Sophia F Beal

My research focuses on literary and cultural analysis within the Portuguese-speaking world, primarily analyzing questions related to public space and urban development. I contribute to the curriculum in the areas of Brazilian, Portuguese, and Lusophone-African cultural production. In 2020, I published The Art of Brasília: 2000-2019. The book argues that Brasília’s reputation as a cultural wasteland is outdated. Its contemporary artists are transforming how people think about the city and how they use its public spaces. These 21st-century artists are recasting Brasília as a vibrant city of the arts in which cultural production affirms the creative right to the city of marginalized ?populations. Brasília’s initial 1960s art was state-sanctioned, carried out mainly by privileged, white men. In contrast, the capital’s contemporary art is marked by its diversity, challenging norms about the types of art that can symbolize the city. This book analyzes prose, poetry, film, cultural journalism, music, photography, graffiti, street theater, and street dance that demystify the capital’s inequities and imagine alternative ways of inhabiting the city. During the Spring 2015 semester, I was on research leave. During that time, I was an Affiliate of Harvard University's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. From 2010 to 2012, I was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Tulane University in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, affiliated with the Program for African and African Diaspora Studies. My book Brazil under Construction: Fiction and Public Works (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) studies the intersections between fiction and public works in Brazil in the twentieth century. Zouk published the Portuguese translation, Brasil em construção: as obras públicas na literatura do século XX in 2017.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University, 2010.
  • M.A.: Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University, 2008.
  • B.A.: Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University, 2004 Summa Cum Laude.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Brazilian Literature and Cultural Studies
  • Urban Studies
Courses Taught
  • Port5530: Brazilian Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Port5520: Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Port 5930: Topics in Brazilian Literature
  • Port1904: Brazilian Short Stories [A Freshman Seminar]
  • Port3501w: Global Portuguese: 1300 – 1900 [A Multinational Literature Survey]
  • Port3502w: Global Portuguese: 1900 – Present [A Multinational Literature Survey]
  • Port3003: Portuguese Conversation and Composition
  • The Art of Brasília: 2000-2019. Beal, Sophia, Palgrave Macmillan, Author, 2020. Link
  • Brazil under Construction: Fiction and Public Works. Beal, Sophia, Palgrave Macmillan, Author, 2013. LinkImage
  • Brasil em construção: as obras públicas na literatura do século XX . Beal, Sophia, Editora Zouk, Author, 2017. Link
  • Infrastructuralism. Beal, Sophia, Bruce Robbins and Michael Rubenstein, Co-Editor, 2015. LinkImage
  • Espaços movediços e conflitantes na Manaus de Milton Hatoum: Beal, Sophia, University of São Paulo, Revista Teresa, 17 71-86, 2016. Link
  • Milton Hatoum’s Amazon Theater: Unsettling an Icon: Beal, Sophia, Romance Notes, 56.2 187-198, 2016.
  • Espaço e Invenção em Brasília: Textos Culturais de 2009 a 2014: Beal, Sophia, Ricardo Barberena and Regina Dalcastagnè, Luminara, Do trauma à trama: o espaço urbano na literatura brasileira contemporânea, 93-131, 2016.
  • Elderly Intimacy in Petra Costa’s Documentary Olhos de Ressaca: Beal, Sophia, Veredas, 26 145-154, 2016. Link
  • Making Space in Brasília: Cultural Texts from 2009 to 2014: Beal, Sophia, ellipsis, 13 55-77, 2015. Link
  • A arte de andar nas ruas de Brasília: Beal, Sophia, Estudos de Literatura Brasileira Contemporânea, 45 65–83, 2015. LinkDownload· Image
  • Infrastructuralism: An Introduction: Beal, Sophia, Michael Rubenstein and Bruce Robbins, Modern Fiction Studies, 61.4 575-586, 2015. Link
  • The Art of Brasília: Spaces, Tactics, and Walks in the Capital’s Cultural Texts: Beal, Sophia, Brown University, Brasil/Brazil , 47 34–64, 2013.
