Bruno Carvalho

Bruno Carvalho

Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Bruno Carvalho Photo

Bruno Carvalho works on cities as lived and imagined spaces. He studies relationships between cultural practices and urban development, specializing on Brazil from the eighteenth century onward. Situating Brazilian literatures, cultures and built environments within transatlantic and hemispheric contexts is a central concern in his scholarship. Often, he investigates how socio-cultural processes of the past converge in and with the present. His research and teaching interests range from the interplay between urban diversity and segregation to the environmental dimensions of urbanization. Carvalho’s interdisciplinary approaches bridge literary analysis, cultural history, and urban studies. He has published widely on topics including poetry, cinema, music, architecture, urban planning, environmental justice, proto-fascist politics, and racism. 

A Rio de Janeiro native, Carvalho received a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University (2009) and a BA from Dartmouth College (2004). He taught at Princeton University from 2009 to 2018. His Porous City: A Cultural History of Rio de Janeiro (2013), on the spatial and cultural evolution of Brazil’s former capital, won the Roberto Reis Book Award from the Brazilian Studies Association (2014), which recognizes the best books in Brazilian Studies in all disciplines. An expanded edition is forthcoming in Brazil. Carvalho is co-editor of O Livro de Tiradentes: Transmissão atlântica de ideias políticas no século XVIII (Atlantic Transmission of Political Ideas in the 18th Century, 2013), a critical edition of a 1778 French compendium of some of the earliest versions of United States constitutional documents; Occupy All Streets: Olympic Urbanism and Contested Futures in Rio de Janeiro (2016),  Essays on Hilda Hilst: Between Brazil and World Literature (2018), and The Eighteenth Century: Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies. He is also co-editor of the book series Lateral Exchanges. With focus on historical and contemporary issues in design and the built environment, the series intends to play a leading role in scholarly debates on how circulation and exchanges can erode, produce or maintain global assymmetries.

Carvalho believes that scholars should attempt to engage a wider public. In Rio, he worked on a a curatorial plan for a museum of the history and culture of the city, and has remained active in various aspects of Brazil’s cultural and intellectual life. In the United States, Carvalho has participated in an initiative on how anchor arts institutions can help to mitigate some of the consequences of segregation. At Princeton, his leadership roles across various departments and programs included acting as a co-director of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities, and chairing a public spaces committee aiming to create more diverse and inclusive settings on campus. Currrently, he is working on Partial Enlightenments: Race, Cities, and Nature in the Luso-Brazilian Eighteenth Century, and Imagined Futures: Urban Visions Revisited. Looking back at how different designers, writers and artists imagined urban futures, this book asks: how did unrealized urban projects impact the imagination and development of cities? How might the imagined futures of the past help to expand the terms of current debates about cities and the environment?