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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Life + Arts

Guest lecturer to discuss Brazilian maps


The Latin American Studies Program is hosting Rice University professor Alida Metcalf for a lecture on “The First Representations of Brazil on World Maps” on campus today.

The event is sponsored by the Latin American Studies Program, the Center for the Americas and the History Department.

“Alida Metcalf is the Harris Masterson, Jr. Professor of History at Rice University and a noted historian of colonial Brazil,” director of the Latin American Studies Program and history professor Susan Kellogg said.

“Her most recent work focuses on the first European maps of Brazil and how these, even now, shape how Brazilians see themselves in the modern world.”

The basis of the lecture is the idea that current maps did not suddenly appear in entirety, but rather became unto themselves through a process. This process and history helps us understand modern-day images and representations of countries as well. Metcalf’s lecture will focus in particular on the history of the earliest cartographical representations of Brazil.

Metcalf is a recognized scholar in Brazilian history, Colonial Latin America, the Luso-Atlantic World and Historical Cartography.

She is also an author on the subject of go-betweens, having written three influential books, including “Family and Frontier in Colonial Brazil,” “Go-Betweens and the Colonization of Brazil,” and, most recently, “The Return of Hans Staden,” which chronicles the “go-between” works of Hans Staden, a 16th century German explorer who was captured by natives during his foray into Brazil.

Metcalf, who received her doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin, has received a number of awards for her scholarly achievements, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, the Helm Fellowship and the Luso-American Foundation award for research in Lisbon, Portugal. Both the Brazilian Studies Association and the Southwest Council have also recognized her work with awards on Latin American Studies.

She is a member of the American Historical Association, the Latin American Studies Association, the Southwest Council on Latin American Studies, the Conference on Latin American History, the Brazilian Studies Association and the Southern History Association.

She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate students for Rice University’s Latin American History program. She has previously served on the faculties of Trinity University, Indiana University and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The lecture will be held at 2:30 p.m. in room 520 of Agnes Arnold Hall.

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