I hold both a PhD in Romance Studies with a concentration in Latin America Cultural Studies and a Masters in Public Policy from Duke University. My research and teaching focus on the African diaspora in Latin America.
My dissertation, “‘Christ the Redeemer Turns His Back on Us:’ Urban Black Struggle in Rio’s Baixada Fluminense,” examines how youth movements contest the stigmatization and public policy neglect that plagues this urban periphery of 4 million residents across 13 municipalities. In the tradition of Black feminist anthropology, I employ autoethnography to analyze the ways in which youth knowledge and cultural production from the Baixada call for an intersectional territorial identity for and from poor, Black and brown youth from the periphery and to engage with my own knowledge production as both a scholar and blogger in Rio ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. In the urban geography of Rio, in which poor, Black and brown people “know their place” through grueling commutes, police violence, and lack of access to quality educations, these youth are making their place known by engaging in transnational dialogues with other universities and social movements like BlackLivesMatter.
Much of my dissertation research stems from my writing for the English and Portuguese language blog RioOnWatch, which seeks to highlight the voices marginalized residents throughout Metropolitan Rio, as part of my activist-research practice.
Similarly, during my participation in the Duke Bass project, “The Cost of Opportunity,” which investigates access to higher education, I co-directed a film of the same name with Brazilian rapper and videographer Dudu de Moro Agudo. Since it’s premiere in March 2017, we have screened the film in over 10 high school and community projects throughout Metropolitan Rio to foster a dialogue with young people about their right to access to higher education.