From Conquests to Colonies: Authority, Knowledge, and Difference in the Luso-Brazilian Empire, ca. 1700-1800


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines transformations in understandings of authority, society, and culture in the eighteenth-century Portuguese empire in America, focusing on elite debates about the status of non-European peoples during a period of crisis and reform. Based on print culture, imperial correspondence, and records of local responses to imperial policy, this research will assess changing understandings of governance and the governed as royal officials redefined “conquests” and commercial outposts as “colonies” inhabited by vassals who had privileges and duties; by people who were enslaved and free; and by communities of human beings that encompassed physical, religious, and cultural differences, all of whom had to be brought into the fold of royal authority, “society,” and the imperial economy.