Erin McCullugh

Erin McCullugh, CSRPC Residential Fellow; PhD candidate in History

Erin McCullugh is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department at the University of Chicago focusing on slavery and gender in Latin America and the Atlantic World. She earned her B.A. in History at Eastern Oregon University and a M.A. in History at Portland State University. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of slavery, gender, and sexuality in nineteenth-century Brazil. 


Erin’s dissertation, “The Libidinous Commerce: Race, Sexuality, and Slavery in Rio de Janeiro, 1850-1888,” studies how race, gender, and sexuality shaped the experiences of enslaved women in nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Through a granular analysis of judicial cases, legal correspondence, and slave sale ads, Erin’s research interrogates the intersection of the sexual economy with the practice of slavery in Rio de Janeiro. Her dissertation illustrates the historical construction of gendered systems of power and control to cast light on forms of racialized and gendered oppression that continue to persist today.


Erin’s dissertation is the culmination of a long exploration of the lives of African and Afro-descended women in the Americas. These themes are also reflected in her teaching interests that include the history of Brazil; Latin American history; slavery and emancipation in the Americas; the transatlantic slave trade; the Atlantic World; and the history of gender and sexuality in the Americas. Erin’s 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.