Melissa Teixeira

Melissa Teixeira

Assistant Professor of History


College Hall 206 F

Melissa Teixeira is a historian of modern Brazil, with interest in legal history and the history of economic life. Her current book project South Atlantic Economic Lives: Remaking Capitalism and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Brazil explores Brazil’s response to the political, economic, and social crises of capitalism following the Great Depression. It highlights the pivotal but understudied interwar experiment with corporatism, a model that promised a “third path” between capitalism and communism. The book argues that corporatism transformed the Brazilian state into an agent of economic development, and explains why it matters that this transformation was engineered under an authoritarian regime. The book adopts a novel approach to the history of economic life by incorporating wide-ranging legal, economic, and cultural sources to document the process of state-building from the perspective of government ministries and grocery markets alike. It further innovates with its comparative and transnational approach to state-led efforts to reorganize the national economy by drawing upon connections to the New Deal in the United States, Italian Fascism, and the Portuguese Estado Novo.  

Her research interests include the history of Brazil, Latin America, and the wider Lusophone world, economic history and the history of economic ideas, constitutionalism and legal history, the history of the social sciences, global history, and the methodological questions that arise with writing comparative and transnational history.

Teixeira received her Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. She also holds an M.Phil. in Economic and Social History from the University of Cambridge and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in History and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her arrival at Penn, Teixeira was a postdoctoral Prize Fellow in Economics, History, and Politics at Harvard University.

Office Hours
Tuesdays 1:30 to 3:30pm; by appt.

Ph.D. Princeton University 

M.Phil. University of Cambridge

B.A. University of Pennsylvania

Selected Publications

“Making a Brazilian New Deal: Oliveira Vianna and the Transnational Sources of Brazil’s Corporatist Experiment,” Journal of Latin American Studies (2018): 1-29.