Courtney Campbell


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Brazilian History
Latin American History
U.S.-Latin American Relations
Race and Gender in the Americas


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I was born and raised in southeast Michigan (USA). After completing graduate studies, I joined the Peace Corps as an agroforestry extension volunteer, which took me to Paraguay (2001-2003). In Paraguay, I lived and worked in a dairy community in the Chaco.  From Paraguay, I moved to Recife in Brazil (2003-2008), where I taught English and began postgraduate training. I returned to the United States to earn my doctorate in Nashville, Tennessee (2008-2014). I carried out thesis research in nine Brazilian states with funding from the Institute for International Education in 2012. Before joining the University of Birmingham, I held two postdoctoral positions: the first a Past and Present Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014-2015) housed at the Institute of Historical Research in London, and the second an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2016, through Vanderbilt’s Mellon Partners Programme) at Tougaloo College, a historically black college (HBCU) in Jackson, Mississippi. I joined the University of Birmingham in Autumn 2016.

Research interests

I research the ways in which people debated their place within their region, nation, and the world when confronted with intense international change. In my book Region out of Place: The Brazilian Northeast and the World (1924-1968), published with the Latin America Series of University of Pittsburgh Press earlier this year, I analyze how Brazilians discussed the meaning of belonging to the northeastern region in the early- to mid-twentieth century. My book has led to interviews or publications with BBC Brasil, The New Books Network, The Conversation, and History Today (November 2022).

I am currently working on two books. The first, provisionally titled Rebellious Women and the Brazilian Nation, focuses on representations of Brazil’s iconic historical women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The second, provisionally titled Olga and Carlos: A Global History of Love and Anti-Fascism in the Twentieth Century focuses on Olga Benário Prestes, a Jewish, German, communist youth activist who went into exile in the USSR, worked with and received training from Comintern, was arrested in France and England, served as bodyguard to the Brazilian communist party leader Luís Carlos Prestes (with whom she later had a child), helped to orchestrate a communist uprising in Brazil, was deported to Germany, gave birth in a women’s prison, and, ultimately, was murdered in a Nazi extermination camp.

I have also co-edited a volume titled Empty Spaces: Confronting Emptiness in National, Cultural, and Urban History, with Allegra Giovine and Jennifer Keating. This publication also led to a New Books Network interview.  I have published articles in Past & Present, Slavery & Abolition, and the Luso-Brazilian Review. With Glen Goodman, I am currently working on Brazilian Regionalism in a Global Context, based on a series of conferences we held in 2018 and 2019.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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