Richard Graham Awarded Brazilian Studies Association Lifetime Contribution Award


Richard Graham, the F.H. Nalle Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Brazilian Studies Association’s Lifetime Contribution Award, BRASA announced on March 9, 2012.

BRASA’s Lifetime Achievement Award (LCA) recognizes Professor Graham as a leader in the field of Brazilian studies with both a record of outstanding scholarly achievement and significant contributions to the promotion of Brazilian studies in the United States. BRASA especially wishes to emphasize Professor Graham’s lifetime contributions to our field.

Richard Graham was recognized in an awards ceremony at BRASA’s 11th International Congress at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, September 8, 2012 at 7 p.m. BRASA presented Professor Graham with a plaque expressing the organization’s deep appreciation for his lifelong commitment to Brazilian studies and Professor Graham addressed the congress. A group of prominent Brazilianists, former students of Professor Graham, introduced him at the ceremony and commented on his many achievements discussing the enormous influence his work has had on the field of Brazilian history. Professor Graham’s stellar career merits such an honor for his scholarship, teaching, publishing, mentoring, and institutional development. Professor Graham is recognized internationally for his contributions to deepening our understanding of Brazilian history. He has acted as a scholarly ambassador between Brazil and the United States, fostering the exchange of ideas, skills, scholarship, and cultural understanding and has inspired countless students and colleagues to pursue the study of Brazil.

Professor Graham’s first book, Britain and the Onset of Modernization in Brazil, 1850-1914 (1968), is a landmark study of British influence in Brazil. It won the prestigious Bolton Prize from the Conference on Latin American History in 1969. A rare honor for a North American, in 1971 Professor Graham was one of the first North Americans to be asked to publish a chapter in Brazil’s preeminent multi-volume historical opus, the História Geral da Civilização Brasileira, edited by Sérgio Buarque de Holanda. In 1978, he published The Jesuit Antonio Vieira and his Plans for the Economic Rehabilitation of Seventeenth-Century Portugal, an important contribution to colonial Brazilian and Portuguese imperial history. The following year, Escravidão, reforma e imperialismo (1979) brought together some of his article-length work on Brazilian slavery and profoundly shaped the emerging Brazilian scholarship on the country’s slave society. His pioneering work on slave families appeared in Portuguese in this volume, and laid out an agenda for future research on slave families in Brazil. Professor Graham’s 1990 Patronage and Politics in Nineteenth- Century Brazil quickly became a canonical work on Brazilian state formation in the nineteenth century. Perhaps his greatest contribution to Latin American history more broadly is the invaluable, The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870-1940 (1990); it remains in wide use as an introduction to the field. Professor Graham has published well over seventy articles and book chapters. Many are considered classics in the field, such as “Slave Families on a Rural Estate in Colonial Brazil,” Journal of Social History 9 (1976) or “Slavery and Economic Development: Brazil and the U.S. South,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 23 (1981). In his retirement, Professor continues to research and write major contributions to Brazilian history. Feeding the City: From Street Market to Liberal Reform in Salvador, Brazil, 1780-1860, a study of the production and marketing of food in Salvador, Bahia, from the end of the eighteenth century through independence and the time of liberal reforms to the mid- nineteenth century was published in 2010. This book won the Bolton-Johnson Prize awarded by the Council on Latin American History in early 2011. Born in 1934 in the interior of Brazil to an American Presbyterian missionary father and a Brazilian mother, Richard Graham studied with Lewis Hanke at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1950s, receiving his doctorate in 1961, upon which he began his long and distinguished teaching career at Cornell University. In 1970, Professor Graham moved to the University of Texas and taught both undergraduates and graduate students there until his retirement in 1999. During that time, he supervised twenty-one PhD dissertations and was instrumental in establishing a graduate program at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, today ranked one of the top three history programs in Brazil. Professor Graham’s enduring legacy lies as much in the students and colleagues he has nurtured, taught, and advised. They have found their work profoundly influenced by him.

BRASA’s Lifetime Achievement Award Committee, consisting of BRASA Vice President Jan Hoffman French and Executive Committee members Bryan McCann, Cristina Ferreira-Pinto Bailey, and Vânia Penha-Lopes, received numerous nominations for this prestigious award. The committee selected Professor Graham for his enduring scholarship, outstanding contribution to the field of Brazilian history, and his advancement of Brazilian studies. The BRASA Executive Committee ratified the nomination.