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Mariana Dantas

Mariana Dantas, portrait
Associate Professor
Bentley Annex

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  • Ph.D. in History from The Johns Hopkins University


  • African Diaspora in the Americas
  • Atlantic World
  • Colonial British and Latin America

Mariana Dantas is Associate Professor in the History Department. She is a specialist in the history of slavery and African diasporic peoples in the Atlantic World.

Her first book, Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Americas (Palgrave 2008), provides a comparative analysis of blacks, slave and free, as urbanizing agents in the Americas. She also has published chapters in edited volumes, and articles in the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial HistoryColonial Latin American Historical ReviewJournal of Family History, and The Americas, among others. Her reviews of other works in her field have appeared in journals such as the Journal of American History, the Journal of Urban History, and the American Historical Review. She is currently working on a book project that will examine the social meaning of racial categories to three generations of members of families of mixed African and European descent in a colonial Brazilian mining town.

Mariana Dantas is a founding member and serves on the board of directors of the Global Urban History Project, a professional association that promotes research collaboration and scholarly activities in the emerging field of global urban history. The Global Urban History Project is an outgrowth of the Global City: Past and Present International Research Network she and her colleague Emma Hart, of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, led between 2014 and 2017 with financial support from the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and Ohio University's 1804 grant.


Mariana Dantas's main teaching interests are colonial Latin America, the history of slavery, and race formation and race relations in the African Diaspora. Her courses include::

  • HIST 1330: Introduction to World History since 1750
  • HIST 3230: Latin American History: The Colonial Era
  • HIST 3232: History of Brazil
  • HIST 3270: Slavery in the Americas
  • HIST 6902: Graduate Colloquium in Latin American History

Dr. Mariana Dantas also has advised graduate and undergraduate theses in the fields of the history of slavery and colonial Latin America.

Recent Publications

Families, Manumission, and Freed People in Urban Minas Gerais in the Era of Atlantic Abolitionism.” (Co-authored with Douglas C. Libby) International Review of Social History 65, no. S28 (2020): 117–44. doi:10.1017/S0020859020000152.

Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Americas (Palgrave, 2008)

"Miners, Farmers, and Market People: Women of African Descent and the Colonial Economy in Mina Gerais," African Economic History 43 (2015): 82-108.

"Black Women and Mothers: Social Mobility and Inheritance Strategies in Minas Gerais during the Second Half of the 18th Century," Almanack 12 (Jan./Apr. 2016): 88-104.

"Picturing Families in Black and White: Race, Family, and Social Mobility in 18th-Century Minas Gerais, Brazil," The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Latin American History 73:4 (October 2016): 405-426.

“Historical Approaches to Researching the Global Urban,” (co-authored with Emma Hart), in Doing Global Urban Research, ed. John Harrison and Michael Hoyler (Los Angeles; London: Sage Publications, 2018), 211-224.

“Considerações sobre a história global e história urbana global,” in História Urbana e Global: novas tendências e abordagens, ed. Erick Assis de Araújo e João Júlio Gomes dos Santos Júnior (Fortaleza: Editora UECE, 2018), 15-38.