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Dr. Fabio H. Santos

Image Credit: Juan F. Alvarez Moreno

Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut


Sociology - Prof. Costa

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56
Room 222
14197 Berlin

Office hours

Office hours during summer term 2023: Wed., 3-5 pm, office no. 222. Please send an email to arrange a meeting stating your specific concern.

I supervise BA and MA theses in my areas of expertise (see personal profile) and of students who have succesfully completed one of my courses. Only in exceptional cases will I co-supervise students from outside the Institute for Latin American Studies. From all students wishing to work with me, I expect a research draft (1-2 pages) and, in a second step, a more detailed project outline (8-10 pages).

Academic Education

  • Doctorate (Sociology, dissertation: "Bridging Fluid Borders. Entanglements in the French-Brazilian Borderland", summa cum laude), Freie Universität Berlin, 2019
  • M.A. (Sociology - European Societies), Freie Universität Berlin, 2015
  • B.A. (European Ethnology, Cultural History and Theory), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2013

Academic Positions

  • Assistant Professor/Postdoc, Sociology, Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, since 2019
  • Associate Professor (substitute), Department of Global Studies, Aarhus University, 2021-2022
  • Guest Professor for International Development, Institute for International Development, University of Vienna, Spring and Autumn 2020
  • Doctoral student at the International Research Training Group "Between Spaces. Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalization", Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Univerität Berlin, 2016-2019
  • Student Assistant, Chair of Sociology, Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, 2014-2015
  • Student Assistant, Dahlem Research School, Freie Universität Berlin, 2013-2014
  • Student Assistant, Language Center, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2011-2012

Fellowships, Awards, Prizes

  • Funding from the Margherita-von-Brentano-Center for Gender Studies Geschlechterforschung (funding line "Symposia, Workshops and Conferences") to conduct an the artistic-scientific laboratory "Narrating Violence: Artistic Practices and Research from Latin America" (2022, with colleagues from the LAI)
  • Funding of the Erasmus+ Program for teaching a course at Universidade de São Paulo, 2021 (to be realized in 2022)
  • Funding of the School of Culture and Society (Aarhus University) for realizing innovative teaching concepts, 2021
  • Several DAAD-sponsored scholarships for travels abroad (2013, 2019, 2020)
  • Fellowship at the International Research Training Group "Between Spaces. Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalization", Scholarship by the German Research Foundation, 2016-2019
  • Best Paper Award, World Congress of the Association for Borderlands Studies, 2018
  • Research stay at the Laboratoire d’Excellence “Observatoire Hommes-Milieux Oyapock” in Cayenne, Scholarship by CNRS, 2017
  • Research stay, Columbia University, New York City, 2017
  • Research stay, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Centro de Investigación y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social and El Colegio de México, Mexico City, 2017
  • Research stay and language training, Fast Forward Language Institute and Universidade de São Paulo, 2015-2016
  • Research stay and language training, Eurocentres and Bibliothèque nationale de France, La Rochelle and Paris, 2015
  • Scholarship by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, 2014-2015 (MA) and 2015-2016 (PhD preparation)
  • Scholarship by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Deutschlandstipendium), 2013-2014
  • Scholarship for Global and Sustainable Development ASA, Quito, 2013
  • Erasmus scholarship, London Metropolitan University, 2010-2011

Memberships and Professional Functions

  • Member of the DFG-funded Scientific Network "Qualitative Social Research and Transregional Theory-Building in the Context of Global Sociologies", since 2021
  • Member of the Research Priority Area "Uses of the Past", Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University
  • Speaker of the section "Brazil in global context", ADLAF, since 2020
  • Co-editor of the journal Critical Reviews on Latin American Research, 2018-2022
  • Member of the Institute for Brazilian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, since 2016
  • Member of several scientific associations: FG DeKolonial - Fachgesellschaft für rassismuskritische, postkoloniale und dekoloniale Theorie und Praxis, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche Lateinamerikaforschung, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft, International Sociological Association (Member of Research Committees RC05 Racism, Nationalism, Indigeneity and Ethnicity, RC35 Conceptual and Terminological Analysis, RC56 Historical Sociology), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (Member of the Section Development Sociology and Social Anthropology and of the Working Group Historical Sociology), since 2016

