Rafael Ioris

Rafael Rossotto Ioris

Associate Professor

What I do

I am a scholar of Modern Latin America, with a special focus on Modern Brazilian Political, Diplomatic, Cultural and Intellectual Histories. My latest book (Transforming Brazil: A History of National Development in the Postwar Era) examines the political and cultural debates involved in the promotion of fast-paced, state-led programs of development in Brazil in the aftermath of World War II.

In a broader perspective, my research agenda speaks to a larger intellectual agenda dealing with the dissemination of industrial projects in late-developing societies. I am presently working on the history of US-based developmental ideologies and multilateral developmental programs implemented in Latin America in the second half of the twentieth century, with a special focus on the experiences involved in the implementation of the Alliance for Progress in Brazil in the 1960s.

I have been the recipient of various prestigious research funds, including from the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Rockefeller Archive Center, and the Research Foundation of the State of Sao Paulo. I have presented my work in various important universities in Brazil, including the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Fluminense Federal University (UFF), the University of Brasilia (UnB), and the University of Sao Paulo (USP), where I was a Visiting Professor at the Institute of International Relations (IRI), in the Fall of 2017.

My research interests are closely tied to my pedagogical philosophy which seeks to answer some of the big questions involved in the broad patterns of development undergone by late-coming societies. My teaching experiences span into different fields and settings and I have taught both in Brazil and the United States. The list of courses I regularly teach includes colonial and modern Latin American survey history courses, an introduction to Latin American studies through movies, a comparative history of Latin American development, the Making of Modern Brazil, Cities in Latin America, and U.S-Latin American relations. I also regularly teach a graduate course with a colleague at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies on the Global Emergence of Brazil as study-abroad summer course in Rio de Janeiro.

Professional Biography

Rafael R. Ioris is Associate Professor of Latin American History at the University of Denver. He is an affiliated faculty at the Latin American Center at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He holds a PhD in Latin American History from Emory University, and MA in International Studies from the University of Brasilia, and a BA in Social Sciences from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil. He is the author ‘Transforming Brazil: A History of National Development in the Cold War Era’ (Routledge: 2014) and numerous articles published in different international journals on topics ranging from the history of development ideologies in the 20th century, the history of labor activism in modern Brazil, to Brazilian foreign policy at the turn of the 21st century. He is currently working on an edited volume on the expansion of economic frontier in the Amazon region in Brazil while also developing a new research on the history of US-Brazil relations in the 1960s and 70s. He is a frequent author of op-ed pieces on Brazilian newspapers, magazines and blogs dealing with current political and cultural issues in Brazil, Latin American and the US.


  • Ph.D., Latin American History, Emory University, 2009
  • MA, International Relations, University of Brasilia, 1998
  • BA, Social Sciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, 1994

Professional Affiliations

  • Latin American Studies Association


During the 1960s and 70s, Brazil underwent an accelerated process of transforming its economic, political and cultural spheres. Many of these experiences unfolded under the aegis of updating its material and ideational spheres along clear Capitalist lines, wherein the United States was seen both as a model to be emulated as well as an unreliable partner whose policies and traditions were not applicable to the Brazilian realities. This investigation seeks to examine how different projects of development and narratives surrounding them impacted and were conversely impacted by the context of interactions between historical characters in both countries at the height of Cold War in Latin America.