Gray F. Kidd,

Gray F. Kidd

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in Brazilian history. My field research takes me to Recife, Pernambuco, a port city of 1.6 million inhabitants and Brazil’s ninth largest metropolitan region (the third in the Northeast). A Fulbright-Hays DDRA provides me with 12 months of support as I examine state politics and popular struggles across Brazil’s notorious ‘red’ state. I look at—but also beyond—Recife and its adjoining sugarcane zone to better understand how new social and political projects and actors have grown out of polysemic exchanges between Pernambuco’s coastal capital and its vast interior.

In a state that is roughly the size of Portugal, I argue that the interior (what we might better understand as ‘small town and city’ Pernambuco) has been a fundamental, if less commonly recognized, player in statewide and national debates about popular culture, politics, and development. My project asks how and why Pernambuco’s arid interior assumed a strategic importance (and challenge) for state and national political projects from dictatorship (1964-1985) to redemocratization. 

From 2014 to 2016, I served as Graduate Student Coordinator of the Global Brazil Humanities Lab. I also served as a co-instructor and field coordinator for the Bass Connections Education and Human Development project "The Cost of Opportunity? Higher Education and Social Mobility in the Baixada Fluminense."

Office Location:  Carr Building
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Office Hours:

I am abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year. Please email

M.A.James Madison University2014

Latin America and the Caribbean
Politics, Public Life and Governance
Cultural History
Race and Ethnicity

Brazil, Northeast • Brazil--History • Brazil--Intellectual life--20th century • Brazil--Literatures • Cultural history • Intellectual history • Pernambuco (Brazil)--History • Pernambuco (Brazil)--Politics and government--20th century • Popular culture • Popular culture in art • Public spaces • Race • Social history • Sociology, Urban • Urban folklore • Urbanization

Recent Publications

  1. Van Norman, William C. and G.F. Kidd, Popular Religion, in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Latin American Studies (2015), Oxford University Press