Isabela Fraga

Lecturer of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Mellon Fellow at Stanford Humanities Center
2022: Ph.D., Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago
Isabela Fraga holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago (2022), with a specialization in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies. Her research and teaching focus on literatures and cultures of slavery of Latin America and the Caribbean, with a specific anchoring in critical race studies, affect theory, and the medical humanities. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Mellon Fellow at Stanford Humanities Center.

Isabela's first book project, Subjected to Feeling: Slavery and Personhood in Nineteenth-Century Brazil and Cuba, traces a century-long genealogy of writings concerned with the affective lives of enslaved and free people of African descent in the two most lucrative coffee- and sugar-producing regions of the nineteenth-century Atlantic world. Grounded in close readings of printed and archival sources from Cuba, Brazil, Spain, and Portugal, Subjected to Feeling shows not only how colonial and imperial authorities were deeply invested in imagining the inner lives of those they enslaved, but also how Africans and people of African descent responded to such an investment.

Isabela is also a member of the Working Group on Slavery and Visual Culture, an interdisciplinary and cross-university forum that explores images of slavery and the slave trade as well as the creation and use of images and objects by enslaved peoples and slaveholders. In particular, she is interested in the connections between photography, psychiatry, anthropology, and Afro-Atlantic religions in the decades immediately after abolition in Latin America and the Hispanic Caribbean.



Research Unit Groups

Research Interests

  • Latin Languages, Literatures, and Cultures