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Erin McCullugh

Visiting Assistant Professor

Erin McCullugh
Erin McCullugh

Dr. Erin McCullugh is a social historian whose research focuses on slavery, gender, and sexuality in nineteenth-century Brazil and the broader Atlantic World. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled “The Libidinous Commerce: Race, Sexuality, and Slavery in Rio de Janeiro, 1850-1888,” that examines the intersection of gender, intimate labor, and slavery in nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This research examines both the seen and unseen intimate labor performed by enslaved women in Rio de Janeiro to illustrate how the urban environment presented distinct opportunities to commodity and exploit Black female sexuality along a wide spectrum ranging from prostitution to concubinage to wet-nursing. Her project reevaluates our assumptions about the relationship between the economy, work, race, slavery, and sexuality holding far-reaching implications for understanding issues surrounding race, gender, and inequality in the region today.

Her research has been generously supported by the Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, the Foreign Language Acquisition Study Fellowship, and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago.


Ph.D, History, University of Chicago (2021); M.A., History, University of Chicago (2014); M.A., U.S. History, Portland State University (2010); B.A., History, Eastern Oregon University (2004)

Classes Taught

Race and Gender in the Atlantic World
American Beginnings
Freedom and Oppression in the Atlantic World
Introduction to Digital Humanities

Areas of Expertise

History of Brazil
Latin America
The Black Atlantic World
Slavery and Freedom in the Atlantic World
History of Gender and Sexuality