Yuko Miki

Yuko Miki

Photo credit: Margarita Corporan Photography

Associate Professor of History
Associate Director of Latin American and Latinx Studies (LALSI)
Email: [email protected]
Office: Lincoln Center 415 E
Phone: 646-312-8773 (office) / 212-636-6360 (main)

For more on her research, see: Historian Broadens Narrative of Slavery in the Americas.

  • BA, magna cum laude, Brown University
    MA, New York University
    PhD, New York University

  • Yuko Miki is an award-winning historian of slavery in Brazil and the Iberian Atlantic World. Her book, Frontiers of Citizenship: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 2018; paperback 2019) demonstrates how the intersecting histories of the African diaspora and the indigenous Americas were foundational to the formation of race, citizenship, and nation in nineteenth-century Brazil. Through a critical reading of various archives, it challenges a well-established historical narrative—perpetuated by many scholars—that Indian “disappearance” paved the way for the emergence of African diasporic nations in Latin America, particularly Brazil. To understand the fundamental issues that postcolonial Latin American nations confronted—slavery and abolition, the unequal access to citizenship, and constructions of racialized difference and national identity—she shows that it is essential to foreground the lives of both black and indigenous people. You can listen to her New Books Network interview and read a profile of her work in the Fordham News.

    Frontiers of Citizenship has received awards and honors across multiple fields, including the Wesley-Logan Prize for African Diaspora History from the American Historical Association, the Warren Dean Memorial Prize for Brazilian History from the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH), and Honorable Mentions for the Howard F. Cline Prize for Latin American Ethnohistory (CLAH) and the Best Book Prize from the Latin American Studies Association’s 19 th -Century Section. It was also a finalist for the Outstanding First Book Award of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD). Her article, “Fleeing into Slavery,” an expanded version of which is in the book, received the LASA Brazil Section Best Article Prize and the Coordinating Council for Women in History (CCWH) Nupur Chaudhuri Prize for Best First Article. She has also authored works in English and Portuguese that have appeared in edited volumes and journals including the Americas; Slavery & Abolition; and Social Text.

    Miki is currently working on a new book project, Brazilian Atlantic: Archives and Stories of Illegal Slavery (working title). It is a history of the women, men, and children whose lives became enmeshed in the networks of illegal slavery in the nineteenth-century Atlantic World linking Brazil with the U.S. North, West and West Central Africa, Cuba, Great Britain, and Portugal. The book weaves together past and present, historical characters and archival encounters into a single narrative. Drawing on methods of literary analysis and archival ethnography, the book departs from the quantitative approaches informing many studies of the slave trade. Miki argues that the gaps and contradictions in the historical records are themselves constitutive of the history of illegal slavery. By doing so, this project proposes a new way of writing about the ambiguous histories of slavery and freedom that resists the sweeping narrative of the “Age of Emancipation” and foregrounds the suffering and afterlives of the enslaved.

    Interest in interrogating disciplinary boundaries and knowledge production informs another project in progress, tentatively entitled “To Tame or to Kill.” This work examines a Kongo-based secret society called Pemba in mid-nineteenth-century Brazil to explore the possibilities and limitations of understanding African epistemologies in the archives of slavery.

    Miki’s work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center; and the American Philosophical Society, among others. She received her B.A. (magna cum laude) from Brown University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University. Prior to joining Fordham, she was Assistant Professor of Latin American History at Washington University in St. Louis.

  • Frontiers of Citizenship Book Cover


    Frontiers of Citizenship: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil. New York: Cambridge University Press, Afro-Latin America series, February 2018 (paperback February 2019)

    •  2019 Wesley-Logan Prize for African Diaspora History, American Historical Association
    •  2019 Warren Dean Memorial Prize for Brazilian History, Conference on Latin American History (CLAH)
    • 2019 Honorable Mention, Howard F. Cline Prize for Latin American Ethnohistory, Conference on Latin American History (CLAH)
    • 2019 Honorable Mention for Best Book Prize, Latin American Studies Association 19th Century Section
    • 2019 Outstanding First Book Award Finalist, Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)

    Book in Progress

    Brazilian Atlantic: Archives and Stories of Illegal Slavery (working title)

    Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

    “In the Trail of the Ship: Narrating the Archives of Illegal Slavery.” Social Text 138 (March 2019): 85-105.

    “Slave and Citizen in Black and Red: Reconsidering the Intersection of African and Indigenous Slavery in Postcolonial Brazil.” Slavery & Abolition 35, no. 1 (2014): 1-22.

    “Fleeing into Slavery: The Insurgent Geographies of Brazilian Quilombolas (Maroons),
    1880-1881.” The Americas 68, no. 4 (2012): 495-528.

    •  Winner of the 2013 Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Brazil Section Best Article Prize
    •  Winner of the 2013 Coordinating Council for Women in History (CCWH) Nupur Chaudhuri Prize for Best First Article

    “Diasporic Africans and Postcolonial Brazil: Notes on the Intersection of Diaspora, Transnationalism, and Nation.” História Unisinos 15, no. 1 (2011): 126-130.

    Chapters in Edited Volumes

    “Imaginando fronteiras: uma história negra e indígena do Brasil pós-colonial” (“Imagining Frontiers: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil”) in Chantal Cramaussel et al. eds., Memória, intercuturalidade e cidadania na América indígena. São Paulo: Ed. Humanitas, under contract.
    “Revoltas e conspirações no Espírito Santo nas vésperas da abolição” (“Revolts and Conspiracies in Espírito Santo on the Eve of Abolition”) in João Reis and Flávio Gomes, eds., Liberdade disputada: Revoltas escravas no Brasil. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, in production.
    “Fugir para a escravidão: as geografías insurgentes dos quilombolas de São Mateus, ES, 1880-1881.” Portuguese version of “Fleeing into Slavery,” co-translated by Giovana Xavier and Yuko Miki. In Flávio Gomes and Petrônio Domingues, eds., Políticas da raça: experiências e legados da abolição e da pós-emancipação no Brasil (São Paulo: Editora Selo Negro, 2014).

    Articles in Progress

    “To Tame or to Kill: African Epistemologies and Slavery’s Archives in Nineteenth-Century
    Brazil.” (working title).
    “Acting African: Performance in the Illegal Brazilian Slave Trade.”

  • HIST 1400 Understanding Historical Change: Latin America (Global)
    HIST 3955 Slavery and Freedom in the Atlantic World (EP3 & Lecture (2 formats) / Global)
    HIST 3961 Rebellion and Revolution in Latin America and the Atlantic World (Global)
    HIST 4725 Global Histories and Stories (Senior Seminar / Global)
    HIST 5923 The Atlantic World: Empires, Diasporas, Migrations (Graduate)
    HIST 5102 Archives and Narrative of Global History (Graduate)