Alida Metcalf

WEBSITE(S)| ImagineRio | Mapping an Atlantic World | Personal Webpage

Alida C. Metcalf is a historian of Brazil and the Atlantic World with interests ranging from the history of Rio de Janeiro, to family life and the roles of intermediaries in colonial Brazil, to the mapping of the Atlantic World. She is the author of four books, the most recent is Mapping an Atlantic World, circa 1500, which reconstructs how the Atlantic was first mapped as a space for trade, colonization, and evangelism. Earlier books are Go-betweens and the Colonization of Brazil available in Portuguese as Os papeis dos intermediaries na colonização do Brasil, (Editora da Unicamp, 2019); The Return of Hans Staden: A Go-between in the Atlantic World, co-authored with Eve M. Duffy, and Family and Frontier in Colonial Brazil: Santana de Parnaíba, forthcoming in Portuguese as Familia e fronteira no brasil colonial: Santana de Parnaíba with Editora da Unesp. With Farès el-Dahdah she developed the digital humanities project imagineRio, which maps and illustrates the social and urban evolution of Rio de Janeiro from 1500 to the present. Her current research focuses on the history of water in Rio de Janeiro.

At Rice Dr. Metcalf teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of Brazil, the Atlantic World,  mapmaking, and the history of water in cities. She is the director of the Dual Degree PhD program between the history departments at Rice and the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil.

Research Areas

Rio de Janeiro; Colonial Brazil; Atlantic World


PhD, University of Texas at Austin

BA, Smith College


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