Administrative Roles

  • Elected diversity officer, LAI, since 2021
  • Elected member of the Institute Council, LAI, since 2021
  • Member of the Curriculum Planning Committee, Institute for Latin American Studies, since 2019
  • Member of the Committee for safeguarding good study conditions, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, 2014-2015

Reviewing and Societal Dialogue

  • Reviewer for several journals (Space and Culture; Journal for Religion, Society and Politics; Critical Reviews on Latin American Research; Diálogos Latinoamericanos; FORMA Revista d’Humanitats; CeMig Centre for Global Migration Studies Working Paper Series; Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum Qualitative Social Research; Caribbean Conjunctures: The Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) Journal), since 2018
  • Member of the selection committee, German Academic Scholarship Foundation, since 2018
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board, exhibition “Futures of Mobilities”, Futurium Berlin, 2021-22
  • Member of the organization committee, global participatory “Hostile Terrain 94” exhibition (Undocumented Migration Project)

Non-academic Experiences

  • Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, 2013
  • Goethe-Institute, Berlin (2010) and Madrid (2013)
  • NGO SIGVOL, Quito, 2012
  • Médecins sans Frontières, Berlin, 2011
  • NGO Barcelona Voluntària, 2008-2009

Summer term 2023

Sociology of Entanglements: Global and Regional Transformations (FU Berlin, co-teaching with Sérgio Costa)

Migration in the Americas, ethnographically: Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives on Mobilities and Inequalities (FU Berlin, co-teaching with Karlotta Bahnsen)

Winter term 2022/23

Research Workshop Global Sociology/-ies (FU Berlin)

Spring term 2022:

Perspectives on the History of Brazil (Aarhus University)

Europe in the World (Aarhus University, co-teaching with Christina Fiig)

Intercultural Analysis (Aarhus University, co-teaching with Mette Thunø)

Autumn term 2021/22:

Regions in Global History (Aarhus University, co-teaching with several colleagues)

Main Themes in International and Global History (Aarhus University)

Topic in Modern Brazilian History and Culture (Aarhus University)

Preparing for a stay in Brazil (Aarhus University)

Summer term 2021

Sociology and Memory: Global Perspectives (FU Berlin)

Migration in the Americas - Historical and Current Developments (FU Berlin, co-teaching with Karlotta Bahnsen). The research conducted by the students has been published on our blog.

Winter term 2020/21

Decolonizing the City: Researching Entangled Urban Histories (Part I) (FU Berlin)

Decolonizing the City: Researching Entangled Urban Histories (Part II) (FU Berlin)

Remembering and Forgetting in Urban Space: Introduction to Decolonial Urban Studies (Universität Wien)

Summer term 2020

Critical and Feminist Geographies (University of Vienna)

Brazil and the three Guianas: Historical and Contemporary Entanglements (FU Berlin)

Winter term 2019/20

Borders and Belongings (FU Berlin)

Wissenschaftspraxis I (FU Berlin)

Summer term 2019

Inequalities in Brazil from an ethnographic perspective (FU Berlin)

Research Interests

  • Cultural sociology and historical sociology
  • Global (history of) sociology
  • Inequality, intersectionality
  • Migration, belonging, space, borders
  • Methods: ethnography and archival methods
  • Regional focus: Latin America and the Caribbean (especially Brazil, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Guianas), multiple Europes (especially Portugal, Spain, France and Guyane), Atlantic space, World

Current project

My current research develops a globally and historically oriented cultural sociology. Besides my work on counterhegemonic disciplinary histories, I am currently involved in a larger project examining multidirectional memories of entangled mobilities in the context of violence and inequality in the Caribbean. An instance of connected histories and sociologies, the project zooms in on Puerto Rico as the empirical crossroads of unequal mobilities interwoven through ethnographic and archival methods: the subaltern histories and experiences retrieved include fugitive practices of resistance such as maritine marronage in the seventeenth century and current forced mobilities.

Other projects

Video-memoria of the international workshop "Narrating Violence. Artistic Practices and Research from Latin America and Beyond"

Concluded doctoral project

"Bridging Fluid Borders. Entanglements in the French-Brazilian Borderland", published with Routledge.

