Search within:

Mariana Dantas

Mariana Dantas, portrait
Associate Professor
Bentley Annex

Recent News


  • 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 enslaved and free Africans and their descendants as urbanizing agents in the Americas. Her research has also been published as chapters in various edited volumes, and as articles in the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial HistoryColonial Latin American Historical ReviewJournal of Family History, and The Americas, among others. She has co-edited special journal sections in Urban History, Almanack, Esboços, and the Journal of Urban History. She was a visiting scholar at the Centro de Estudos Mineiros of the Universidade de Minas Gerais (2011, 2013) and at the Centre de Recherches sur le Brèsil Colonial et Contemporain at the École des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales (2021), and a fellow at the National Humanties Center (2016-17). Her current book project examines 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

Early Modern Atlantic Cities. Elements in Global Urban History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2024. [Co-author Emma Hart]

“From Books to Airplanes: The Materiality of Global and Urban Entanglements.” Journal of Urban History 50, no. 3 (2024). [Co-author Carl Nightingale] 

“Femmes africaines, hommes portugais et familles coloniales soutenant un empire: histoires du Minas Gerais au XVIIIe siècle” Brésil(s) [En ligne], 20 | 2021. 

"Digging down into the Global Urban past" Urban History 48, no. 3 (2021): 424-34. [Co-author Emma Hart]

Dantas, Mariana L. R. "Anna Maria Lopes De Brito, Eighteenth-Century Minas Gerais (Brazil)." In As If She Were Free: A Collective Biography of Women and Emancipation in the Americas, edited by Erica L. Ball, Tatiana Seijas, and Terri L. Snyder, 190-206. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. 

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.