Alida C. Metcalf

Harris Masterson, Jr. Professor of History

Chair of the History Department

Email: Phone: x 4948  Office: 325 Humanities


  • Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin, 1983
  • B.A. Smith College, 1976

Areas of Interest

  • Brazilian history
  • Colonial Latin America
  • Luso-Atlantic World
  • Historical Cartography

Research and Teaching

Alida Metcalf teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Latin American history. Her undergraduate courses include Latin American Cultural Traditions, Brazil: Continuities and Changes, Latin American Perspectives, and Rio de Janeiro: A Social and Architectural History (with Farès el-Dahdah). At the graduate level, she regularly offers seminars in the history of the Luso-Atlantic World, Brazil, and Colonial Latin America. She is accepting Ph.D. students in Latin American History, especially those interested in Brazil. Metcalf directs the Dual Degree program between the history departments of Rice and UNICAMP, a program that she designed with Professor Silvia Hunold Lara of UNICAMP. Metcalf’s current research interests are two fold: historical cartography and Rio de Janeiro. She is finishing a book on go-betweens and cartographers in the sixteenth-century Atlantic world, and she is co-directing, with Fares el-Dahdah and Verena Andreatta, a digital humanities project on the social and architectural history of Rio de Janeiro.


Selected Publications

  • The Return of Hans Staden: A Go-between in the Atlantic World, with Eve M. Duffy. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012
  • Go-Betweens and the Colonization of Brazil, 1500-1600. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2006
  • Family and Frontier in Colonial Brazil: Santana de Parnaíba, 1580-1822. Second Edition. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2005. [First Edition:  Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London:  University of California Press, 1992.]
 Family and Frontier in Colonial Brazil (1992; 2005) Go-Betweens and the Colonization of Brazil (2006) The Return of Hans Staden (2012)

Curriculum Vitae

Current  CV