Sidney Chalhoub

Sidney Chalhoub

Professor of History and of African and African American Studies
Photo of Sidney Chalhoub

On sabbatical Fall 2021

Sidney Chalhoub is Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. He taught at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil, for thirty years before coming to Harvard in the fall of 2015. His research and writing focus mainly on the social history of Brazil in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with emphasis on the history of slavery, race, public health, and the literature of Machado de Assis, a writer of African descent widely regarded as the most important Brazilian novelist of all times. He published five individual books, three of them on the social history of Rio de Janeiro: Trabalho, lar e botequim (1986), on working-class culture in the early twentieth century; Visões da liberdade (1990), on the last decades of slavery in the city; and Cidade febril (1996), on tenements and epidemics in the second half of the nineteenth century. He also published Machado de Assis, historiador (2003), about the literature and political ideas of Machado de Assis. His most recent book is A força da escravidão: ilegalidade e costume no Brasil oitocentista (2012), on illegal enslavement and the precariousness of freedom in nineteenth-century Brazil. Chalhoub has also co-edited five other volumes on the social history of Brazil. At Harvard, he teaches courses on slavery, race, literature, and theories and methodologies of history, besides a lecture course on the History of Brazil, from Independence (1822) to the Present. Some of his texts in English are listed below.

“The Legacy of Slavery: Tales of Gender and Racial Violence in Machado de Assis”, in Lamonte Aidoo and Daniel F. Silva, eds., Emerging Dialogues on Machado de Assis, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 55-69.

“The Politics of Ambiguity: Conditional Manumission, Labor Contracts and Slave Emancipation in Brazil (1850s to 1888)”, International Review of Social History, Amsterdan, International Institute of Social History, n. 60, August 2015, pp. 161-191.

“The Precariousness of Freedom in a Slave Society (Brazil in the Nineteenth Century)”, International Review of Social History, Amsterdam, International Institute of Social History, n. 56, December 2011, pp. 405-39.

“Illegal Enslavement and the Precariousness of Freedom in Nineteenth-century Brazil”, chapter in book edited by John D. Garrigus e Christopher Morris, Assumed Identities: The Meanings of Race in the Atlantic World, College Station, Texas A&M University Press, 2010, pp. 88-115.

“The Politics of Silence: Race and Citizenship in Nineteenth-century Brazil”, Slavery and Abolition, London, vol. 27, n.1, 2006, pp. 71-85.

“Interpreting Machado de Assis: Paternalism, Slavery and the Free Womb Law”, chapter in book edited by Caulfield, Chambers and Putnam, Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America, Durham & London, Duke University Press, 2005, pp. 87-108.

“What Are Noses For? Paternalism, Social Darwinism and Race Science in Machado de Assis”, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, London, volume 10, No. 2, 2001, pages 171-191.

“Dependents Play Chess: Political Dialogues in Machado de Assis”, chapter in book edited by Richard Graham, Machado de Assis: Reflections on a Brazilian Master Writer, The University of Texas Press, 1999, 51-84.

“The Politics of Disease Control: Yellow Fever and Race in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”, in Journal of Latin American Studies, London, Volume 25, Part 3, 1993, pages 441-63.

“Slaves, Freedmen and the Politics of Freedom in Brazil: The Experience of Blacks in the City of Rio”, in Slavery and Abolition, London, Volume 10, Number 3, December 1989, pages 64-84.

Contact Information

Robinson Hall 212