to public scholarship, her writing has been featured in RioOnWatch, Times Higher Education, The Independent and Jacobin Magazine.


She also co-directed a short documentary on expanded access to higher education in Brazil that can be seen here: 

This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Episode 15 with Justin Michael Doran

Justin Michael Doran is an assistant professor of religion at Middlebury College in Vermont. He received his doctorate in religious studies from the University of Texas at Austin, concentrating on religion in the Americas. Doran's research is both historical and ethnographic with a focus on the circulation of Pentecostal Christianity throughout Latin America. At Middlebury, he teaches thematic courses on violence, race, and the religious dimensions of capitalism from a hemispheric perspective. His current book project traces the history of prosperity Christianity into Brazil in the late twentieth century, culminating in an ethnographic study of the Templo de Salomão in São Paulo.

This episode was produced with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

bottom of page