Introduction

Jerry Dávila, James N. Green, Jeffrey Lesser

Abstract


This issue of EIAL honors Thomas E. Skidmore, professor emeritus of Brown University and eminent historian of Brazil. It features articles written by Professor Skidmore's former students and other scholars who have been inspired by his wide-ranging contributions to a deeper understanding of contemporary Brazilian history and culture. In 1960 Skidmore received his doctorate from Harvard University with a major in modern European history specializing in German and British history. At precisely that moment, the unfolding revolution in Cuba became a pressing concern for Washington policy makers and leading institutions of higher education in the United States. Both recognized that they did not have sufficient specialists trained in Latin American history, politics, culture, and society. Responding to this need Harvard University offered the young historian a three-year post-doctoral fellowship to travel to a Latin American country and develop an understanding of its history and culture. He was also offered the option to return to Harvard to either teach his newly acquired knowledge or to continue work on European history. Skidmore chose Brazil and devoted the next forty years to studying the country. The breadth of his interests took him from a study of Brazilian political history from 1930 to the 1964 military coup d'état, to an examination of race, and later to a history of the military regime that ruled the country for twenty-one years.

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