Department of History and the College
Brodwyn Fischer is a historian of Brazil and Latin America, and is especially interested in cities, citizenship, law, migration, race, and social inequality. Her research is focused on the historical dynamics of Brazilian racial inequalities, criminal law, Brazil’s 20th century great migrations, and the relationship between the urban poor and Brazil’s political left. Fischer’s current project, “Understanding Inequality in Post-Abolition Brazil,” addresses some of the paradoxical ways in which struggles for survival and social mobility have historically reinforced rather than disrupted larger inequalities within Brazilian society.
Her first book, A Poverty of Rights, examined how weak citizenship rights and residential informality came to define urban poverty, popular social struggles, and the political dynamics of inequality in modern Brazil. This publication received book awards from the Social Science History Association, Urban History Association, Conference on Latin American History, and Brazilian Studies Association. Fischer is also a co-editor of Cities from Scratch, a recently published work that explores the many ways in which poverty and informality have shaped the Latin American urban experience.
Fischer holds a PhD in history from Harvard University. Her work
has been supported by various fellowships, including most recently
a Fulbright-Hays Grant for research in Brazil, as well as a Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.
Fischer joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2013.