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Dr. Fabio H. Santos


Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut


Sociology of Latin America - Prof. Costa

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut der Freien Universität Berlin
Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56
Room 222
14197 Berlin

Office hours

My office hours will be held digitally until further notice. Small questions are answered by email, but I also offer video conferences for more complex matters. When asking for a video meeting, please indicate what you would like to discuss.

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).

In Spring 2020, I am Guest Professor of International Development at the University of Vienna.

I am Assistant Professor (Postdoc) of Sociology at the Institute for Latin American Studies. My teaching and research activities revolve around sociological theory (especially global and postcolonial sociologies), conflict and inequality research as well as sociology of space.  From a postcolonial and ethnographic perspective, my doctoral project (2016-2019) was concerned with the reconstruction of entangled spaces in the rarely studied French-Brazilian borderland. I paid particular attention to the conflictual negotiation and reproduction of inequalities at the crossroads of various axes of stratification such as gender, race and citizenship.

After graduating in European Ethnology and Cultural History and Theory (HU Berlin/London Met), I completed my MA in Sociology (FU Berlin) und subsequently earned my Ph.D. in Sociology in the frame of the International Research Training Group "Between Spaces. Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalization" (FU Berlin). I spent six months at Universidade de São Paulo to prepare my doctoral research. Besides several field trips to the French-Brazilian Amazon region, I spent research stays at the following institutions: Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (Guyane), Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris) Columbia University (New York), El Colegio de México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (all Mexico City).

Regional expertise: I am interested in global and transregional entanglements, with a focus on Europe, Latin America and increasingly Africa. Fieldwork has taken me to Brazil, the Guianas, France and Germany. In addition, I have spent longer periods of work-related time in Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, the UK and the US. Moreover, I have a strong interest in the Greater Caribbean as a space of ongoing (inter-)dependencies. On the basis of historical and discourse analytical research I have also dealt with the interrelation between European integration and African (de)colonization ("Eurafrica"), pointing to the longevity of these entanglements by way of Mayotte's transformation into an "EU Outermost Region" in 2014.

I am an alumnus of the Deutschlandstipendium and the German Academic Scholarship Foundation which I support as a member of the selection panel for advanced students. Moreover, my work has received support from various institutions, including DFG, DAAD and CNRS. In 2018, I received the Best Student’s Abstract Award at the World Conference of the Association for Borderlands Studies.

Summer term 2020

Critical and Feminist Geographies (MA International Development, University of Vienna)

Brazil and the three Guianas: Historical and Contemporary Entanglements (MA Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies & MA Global History, FU Berlin)

Winter term 2019/20

Borders and Belongings (MA Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies, MA Sociology & MA Global History, FU Berlin)

Wissenschaftspraxis I (MA Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies, FU Berlin)

Summer term 2019

Inequalities in Brazil from an ethnographic perspective (MA Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies, FU Berlin)

Peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters

2020 (accepted, in press). Von Zentralafrika nach Brasilien und Französisch-Guyana: Transnationale Migration, Globale Ungleichheit und das Streben nach Hoffnung. In Migrations- und Lebensbedingungen von Geflüchteten – Transnationale Perspektiven, edited by Eva Bahl and Johannes Becker. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen.

2020 (accepted, in press). “Outermost” Migrations: Linking French Guiana to the “European Refugee Crisis”. In De-Linking – Critical Thought and Radical Politics, edited by Manuela Boatcă. London: Routledge.

2020 (accepted, in press). Crisscrossing the Oyapock River: Entangled Histories and Fluid Identities in the French-Brazilian Borderland. In Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Re-thinking Migration to Latin America and the New Ethnic Studies, edited by Raanan Rein, Stefan Rinke and David Sheinin. Leiden: Brill.

2019. Entangled Spaces: Towards a Conceptual Lens in Spatial and Postcolonial Studies. 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, 21-46. Berlin: Walter Frey.

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].

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

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, 142–151. Berlin: Panama Verlag.

Reviews and review articles

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

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.

2017. 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].


2017. Costa, Sérgio: 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, 338–349. London: Routledge.

Work in progress

Journal article on indigenous migrations in Brazil and French Guiana (revise and resubmit, Espace Populations Sociétés).

Book based on my dissertation: "Bridging Fluid Borders: Entanglements in the French-Brazilian Borderland" (book proposal under review, Manchester University Press).

Journal article on a new conceptualization of space considering postcolonial and intersectional approaches (in preparation, Current Sociology).

Presentations (recent and upcoming)

Politics of Exclusion in Brazil: Intersectional Responses to Bolsonaro (Session Organizer). To be organized for the IV ISA Forum of Sociology (RC05 Racism, Nationalism, Indigeneity and Ethnicity), Porto Alegre, July 14-18, 2020.

The Production of Illegality and Inequality in "Caribbean Europe": Mobilities, Borders and Coloniality. To be held at the IV ISA Forum of Sociology (RC31 Sociology of Migration), Porto Alegre, July 14-18, 2020.

Entangled Histories: Cross-Border Biographies from the Guianas. To be held at the IV ISA Forum of Sociology (RC56 Historical Sociology), Porto Alegre, July 14-18, 2020. Co-authored by Gérard Collomb.

Outermost Migrations at the Borders of Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean: French Guiana’s Role in Migration Crises. To be held at CALAS Maria Sibylla Merian Center, Plataforma para el Diálogo (“Crisis migratorias en las fronteras de América Latina”), Guadalajara, Mexico, May 11-12, 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.