Dr. Mariana Dantas is a specialist in the histories of slavery in the Atlantic World and of the African Diaspora. She received her doctoral degree from The Johns Hopkins University, where she studied the histories of colonial Latin America and British America, pre-colonial and colonial Africa, and slavery to understand, in a comparative perspective, the experiences of African and their descendants in the early modern Atlantic world. Her first book, "Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Americas", provides a comparative analysis of blacks, slave and free, as urbanizing agents in the Americas, and discusses the various ways in which their struggle for freedom and autonomy intersected with, and affected, urban development in Brazil and the United States. It was published by Palgrave in 2008. She has also published book chapters and articles on the topics of slavery, free blacks, and race in colonial Brazil. Her current research explores the life stories of members of a few select families of African descent to understand the individual and collective efforts African descendants in colonial Brazil made to define the social meaning of racial categories and manage the influence dominant racial practices had on their everyday lives.
Dr. Dantas teaches a variety of courses focused on Latin American history at Ohio University, including Colonial Latin America, History of Brazil, and History of Slavery in the Americas. She also works closely with students interested in the field of Latin American history, having advised honors theses and M.A. theses and served on thesis and dissertation committees. As director of Latin American studies, she looks forward to helping students in the LAS masters program pursue their research interests and meet their academic and career goals.
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