Dr Courtney J. Campbell

Dr Courtney J. Campbell

Department of History
Associate Professor in Latin American History

Contact details

Arts Building, Room 304

My current research interests are Latin America and the world, global microhistory, regional identity, race and representation, gender and representation, transnational consumer culture, popular culture movements, movement and migration, language-based movements, and spatial understandings of regional culture.


  • PhD in History, Vanderbilt University (Nashville, USA)
  • MA in History, Vanderbilt University (Nashville, USA)
  • ME in Theory and History of Education, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Recife, Brazil)
  • BA in Spanish, University of Michigan-Flint (Flint, USA)
  • BA in French, University of Michigan-Flint (Flint, USA)


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.



  • The History of Africa and its Diaspora (1st year)
  • History in Public
  • History in Theory and Practice
  • Practicing History A: From Mulato Football to the Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat: Race, Gender, and Representing the Brazilian Nation (1930-1954) (1st year)
  • Practicing History B: Bandidos! Socializing the Latin American Bandit (1st year)
  • Latin American History through Film (3rd year)
  • Rebellious Women and the Latin American Nation (2nd year)
  • Revolution, Nation, and the Global South (2nd year)
  • Global History of Gender and Sexuality (2nd year)
  • Atlantic Slavery: West Africa and the Caribbean (2nd and 3rd year)
  • Special Subject: Women and Social Movements in Brazil (3rd year)


  • Making of the World: Themes in Global History
  • Global Histories: Comparisons and Connections
  • Historical Methods
  • Dissertation Preparation
  • Sexuality, Gender, and Representation

Postgraduate supervision

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

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


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.

Other activities

I am Brazil Lead and Widening Participation Co-Lead for the College of Arts and Law.

With funding from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, I have directed two projects dedicated to digitising endangered historical documents in the state of Paraíba:

  • Digitising endangered seventeenth to nineteenth century secular and ecclesiastical sources in São João do Carirí e João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil
  • Creating a digital archive of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century criminal and notarial records in Mamanguape, São João do Cariri, and João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil


Recent publications


Campbell, C 2022, Region Out of Place: The Brazilian Northeast and the World (1924-1968). Latin American Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh. <https://upittpress.org/books/9780822946212/>


Campbell, C 2019, 'The Northeast plays Football too: World Cup and regional identity in the Brazilian Northeast', Estudos Históricos, vol. 32, no. 68. https://doi.org/10.1590/s2178-149420190003000009

Campbell, C 2017, 'Four fishermen, Orson Welles, and the making of the Brazilian northeast', Past & Present, vol. 234, no. 1, pp. 173-212. https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtw052

Campbell, C 2016, 'Space, Place, and Scale: Human Geography and Spatial History in Past and Present', Past & Present. https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtw006

Campbell, C 2015, 'Making Abolition Brazilian: British Law and Brazilian Abolitionists in Nineteenth-Century Minas Gerais and Pernambuco', Slavery and Abolition, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 521-543. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144039X.2015.1067976

Campbell, C 2014, 'From Mimicry to Authenticity: The Instituto Superior de Estudos Brasilieiros on the Possibility of Brazilian Culture (1954–1960)', Luso-Brazilian Review, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 157-181. https://doi.org/10.1353/lbr.2014.0011

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Campbell, C, Landers, J, Gómez, P & Polo Acuña, J 2015, Researching the history of slavery in Colombia and Brazil through ecclesiastical and notarial archives. in M Kominko (ed.), From Dust to Digital: Ten Years of the Endangered Archives Programme. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, pp. 259-292. https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0052


Campbell, C, Giovine, A & Keating, J 2019, Introduction: Confronting emptiness in history. in CJ Campbell, A Giovine & J Keating (eds), Empty Spaces: Perspectives on Emptiness in Modern History. School of Advanced Studies, University of London Press, London.

Campbell, C 2019, Resistam! Ou como o Nordeste virou cangaceiro. in F Pereira & S Sobreira de Matos (eds), Desafios e particularidades da produção antropológica no Norte e Nordeste do Brasil. Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife.

Campbell, C 2010, 'Tinha apenas em vista chamar a atenção': Joaquim Nabuco, os abolicionistas britânicos e o caso de Morro Velho. in S Albuquerque (ed.), Conferências sobre Joaquim Nabuco: Joaquim Nabuco em Wisconsin. Bem-Te-Vi, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 381.

View all publications in research portal


Brazil, Brazilian history, Brazilian culture, the Brazilian Northeast, subnational regionalism, the United States in Brazil, Latin America, Latin American History, beauty and history, beauty in Brazil, beauty and race, race and racism in Brazil, history of slavery, history of abolition, digitization of historical documents, issues relevant to US citizens (in the UK).