Funding: German Research Foundation (German-Mexican Graduate School "Between Spaces: Actors, Movements and Representations of Globalisation", 2016-2019)

Cooperation beyond academia

Futures of Mobility (Futurium - Haus der Zukünfte)

Undocumented Migration Project (UCLA/"Hostile Terrain 94")


SANTOS, FABIO. 2022. Bridging Fluid Borders. Entanglements in the French-Brazilian Borderland. London: Routledge. (Book Series Entangled Inequalities: Exploring Global Asymmetries).

Peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters

Boatcă, Manuela/SANTOS, FABIO. 2023. Of Rags and Riches in the Caribbean: Creolizing Migration Studies. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies.

SANTOS, FABIO/Boatcă, Manuela. 2022. Europeanization as Global Entanglement. In Sociology of Europeanization, edited by Sebastian Büttner, Monika Eigmüller and Susann Worschech. Berlin: de Gruyter.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2021. Unidos pelo rio, separados pela ponte: a fronteira franco-brasileira como uma via de mão única, Confins – Revue franco-brésilienne de géographie / Revista franco-brasileira de geografia, no. 51.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2021. The Oyapock River Bridge as a one-way street: (Un)bridgeable inequalities in Saint-Georges (French Guiana) and Oiapoque (Brazil). In Twin Cities across Five Continents: Interactions and Tensions on Urban Borders, edited by Ekaterina Mikhailova and John Garrard. London: Routledge, 223–234.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2021. Migration und Gewalt an den vergessenen Rändern der Europäischen Union. In Begrenzungen, Überschreitungen – Limiter, franchir. Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf Grenzen und Körper – Approches interdisciplinaires sur les frontières et les corps, edited by Sarah Ehlers, Sarah Frenking, Sarah Kleinmann, Nina Régis, and Verena Triesethau. Göttingen: V&R unipress, 275–296.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2020. Von Zentralafrika nach Brasilien und Französisch-Guyana: Transnationale Migration, Globale Ungleichheit und das Streben nach Hoffnung. In Global Processes of Flight and Migration. The Explanatory Power of Case Studies / Globale Flucht- und Migrationsprozesse. Die Erklärungskraft von Fallstudien, edited by Eva Bahl and Johannes Becker. Göttingen: Göttingen University Press, 63-82.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2020. From French Guiana to Brazil: Entanglements, Migrations and Demarcations of the KaliñaEspace Populations Sociétés 2020/1-2. [Special Issue "Identification, visibilité et reconnaissance des populations autochtones : quels enjeux géographiques ?", edited by Frédéric Dumont, Eric Glon, and Bastien Sepúlveda].

SANTOS, FABIO. 2020. Crisscrossing the Oyapock River: Entangled Histories and Fluid Identities in the French-Brazilian Borderland. In Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers in Latin America, edited by Raanan Rein, Stefan Rinke, and David Sheinin. Leiden: Brill, 217-241.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2019. Entangled Spaces: Towards a Conceptual Lens across Disciplinary and Geographical Borders. In Giros espacio-temporales: Repensando los entrelazamientos globales desde América Latina, edited by Diana Marisol Hernández Suárez, Luis Aguirre, Carolin Loysa, Brenda Macías Sánchez and Joanna Moszczynska. Berlin: Walter Frey, 21-46.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2017. Re-mapping Europe. Field notes from the French-Brazilian borderlandInterDisciplines. Journal of History and Sociology 8 (2): 173-201. [Special Issue "Done with Eurocentrism? Directions, Diversions, and Debates in History and Sociology", edited by Mahshid Mahar and Yaatsil Guevara].

SANTOS, FABIO. 2017. Fließende Grenzen in einer postkolonialen Welt: Ethnografische Erkundungen an einer europäischen Außengrenze in LateinamerikaGeschlossene Gesellschaften, edited by Stephan Lessenich.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2013. Fotografie als Gegenstand und Methode der Ethnologie. In Update in Progress. Beiträge zu einer ethnologischen Medienforschung, edited by Falk Blask, Joachim Kallinich and Sanna Schondelmayer. Berlin: Panama Verlag, 142–151.

