Flávio dos Santos Gomes

Flávio dos Santos Gomes

Fellow: Awarded 2009

Field of Study: History

Competition: Latin America & Caribbean

Flávio dos Santos Gomes is an Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), an appointment he took up in 1998, after a four-year tenure as Assistant Professor at the Federal University of Pará. He received two undergraduate degrees, one in history from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (1989) and the other in social science from UFRJ (1990). He completed his postgraduate work at the State University of Campinas, earning a master’s degree (1993) and Ph.D. (1997) in history.

Throughout his career, Mr. Gomes has been conducting in-depth research on the Brazilian quilombos, or settlements established by fugitive slaves, that sprang up before slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, and even into the twentieth century when the illegal slave trade was finally curtailed. His master’s thesis on maroon (runaway slave) communities on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, entitled Histórias de Quilombolas. Mocambos e Cumunidades de Senzalas no Rio de Janeiro, Século XIX, received the prestigious annual award from Brazil’s National Archive, and was published by the Archive in 1996. In his doctoral dissertation, A Hidra e os Pâtanos. Mocambos e Quilombos no Brasil Escravista (São Paulo: Ed. da Unesp/Polis, 2005), he expanded the geographic bounds of his earlier work to now include not only the quilombos of Rio de Janeiro, but those of Maranhão and Bahia, Mato Grosso, Pará, and São Paulo. Throughout the 1990s, his work was supported by grants from the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation, and awards from the Fundação Cultural Brasil-Portugal and the Brazilian National Archives. He has gone on to present his research in six more monographs, and has authored or coauthored more than six dozen articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries.

Well established now as the foremost authority on Brazil’s pre- and postemancipation history, Mr. Gomes will widen his work in this field during his Guggenheim Fellowship term, conducting a study of the emergence of a black peasantry in Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, and Maranhão during the postemancipation period. The distinction between the comunidades rurais negras and the quilombos has become an important one since 1988, when the new Brazilian Constitution granted communities sprung from quilombos legal right to the land they occupy.