Shari Wejsa

Shari Wesja


BA in History and Spanish Literature and Culture, Rutgers University, 2009
EdM in Social Studies Education, Rutgers University GSE, 2010
MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Columbia University, 2013

Research Interests

Human Rights and Social Justice
History of the Lusophone World
Race and Ethnicity
Cultural Identity

Dissertation Title

African Migrant Experiences and Diasporic Identity in Modern Brazil

Faculty Advisors

Jeffrey Lesser
Thomas D. Rogers
Yanna Yannakakis


As a PhD student in Latin American history, I investigate the experiences of immigrants and refugees from primarily Portuguese-speaking countries in Brazil in the postcolonial period. I examine how migratory experiences have shaped the identities of these newcomers as they adapted to Brazil while remaining connected to their countries of origin. I also explore the implications discourses on human rights and social justice as well as evolving immigration policies have had for long-term migratory patterns of Africans in Brazil. These interests are an extension of my Fulbright Commission-sponsored work on Brazil's National Truth Commission, which investigated the human rights violations committed primarily during Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship, and the inequities of educational access for Afro-Brazilian girls and women in Bahia. As an educator, I seek to cultivate critical thinking on issues of human rights and social justice while advocating for active engagement as transformative power.