Dr. Jan H. French

Associate Professor of Anthropology



French, J.H. Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil's Northeast (UNC Press 2009). Podcast.
Winner of the Latin American Studies Association Brazil Section Book Award (2010)


French, Jan Hoffman. “From Honor to Dignity: Criminal Libel, Press Freedom, and Racist Speech in Brazil,” Vanderbilt E-Journal of Luso-Hispanic Studies, Volume 10 (2015) peer reviewed.

French, Jan Hoffman. “At Play in the Field of Law: Symbolic Capital and Foreign Attorneys in LL.M. Programs,” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Winter 2015) 

“Rethinking Police Violence in Brazil: Unmasking the Public Secret of Race” Latin American Politics and Society, Volume 55, Number 4 (Winter 2013)

“The Power of Definition: Brazil’s Contribution to Universal Concepts of Indigeneity,” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 18 (2011).

French, J.H. (2007) A Tale of Two Priests and Two Struggles: Liberation Theology from Dictatorship to Democracy in Brazilian Northeast. The Americas, v. 63, no. 3, 409-443.

French, J.H. (2006) Buried Alive: Imagining Africa in the Brazilian Northeast. American Ethnologist, v. 33.

French, J.H. (2005) Personal Encounters with the Work of Laura Nader. Law & Society Review, v.39, Issue 4, 957-964.

French, J.H. (2004) Mestizaje and Law Making in Indigenous Identity Formation in Northeastern Brazil: "After the Conflict Came the History." American Anthropologist, v. 106, no. 4, 663-674.

French, J.H. (2003) Os Quilombos e seus Direitos Hoje: Entre a Construcao das Identidades e a Historia. Revista de Historia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, v.149.

French, J.H. (2002) Dancing for Land: Law Making and Cultural Performance in Northeastern Brazil. Politcal and Legal Anthropology Review. v.25.


Cosmopolitan Theory and Anthropological Practice in Brazil,” in Rethinking Intellectuals in Latin America, Eds. Bret Gustafson and Mabel Moraña, (Frankfurt/Madrid: Iberoamericana/Vervuert 2010)

“Ethnoracial Identity in a Neoliberal Age: Government Recognition of Difference in Northeast Brazil, “ in Beyond Neoliberalism in Latin America, Eds. John Burdick, Philip Oxhorn, and Kenneth Roberts (Palgrave MacMillan 2009).

French, J.H. "Ethnoracial Land Restitution: Finding Indians and Fugitive Slave Descendants in the Brazilian Northeast" in Restoring What Was Ours: The Rights And Wrongs Of Land Restitution, eds. Derick Fay and Deborah James (Routledge Press 2008).

French, J.H. "Ethnoracial Identity in a Neoliberal Age: Government Recognition of Difference in Northeast Brazil," in Beyond Neoliberalism in Latin America, eds. John Burdick, Philip Oxhorn and Kenneth Roberts (Palgrave MacMillan 2008).


Ph.D., Duke University

J.D., University of Connecticut

B.A., Temple University

Contact Information

302K Weinstein Hall
(804) 287-6429
(804) 287-1278 (Fax)

Areas of Expertise

Latin America
Legal and Political Anthropology
Human Rights
Anthropological Theory