  • The Substance of Light: Literature and Public Space in Belle Époque Rio de Janeiro (1894-1914). Beal, Sophia, Author, 2012. Link
  • A transformação das trevas na literatura pré-modernista: Beal, Sophia, Pensares em Revista, 1 76-91, 2012. LinkDownload
  • Inhabiting Identities in Nelson de Oliveira’s Short Story “O irmão brasileiro: Beal, Sophia, Céfiro, 11.2 7-13, 2012.
  • Obras públicas monumentais, ficção e o regime militar no Brasil (1964-1985): Beal, Sophia, Revista Escritos , 4 259-280, 2010. LinkDownload
  • The Real and Promised Brasília: An Asymmetrical Symbol in 1960s Brazilian Literature: Beal, Sophia, Hispania Journal, 93.1 1-10, 2010. Link
  • Becoming a Character: An Analysis of Bernardo Carvalho’s Nove noites: Beal, Sophia, Luso-Brazilian Review, 42.2 134-149, 2005. Link
  • Child Soldiers and a Civil War Made Murky: Language and Memory in Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa's Os Sobreviventes da Noite: Beal, Sophia, Ed. Niyi Afolabi, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, Emerging Perspectives on Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa. , 297–306, 2010. Link
  • Terra Sonâmbula: Mythmaking and the Naparama in the Work of Mia Couto: Beal, Sophia, Ed. Beatrice Nicolini, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, Studies in Witchcraft, Magic, War and Peace in Africa: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 227-237, 2006. Link
  • Review of Bruno Carvalho's Porous City: A Cultural History of Rio de Janeiro: Beal, Sophia, The Hispanic Review, 84.1 96-99, 2016. Link
  • Review of Gouveia, Saulo. The Triumph of Brazilian Modernism: The Metanarrative of Emancipation & Counter-Narratives: Beal, Sophia, University of Wisconsin, The Luso-Brazilian Review , 53.1 E13-E15, 2016. Link
  • Euclides da Cunha the Poet (Review of Euclides da Cunha: poesia reunida. Eds. Bernucci, Leopoldo M. and Francisco Foot Hardman): Beal, Sophia, Brújula , 10 , 2015. Link
  • Review of Uma cidade em camadas: ensaios sobre o romance Eles eram muitos cavalos de Luiz Ruffato edited by Marguerite Itamar Harrison. Beal, Sophia, Author, 2008. Link
  • Review of Willis, Bruce Dean. Aesthetics of Equilibrium: The Vanguard Poetics of Vicente Huidobro and Mário de Andrade: Beal, Sophia, Brasil/Brazil: A Journal of Brazilian Literature , 35 109-111, 2007.
  • Infraestrutura de dupla-face: entrevista com Sophia Beal: Beal, Sophia, University of São Paulo, Author. Link
  • Interview. A Conversation with Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa: Beal, Sophia, ellipsis , 9 129-138, 2011. LinkDownload
  • Interview. O jogo das reinvenções: uma entrevista com Mia Couto: Beal, Sophia, Storm Magazine , 22 111–114. Link
  • Interview. Uma entrevista com Bernardo Carvalho: Beal, Sophia, Brasil/Brazil: A Journal of Brazilian Literature , 32 97-102, 2004.
  • UMN Faculty Sabbatical, August 2018 - May 2019
  • UMN College of Liberal Arts Talle Faculty Research Award, January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2019
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research, 01/01/2014 - 06/30/2016
  • Single Semester Leave, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, January 2015 - May 2015
  • Imagine Fund Annual Award, 2014-2015, Fall 2014 - Spring 2015
  • Imagine Fund Annual Award, 2013-2014, Fall 2013 - Spring 2014
  • Imagine Fund Annual Award, 2017-2018, Spring 2017 - Fall 2018