- Brazilian history
- Colonial Latin America
- Luso-Atlantic World
- Historical Cartography
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, that allows highly talented graduate students to earn two Ph.Ds, one from Rice and one from UNICAMP. Metcalf’s current research interests are two fold: historical cartography and water in Rio de Janeiro. With Fares el-Dahdah she co-directs imagineRio, a digital humanities project on the social and architectural history of Rio de Janeiro.
Undergraduate and graduate students can participate in the exciting diachronic digital atlas imagineRio and learn historical Geographical Information Systems (ArcGIS), image porcessing and management (Photoshop, SharedShelf, ArtStor), digital character recognition (OCR), and database management (Excel). Metcalf welcomes inquiries from undergraduates interested in independent research projects for a summer- or semester-long project, or for a year-long History honors thesis, Mellon Mays, or Rice Undergraduate Scholars Program (RUSP) thesis. She welcomes graduate students as Research Assistants or as Program Managers for the imagineRio project.
- “Water and Social Space: Using georeferenced maps and geocoded images to enrich the history of Rio de Janeiro’s fountains,” e-Perimetron, 9:3 (2014): 123-145.
Awarded the Best Article Published in Brazilian Studies in 2014, Brazil Section, Latin American Studies Association (LASA), 2015.
- "’Harvesting Souls’: The Society of Jesus and the first Aldeias (Mission Villages) of Bahia," in Native Brazil: Beyond the Convert and the Cannibal, 1500-1900, 29-61. Ed. Hal Langfur. Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 2014.
- 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, 2005.
Awarded the Roberto Reis Prize for the Best Book in Brazilian Studies in 2005, Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA), 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. Awarded Honorable Mention for the Bolton Prize for the Best Book in Latin American History in 1992, The Conference on Latin American History (CLAH), 1994.