Rosanna Dent

Doctoral Candidate
Entered 2010
M.A. History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
A.B. Biology, Brown University
Contact Information
Office Address: 
369 Cohen Hall
Email Address:
Teaching Fields: 

Modern Latin American History; Global History of Science and Medicine; Race and Science in the Americas

Research Interests: 

I am an historian of science and medicine in modern Latin America. My dissertation, tentatively titled Studying Indigenous Brazil: The Xavante and the Human Sciences, 1958-2015, examines how Indigenous people and scientists from disparate human-centered fields, including genetics, anthropology, and public health, have engaged one another since the 1950s in Brazil. Through a case study of the Xavante of Mato Grosso, it traces the evolution of transnational intellectual approaches to characterizing human biological and cultural diversity. It shows how Indigenous people have engaged in scientific knowledge making for their own social, economic, and political ends, and have, in the process, shaped the scholars and disciplines that sought to characterize them. Illuminating the practical, intellectual, and ethical challenges for both the subjects and the scientists, this dissertation contributes to the ongoing discussion of the limitations and possibilities of Indigenous subjects’ interests in finding adequate representation through contemporary research frameworks.

After four years teaching and working in Quito, Ecuador, I joined HSSC in 2010. My broader interests include Indigenous studies, critical race and gender theory, and all things Brazilian. I completed exams in the fields of Modern Latin America, Anthropology of Biomedicine, and History of the Life Sciences and History of Medicine. My preferred writing soundtrack is samba.