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Graduate Studies - Latin American and Caribbean History

Updated June 2020

Vanderbilt University has one of the oldest programs in Latin American studies in the United States. Our doctoral program focuses on developing scholars and teachers with both a broad knowledge of Latin American and Caribbean history and intensive training in research and writing in their specialty. Doctoral students normally do four semesters of classes, then take their qualifying exams at the end of their fourth semester or the beginning of their fifth semester. Working closely with our historians of Latin America and the Caribbean, students develop a dissertation topic and prospectus during their fifth semester.

From their first semester, we encourage our doctoral students to become actively engaged in the profession through field research, networking, publishing, collaborative projects, and grant applications. Our students have presented their research at numerous national and international conferences including the American Historical Association, Conference on Latin American History, Latin American Studies Association, Brazilian Studies Association, Association of Caribbean Historians, and the Southern Historical Association. Over the last decade our students have won many prestigious internal and external research awards (ACLS, Mellon, Boren, SSRC, and Fulbright).

Since 1989, thirty-nine students have entered our doctoral program. Twenty-three have completed their dissertations, and ten students are currently in the program. The average time to completion of dissertation has been 6 years. Close individual supervision of our students has been key to the timely and successful progress of our students. 

Vanderbilt University has a distinguished tradition in Latin American and Caribbean history beginning with the hiring of Alexander Marchant (and four other Brazil specialists) and the creation of an Institute of Brazilian Studies in 1947. Among other noted historians of Latin America who have taught at Vanderbilt are Simon Collier, Robert Gilmore, J. León Helguera, and Barbara Weinstein. Close individual supervision of our students has been key to the timely and successful progress of our students.

Current faculty

Celso Castilho (19th-century Brazil)
Marshall Eakin (19th/20th-century Brazil)
Jane Landers (Iberian Atlantic world)
Tiffany Patterson (20th Century Caribbean)
Frank Robinson
(20th-century Panama)
Edward Wright-Rios (19th/20th-century Mexico)

Current Graduate Students

Paula Andrade, Brazil, 19th/20th centuries
Jorge Delgadillo, Mexico, 17th-18th centuries 
Jessica Fletcher, the transatlantic slave trade to the Americas 

Abraham Liddell, Atlantic world from Cape Verde to the Caribbean
Claudia Monterroza, modern Latin American history 
Tiago Fernandes Maranhão, Brazil, 20th century
Alexandre Pelegrino, Brazil, Indians, colonialism
Viviana Quintero, Colombia, 20th century
Ricky Sakamoto-Pugh, modern Mexican history 

Recent Graduates (Please click on "Recent Graduates" to the left, to find current job position info of our recent grads)

Danyelle Valentine (2019) "An Alternative Diaspora: African American 'Out' Migration to Trinidad and the British West Indies, 1783-1865."

Fernanda Bretones Lane (2019) "Spain, the Caribbean, and the Making of Religious Sanctuary." 

Joanna Elrick (2018) "Black Religions with White Faces: the Creolization of Religious Belief and Practice in Colonial Angola, Brazil and Cuba, 1600-1889."

Daniel Genkins (2018) "Entangled Empires: Anglo-Spanish Competition in the Seventeenth Century Caribbean." 

Lance Ingwersen (2017) "Mexico City in the Age of Theater, 1830-1901." 

Kara Schultz (2016) “An African South Atlantic: La Plata, Brazil, and Angola, 1580-1680.” 

Miriam Martin Erickson (2015) "The Black Auxiliary Troops of King Carlos IV: African Diaspora in the Spanish Atlantic World, 1791-1818."

Nicolette Kostiw (2015) "Child and Citizen: The Tutelage of Minors, Slavery, and Transition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1871-1900."

Courtney Campbell (2014) "The Brazilian Northeast, Inside Out: Region, Nation, and Globalization (1926-1968)."

Sutton, Angela (2014) "Mercantile Culture of the Gold Coast Slave Trade in the Atlantic World, 1621-1720." 

Woodruff, Erin (2014) "Indian Harvest: the Rise of the Indigenous Slave Trade from Española to the circum-Caribbean, 1492-1560." 

LaFevor, David C. (2011) "Forging the Masculine and Modern Nation: Race, Identity and the Public Sphere in Cuba and Mexico, 1890s – 1930s." 

Gomez, Pablo (2010) "Bodies of Encounter: Health, Illness and Death in the Early Modern African-Spanish Caribbean." 

Wheat, David (2009) "The Afro-Portuguese Maritime World and the Foundations of Spanish Caribbean Society, 1570-1640." 

Berger, Eugene (2006) "Permanent War on Peru's Periphery: Frontier Identity and the Politics of Conflict in 17th Century Chile." 

Story, Emily (2006) "Constructing Development: Brasília and the Making of Modern Brazil." 

Robinson, Barry (2005) "The Limits of Loyalty in Colotlán: Subversion, Pardon, and Society in Late Colonial New Spain, 1780-1821." 

Williford, Tom (2005) "Armando los Espíritus: Political Rhetoric in Colombia on the Eve of La Violencia, 1930-1945." 

Breuer, Kim (2004) "Reshaping the Cosmos: Maya Society on the Yucatecan Frontier." 

Guitar, Lynne (1998) "Cultural Genesis: Relationships among Indians, Africans and Spaniards in Rural Hispaniola, First Half of the Sixteenth Century." 

King, John (1998) "Cooperation or Conflict?: Relations between Chile and the United States during the 1960s." 

Ford, Talisman (1995) "Passion Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Sexuality as Seen by Brazilian Sexologists, 1900-1940." 

Corse, Theron (1995) "Projecting Peron: The Constructed Image of Juan Peron, 1945-1949."

Related Resources

Center for Latin America Studies
Latin American Collection, Vanderbilt University Library
Department of African American and Diaspora Studies
Department of Anthropology
Department of Spanish and Portuguese