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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

Due to a leave of absence (1 Aug 2020 to 31 Jan 2021), I do not currently offer regular office hours. Please feel free to contact me if you wish to talk via email or webex, stating your specific concern.

I supervise 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

  • Postdoctoral researcher and lecturer, Sociology, Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, since 2019
  • 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

  • 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, Professional and Volunteer Functions

  • Elected diversity officer, LAI, since 2021
  • Elected member of the Institute Council, LAI, since 2021
  • Speaker of the section "Brazil in global context", ADLAF, since 2020
  • Member of the Curriculum Planning Committee, Institute for Latin American Studies, since 2019
  • Co-editor of the journal Critical Reviews on Latin American Research, since 2018
  • Ad-hoc member of the selection committee, German Academic Scholarship Foundation, since 2018
  • Reviewer for several journals (Space and Culture; Journal for Religion, Society and Politics; Critical Reviews on Latin American Research; FORMA Revista d’Humanitats; CeMig Centre for Global Migration Studies Working Paper Series), since 2018
  • Member of the Institute for Brazilian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, since 2016
  • Member of several scientific associations: ABS, ADLAF, DGS, ISA, dgv
  • Member of the Committee for safeguarding good study conditions, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, 2014-2015

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

Research Interests

  • Sociology of space and borders
  • Sociology of global entanglements
  • Intersectionality and gender
  • Migration and belonging
  • Qualitative social research

Current projects

I am currently pursuing several interlocking lines of research, all of which can be categorized as global and historical sociology. I reexamine the trajectories of how racism and sexism have intersected (Brazil/USA), engage with memories of transatlantic histories of violence in urban space (Rio/Luanda/Lisbon), and analyze unequal mobilities in the Caribbean as a kaleidoscope of legal and political (in)dependencies.

Concluded doctoral project

"Bridging Fluid Borders. Entanglements in the French-Brazilian Borderland"

Advisors: Prof. Dr. Sérgio Costa (FU Berlin), Prof. Dr. Manuela Boatcă (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

Funding: German Research Foundation (German-Mexican Graduate School "Between Spaces", 2016-2019)

The book is forthcoming with Routledge in winter 2021/22.

Beyond academia

The planning for the participatory art project "Hostile Terrain 94" is currently suspended due to the pandemic. Updates can be accessed via this link: Undocumented Migration Project.


SANTOS, FABIO. 2022 (in press). Bridging fluid borders. Entanglements in the French-Brazilian borderland. London: Routledge.

Peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters

SANTOS, FABIO. 2022 (in press). 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.

SANTOS, FABIO/Boatcă, Manuela. 2021 (in press). Europeanization as Global Entanglement. In Sociology of Europeanization, edited by Sebastian Büttner, Monika Eigmüller, and Susann Worschech. Berlin: de Gruyter.

SANTOS, FABIO. 2021 (in press). Unidos pelo rio, separados pela ponte: a Ponte Binacional na fronteira franco-brasileira como uma via de mão única, Confins – Revue franco-brésilienne de géographie / Revista franco-brasileira de geografia.

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. 2019. Review of Locating Guyane (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

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" (accepted, Routledge).

Book chapter on migratory movements to French Guiana in an edited volume of the PEWS (accepted, Routledge).

Edited volume Globale Soziologie (co-edited with Clara Ruvituso, in preparation).

Journal article (co-authored with Manuela Boatcă) about unequal mobilities and citizenship in the Caribbean in a special issue on critical migration research (in preparation).

Special Issue Mobility Inequalities in Other Europes (co-edited with Manuela Boatcă and Corinna di Stefano, in preparation).

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

Presentations (selection, recent and upcoming)

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.