Reviews and review articles

SANTOS, FABIO. 2021. Review of Right-Wing Populism and Gender. European Perspectives and Beyond (edited by Gabriele Dietze and Julia Roth). Forum for Inter-American Research 14 (2).

SANTOS, FABIO. 2019. Review of Locating Guyane (edited by Sarah Wood and Catriona MacLeod). Peripherie 155/155, 327–329.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2019. Review of Twin Cities. Urban Communities, Borders and Relationships over Time (John Garrard and Ekaterina Mikhailova). Cross-Border Review, Yearbook 2018, ed. by James Scott. Budapest: CESCI, 140-141.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2018. Grenzen der ZugehörigkeitSoziologische Revue 41 (2): 269–277. [Review article of Borderlands by Michel Agier and The Headscarf Debates by Anna C. Korteweg and Gökce Yurdakul].


Costa, Sérgio. 2017. Dilemmas of Inter-American Anti-Racism: Re-Visiting ‘on the Cunning of Imperialist Reason.’ In The Routledge Companion to Inter-American Studies, edited by Wilfried Raussert. London: Routledge, 338–349.

Work in progress

Edited volume Globale Soziologie. Vergessene Theorien, verflochtene Geschichten. Wiesbaden: Springer VS (co-edited with Clara Ruvituso).

Special dossier "Borders and Belongings – Fronteiras e Pertencimentos".(Travessia, currently paper reviewing, co-edited with Derek Pardue)

Book chapter (co-authored with Manuela Boatcă) about critical sociologies of space and Europe in an edited volume of the CRC "Re-Figuration of Spaces" (in press, Routledge).

Book chapter (co-authored with Manuela Boatcă and Corinna di Stefano) about existential inequalities in "Caribbean Europe" in an edited volume on the sociology of Europe (accepted, Routledge).

Book chapter on the production of illegality in the French-Brazilian borderland in an edited volume concerned with Illegality in Latin American and Caribbean borderlands (accepted, edited by Nicholas De Genova et al., Duke University Press).

Book chapter on memories of migration in an edited volume on flight and displacement, edited by Maria Pohn-Lauggas, Steve Tonah and Arne Worm (submitted, Göttingen University Press).

Journal article on Critical Fabulation as Decolonial Method (in peer-review).

Presentations (selection, recent and upcoming)

Gewaltvolle Geschichtsvergessenheit: Dekoloniale Methoden für eine Globale Soziologie. Presentation at the ad-hoc-group "Polarisierte Soziologie? Globale Wissenschaft, Wissenszirkulation und koloniale Vermächtnisse", 41th Congress of the German Sociological Association, University of Bielefeld, September 26-30, 2022.

Atlantic Histories and Memories of Colonialism, Enslavement and Resistance. Invited inaugural lecture at the workshop “Colonialism, Sovereignty and Resistance Today”, Humanity in Action Fellowship Program, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Berlin, Copenhagen, Sarajevo and Warsaw, June 7, 2022.

Bridging Fluid Borders. Entanglements in the French-Brazilian Borderland. Invited guest lecture for the accompanying program of the exhibition “Zoe Leonard. Al río / To the River”, Le Musée d’Art Moderne du Luxembourg & UniGR-Center for Border Studies, March 22, 2022.

“Europe” in “Latin America”: Illegalized Mobilities, Deportable Bodies, and Contested Sovereignties in the French-Brazilian Borderland. Brown bag lecture at AMIS, University of Copenhagen, December 8, 2021.

Refiguring Europe from its Global Borderlands. International Conference of the SFB 1265: "Spatial Refiguration: Dynamics, Challenges, and Conflicts", Technical University Berlin, October 28-30, 2021.

The Legal and Infrastructural Production of Migrant “Illegality” in the French-Brazilian Borderland. Bucerius Young Scholars Forum: “Histories of Migration: Transatlantic and Global Perspectives”, German Historical Institute (Pacific Office), UC Berkeley, October 18-21, 2021.

A line crossing Brazil and France: entanglements and inequalities at the Oyapock River. International conference “The Line Crossed Us: New Directions in Critical Border Studies”, University of Lethbridge (online), June 10-11 2021.

Debates sobre memórias e monumentos (de)coloniais na Alemanha. Colloquium of the research group “Arte, Cultura e Poder”, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (online), Mai 19 2021.

