John D. French
Professor of History

I am a professor of History at Duke University with secondary appointments in African and African-American as well as International Comparative Studies in Durham North Carolina. With a B.A. from Amherst College, I received my doctorate at Yale in 1985 under Brazilian historian Emília Viotti da Costa. Since 1979, I have been studying class, race, and politics in Brazil from UNC Press zil, Latin America, and beyond with 48 refereed articles and four books. My newest monograph is forthcoming in October 2020 under the title Lula and his Politics of Cunning: From Metalworker to President of Brazil . My earlier books include  The Brazilian Workers ABC (1992/1995 in Brazil), Drowning in Laws: Labor Law and Brazilian Political Culture (2004; 2002 in Brazil), and a coedited volume The Gendered Worlds of Latin American Women Workers (1997).

I have over the years served as Director of the Duke's Latin American Center and the Carolina-Duke Consortium, Treasurer of our national interdisciplinary organization LASA, and co-editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review for a five year term that ended in June 2017.  Over the past seven years, I have served as co-director of the Duke Brazil Initiative, the Global Brazil Humanities Lab of the Franklin Humanities Institute (2014-17), and as faculty co-director of Bass Connections Project (2015-19) on "The Cost of Opportunity: Social Mobility and Higher Education in Rio's Baixada Fluminense" 

My past grad advisees have completed dissertations on Bolivia, Brazil (2), Chile, Jamaica & Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Venezuela, and southeastern pacific marine environmental history and my cureent advisees are working on Brazil (2) and early modern Spain. My graduate teaching includes the "Modern Latin American History" colloquium, a two semester sequence on "Afro-Brazilian History and Culture," and "The Latin American Wars of Independence." Over the years, I have directed numerous undergraduate theses in a variety of disciplines, eight of which won prizes. My undergraduate offerings include surveys of Brazilian Modern Latin American hisgtory while my newest offering focuses on the political and military history of the Latin American Wars of Independence. In the spring of 2020, I co-taught a course on "Black Lives Matter Brazil/USA" with Mellon visiting professor Dr. Silvio Almeida from Brazil.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

  • 331 Classroom Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
  • Dept of History, Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719

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