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Biography

David Treece received his BA in Hispanic Studies (1982) and his PhD in Brazilian literature (1987) from the University of Liverpool. Between 1984 and 1987 he worked for the human rights NGO Survival International, campaigning in defence of Brazil’s indigenous communities. After a year lecturing at the University of Glasgow, in 1987 he joined the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at King’s, serving as its Head of Department from 2002 to 2005. He was appointed Professor of Brazilian Studies in 2004 and Camoens Professor of Portuguese in 2005.

In 1996 he created the Centre for the Study of Brazilian Culture and Society, now incorporated into the King’s Brazil Institute. He is a former co-editor of Portuguese Studies and the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. In 2000 he was awarded the Order of Rio Branco by the Brazilian Government for services to Brazil-UK relations.

In 2018 he was awarded a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for research on “Music and anti-racism in contemporary Brazil”.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Brazilian Culture and Literature
  • Brazilian popular music
  • Afro-Brazilian culture and politics; anti-racism in Brazil
  • Translation from Portuguese, including song translation

David Treece’s first research addressed how Brazil’s indigenous, Amerindian communities have been represented in the country’s literature, in its social policies and in the history of nationalist thought. This was the subject of his monograph “Exiles, Allies, Rebels: Brazil’s Indianist Movement, Indigenist Politics and the Imperial Nation-State” (Greenwood Press, 2000), which was published in Portuguese by Nankin and the University of São Paulo Press (EDUSP) in 2008. From the early 1990s Treece worked on twentieth-century Brazilian poetry and fiction, co-authoring “The Gathering of Voices: the twentieth-century poetry of Latin America” (Verso, 1992) with Mike Gonzalez, and translating the fiction of João Gilberto Noll, Caio Fernando Abreu and João Guimarães Rosa.

Since 2000 Treece’s research activities have concentrated on Brazilian popular music, especially from bossa nova onwards, and the culture and politics of race and Afro-Brazilian identity. From 2003 to 2007 he directed a collaborative AHRC-funded project which produced the volume “Cultures of the Lusophone Black Atlantic” (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2007), co-edited by Nancy Naro, Roger Sansi-Roca, and David Treece. In 2013 he published “Brazilian Jive: From Samba to Bossa and Rap” (Reaktion), which brought together those interests in popular music and race. Besides pursuing practice-based research on Brazilian song translation, Treece is currently developing work on “Music and anti-racism in contemporary Brazil” with the support of a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship.

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Teaching

Treece teaches across all areas of Brazilian culture, literature and cultural history, including specialisms in twentieth-century music and poetry, nineteenth-century and contemporary fiction, and the culture and politics of Afro-Brazilian identity and race. 

Expertise and Public Engagement

Areas of expertise: Brazilian culture, literature, popular music and Afro-Brazilian culture and politics.

Collaborator with singer-songwriter Mônica Vasconcelos on the project ‘The São Paulo Tapes: Brazilian Resistance Songs’.

Co-organiser of Minas – Heart of Brazil festivals at King’s College London.

Member of the following Editorial/Advisory Boards: Bulletin of Latin American Research, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Música Popular em Revista, Revista de Estudios Brasileños, História e Cultura.

Advisory Council member, Programa Avançado de Cultura Contemporânea, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Overseas member of Exodus: Núcleo de Estudos sobre Produções Culturais Extemporâneas e Excêntricas na Era dos Extremos: Brasil, América Latina e outras regiões, Universidade Estadual de Campinas.

Council of Management member, Latin America Bureau.

Selected publications

  • Music scenes, spaces and migrations in the Lusophone world (ed.) (Anthem Press, forthcoming)
  • Brazilian Jive: From Samba to Bossa and Rap (London: Reaktion Books, 2013)
  • Ligia Chiappini, Marcel Vejmelka, David Treece (eds.), Studies in the Literary Achievement of João Guimarães Rosa, the Foremost Brazilian Writer of the Twentieth Century (Edwin Mellen, 2012)
  • Exiles, Allies, Rebels: Brazil’s Indianist Movement, Indigenist Politics and the Imperial Nation-State (Greenwood Press, 2000)
  • The Gathering of Voices: the twentieth-century Poetry of Latin America, co-authored with Mike Gonzalez (Verso, 1992)