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Dr Selina Patel Nascimento

Lecturer in the History of the Global South

Bowland College



PhD supervision

I welcome expressions of interest for supervision of doctoral projects on histories of gender, slavery, sexuality, and race relations in Brazil, the wider Atlantic World, or across the Portuguese Empire.

Research Interests

My research is deeply embedded in the intersectional experiences of enslaved and marginalised women, particularly in their positions in global systems of concubinage as concubines. Structures of concubinage have a long history stretching back many millennia, and although they have differed over time and space, their continuity into the present day provides a fascinating and under-researched lens into the intricate relationship between sex, slavery, and empire in global perspective. While my area of expertise lies in late colonial and early Imperial Brazil (circa 1700-1831), my current research has global dimensions that reach across and beyond the Portuguese empire. I am an expert in relationships of concubinage in the Atlantic world and am currently preparing a monograph entitled Colonial Concubines: Sex, Slavery, and Transitioning Empires in Brazil's Northeast, 1750-1831. This book analyses the ways in which concubines as a social group maintained a tense and contradictory relationship with imperial rule as Brazil declared independence from Portugal and transitioned into its own empire.

My current research project picks up on the continuities of concubinage over imperial transitions to understand why concubinage as a global structure of gendered inequality has survived over millennia and can still be seen across the world today. Ambitiously using a global history framework that spans 4,000 years, it seeks to discover where global systems of concubinage demonstrate overlaps and continuities across time and space to identify the core challenges that we see in sexual and domestic slavery for women and girls worldwide, and assist in developing strategies and policy proposals alongside a range of stakeholders to urgently tackle modern slavery.

Career Details

I have an interdisciplinary background with teaching and managerial experience in the private sector. I received a BA (Joint Honours) in German and Beginners' Portuguese from the University of Nottingham in 2009, and went on to complete an MA (by Research) in Portuguese and Lusophone Studies in 2010 at the same institution. I then spent time in the private and third sectors as Director of Savi Foundation and as Area Manager for Young Enterprise UK, through which I developed community impact projects and taught children aged 4-18 across schools and colleges in North and West London. 

I was successful in receiving AHRC funding to pursue a doctorate in History at Newcastle University and received my PhD in 2016. My doctoral research was additionally supported by grants from the Royal Historical Society and the Society for Latin American Studies.

I took a career break for maternity and early-years childcare and returned to academic work in 2021. I have previously taught across History, Applied Humanities, and Modern Languages at Newcastle University and Newman University, Birmingham before taking up a post at Lancaster. 

Current Teaching

  • HIST105: Histories of Violence: How Imperialism Made the Modern World 
  • HIST438: The Past is Never Dead: Colonial Legacies of the Atlantic and the Global South

Professional Role

I am the Schools Liasion contact for the Department of History at Lancaster University.  

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