Global Inequalities in (Post-)Pandemic Times (Panel Chair with Karin Fischer), Ad-hoc-Group at the Congress of the German and Austrian Sociologial Associations: "The Post-Corona Society? Pandemic, Crisis, and Consequences", Vienna University of Economics and Business, August 23-25, 2021.

A line crossing Brazil and France: entanglements and inequalities at the Oyapock River. To be delivered at the international conference "The Line Crossed Us: New Directions in Critical Border Studies", University of Lethbridge, June 10-11, 2021.

Where and what is Europe? On an unresolved sociological problem. Plenary speech to be held at the 40th Congress of the German Sociological Association, Technical University of Berlin (online), September 15, 2020.

Social Movements, Resistance, Leftist Alternatives (Panel Chair). To be chaired at the International Symposium "The Conservative Backlash: Brazil in Comparative Perspective", Freie Universität Berlin, February 17-18, 2020.

Re-thinking migration from the margins: Migratory trajectories to French Guiana. Delivered at the International Conference Exile – Flight – Persecution, University of Göttingen, November 28-30, 2019.

Border crossings at the juncture of ‘Europe’, Amazonia and the Caribbean. Delivered at the 44thAnnual Conference of the Caribbean Studies Association: The Caribbean in Times of Tempest, Santa Marta, Colombia, June 3-7, 2019.

Coloniality and EU borders in the Caribbean (Panel Chair).Delivered at the 44thAnnual Conference of the Caribbean Studies Association: The Caribbean in Times of Tempest, Santa Marta, Colombia, June 3-7, 2019.

Unveiling Guyane’s Migratory and Economic Delinkings. Delivered at the 43rd Annual Conference on the Political Economy of the World-System: De-Linking - Critical Thought and Radical Politics, University of Freiburg, April 11-13, 2019.

(Un-)bridgeable inequalities in the French-Brazilian borderland. Delivered at the International Conference: Circulations, Migrations et Frontières dans les Guyanes. Université de Guyane, November 7-9, 2018.

Bridging the fluid border between France and Brazil: The Oyapock borderland in times of transformation. Delivered at the 2nd World Conference of the Association for Borderlands Studies: Border-Making and its Consequences: Interpreting Evidence from the ‘post-Colonial’ and ‘post-Imperial’ 20th Century, University of Vienna, June 10-11, 2018.

Re-thinking Migration in Latin America from its Margins: On French Guiana and other Conundrums of Geography. Delivered at the joint research workshop organized by Freie Universität Berlin and Tel Aviv University: Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Re-thinking Migration to Latin America and the New Ethnic Studies, Berlin, April 20, 2018.

Bridging fluid borders: Entanglements in the French-Brazilian borderland (poster presentation). Delivered at the Conference of the Society of Caribbean Research: Rethinking Europe from the Caribbean: Entanglements and Legacies, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, April 12-15, 2018.

French-Brazilian Entanglements: Insights from a Rarely Studied Borderland. Delivered at the International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association: Latin American Studies in a Globalized World, Barcelona, May 23-26, 2018.

Entrelaçamentos transfronteiriços: Um olhar sociológico. Delivered at the Universidade Federal do Amapá, Campus Binacional, Oiapoque, November 18, 2017.

Frontières postcoloniales: La Guyane et ses interdépendences transrégionales. Delivered at the German-French Summer School organized by CIERA and Centre Marc Bloch: La frontière | Die Grenze, Moulin d’Andé, July 3-7, 2017.

The wall in disguise: Bridging the Oyapock River. Delivered at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Borderlands Studies: Bridges or Walls? The Case for Open Borders in the XXI Century, San Francisco, April 12-15, 2017.

Fließende Grenzen in einer postkolonialen Welt: Ethnographische Erkundungen an einer europäischen Außengrenze in Lateinamerika. Delivered at the 38th Congress of the German Sociological Association: Closed Societies. September 26-30, 2016.

Spatial Analysis at the Fringes of Europe: Field Notes from French Guiana. Delivered at the 9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology, International Sociological Association RC 33 Conference: Logic and Methodology in Sociology, University of Leicester, September 11-16, 2016.