Isadora Moura Mota will join the faculty in the fall as an assistant professor of Brazilian history and the Atlantic world. Her scholarship focuses on modern Brazilian history, comparative slavery, abolitionism, literacy, and the African diaspora to Latin America.
Mota’s first book, An Afro-Brazilian Atlantic: Slavery and Anglo-American Abolitionism in the Age of Emancipation, explores the role of Afro-Brazilians in shaping the history of abolition in the Atlantic world. The study traces the development of a geopolitical imagination among people of African descent within a transnational context. Focusing on the everyday politics of knowledge production among Brazilian slaves, freedpeoples, and maroons, Mota examines the escalation of Afro-Brazilian activism in connection to British efforts to suppress the slave trade, the presence of U.S. and Confederate vessels in Brazilian waters, and the circulation of news about U.S. emancipation within the Brazilian empire. Ultimately, she argues that Afro-Brazilians also shaped broader political discourses on the meanings of race, citizenship, and human rights, therefore positing Brazil as an important force in the Age of Emancipation. The book is under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Mota received her Ph.D. from Brown University in 2017. Before joining the Princeton faculty, she was an assistant professor of History at the University of Miami.