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John D. French, Professor of History and International Comparative Studies and African & African American Studies

John D. French

I am a professor of History and African and African-American Studies at Duke University 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, Latin America, and beyond with 42 refereed articles and three books: 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 just completed the first of a multivolume biography of Brazilian trade unionist turned President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva: The Unknown Lula: The Origins of a Brazilian President, 1945-1968

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 five years, I have founder and served as co-director of the Duke Brazil Initiative, the Global Brazil Humanities Lab of the Franklin Humanities Institute (2014-17), and a leader of the Bass Connections Project om "The Cost of Opportunity: Social Mobility and Higher Education in Rio's Baixada Fluminense" 

https://sites.duke.edu/project_duke_baixada_project/ 

My past grad advisees have completed dissertations on Bolivia, Brazil (2), Chile, Jamaica & Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Venezuela, and southeastern pacific marine environmental history. 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 Indepenedence." 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, Afro-Brazilian, and Modern Latin American history and Global Protest with a new offering planned on the political and military history of the Latin American Wars of Independence.


Contact Info:
Office Location:  331 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 684-2536
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:  http://www.aas.duke.edu/aaas/~jdfrench

Teaching (Fall 2019):

  • HISTORY 328.01, GLOBAL BRAZIL Synopsis
    Bivins 109, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
    (also cross-listed as AAAS 213.01, LATAMER 328.01, RIGHTS 328.01)
Education:

Ph.D.Yale University1985
MAUniversity of Pittsburgh1978
BA (Magna cum laude)Amherst College1975
Specialties:

Gender
Labor and Working Class History
Legal History
Politics, Public Life and Governance
Race and Ethnicity
Latin America and the Caribbean
Global and Comparative
Research Interests:

I am an historian of modern Latin America with a specialization in Brazil. Since 2005, I have been working on a book entitled "Lula's Politics of Cunning: From Trade Unionism to the Presidency in Brazil" which draws on a multi-year international research project on “Nurturing Hope, Deepening Democracy, and Combating Inequalities: An Assessment of Lula’s Presidency” that I co-organized (preliminary results have been published in 2012 along with a number of other articles on Lula, Latin American left turns, and working class history in Brazil. My last book entitled "Drowning in Laws: Labor Law and Brazilian Political Culture" was published in 2004.

Keywords:

History • Labor • Political science

Curriculum Vitae
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Wolford, W; French, JD, Deconstructing the post-neoliberal state, edited by Wolford, W; French, JD, Latin American Perspectives, vol. 43 no. 2 (March, 2016), pp. 4-21, SAGE Publications [doi]  [abs]
  2. French, JD, The tessitura of rights: employers and employees in labor law, 1953-1964, The Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 93 no. 4 (November, 2013), pp. 723-724, ISSN 0018-2168 [Gateway.cgi]
  3. French, JD, Review of A tessitura dos direitos: Patrões e empregados na justiça do trabalho, 1953 – 1964 by Larissa Correia, Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 93 no. 4 (2013), pp. 723-4
  4. French, JD, Política, Memória, e Vida Operaria na Cinebiografia Lula, Filho do Brasil, Perseu. História, Memória E Política [Revisa Do Centro Sérgio Buarque De Holanda Da Fundação Perseu Abramo] no. 6 (2013), pp. 259-277
  5. Fortes, A; French, J, The "Lula Era", the 2010 presidential elections and the challenges of post-neoliberalism, Tempo Social, vol. 24 no. 1 (December, 2012), pp. 201-228, FapUNIFESP (SciELO) [doi]  [abs]

I have received major fellowships from: Fulbright-Hays (1981-1982, 2000), Inter-American Foundation (1981-83), Social Science Research Council (1981-83, 1991) the National Humanities Center (1995-96), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2005-2006), and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame (Spring 2007). In addition, my external grants include: American Philosophical Society (1998), American Council of Learned Societies (1991), National Endowment for the Humanities (1998, 1991), National Historical Publications and Records Commission (1998-2000) and North-South Center (1994)


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