Dr. Martha Santos

Dr. Martha Santos

Title: Associate Professor
Dept/Program: History
Email: santos@uakron.edu
Website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDKu-rFTDCdsyTffFIkQJfg
Curriculum Vitae: Download in PDF format


Martha S. Santos is a specialist in Latin American history, and her research interests include gender, cultures of violence, state formation, African Diaspora, slavery and emancipation, and racial formations in post-colonial Brazil, particularly during the Imperial period. She is author of Cleansing Honor with Blood: Masculinity, Violence, and Power in the Backlands of Northeast Brazil, 1845-1889 (Stanford University Press, 2012) and several articles focusing on enslaved motherhood and childhood and on the questions of labor and the reproduction of slavery in the hinterlands of Ceará during the nineteenth century. Professor Santos has been invited professor at the Institut des hautes études de l'Amérique latine, IHEAL, at the Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle in Paris (Fall 2021). She held the Santander Fellowship from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University (2013-14) and her research has also been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

While Brazilian history is an important focus of her research, Professor Santos is also a salsa dancer, with several years of experience performing traditional West African dances as well. In recent years, she has incorporated her dance and history backgrounds in the development of courses that include both historical analysis and dance practice as approaches to study the histories, migrations, and movement of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and dances in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and New York City. In 2020, she was recipient of the “Spirit of Experiential Learning Award” from the University of Akron’s EXL Center, for the creation of the interdisciplinary and experiential learning unclass “Salsa: History in Motion”. Professor Santos is currently working on a multi-media pedagogical research project that reflects on the usefulness of integrating dance movement and embodied methods of teaching and learning in the history college classroom. A recent documentary of her “Salsa: History in Motion” class is available here.

In addition to teaching the histories of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and dances, Professor Santos enjoys teaching courses on the histories of women, gender and sexuality in Latin America, colonial and modern Latin America, the histories of slavery and race relations in Brazil, and Humanities in the World since 1300.


Ph.D. - University of Arizona