Barbara A. Sommer, Professor of History and former Johnson Chair for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities, received a Ph.D. in History with a minor in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 2000. She has published articles on the culture and society of Portuguese Amazonia in the journals Slavery & Abolition, Journal of Latin American Studies, The Americas, and Colonial Latin American Historical Review. Her essay “Wigs, Weapons, Tattoos, and Shoes: Getting Dressed in Colonial Amazonia and Brazil” appeared in The Politics of Dress in Asia and the Americas (Sussex Academic Press, 2007). The Fulbright Commission, the Fundação Luso-Americana (Lisbon), and the John Carter Brown Library (Providence, RI) have supported her research.

Recent Publications:

“The Amazonian Native Nobility in Late-Colonial Pará” in Native Brazil: Beyond the Cannibal and the Convert, 1500-1899, ed. Hal Langfur, 108-131 (University of New Mexico Press, 2014).

"Why Joanna Baptista Sold Herself into Slavery: Indian Women in Portuguese Amazonia, 1755-1798," Slavery and Abolition 34, no. 1 (2013): 77-97.

"Adquirindo e defendendo os privilegios concedidos pela coroa no norte do Brasil," in Raizes do Privilegio: Mobilidade social no mundo iberico do Antigo Regime, 617-638 (Rio de Janeiro: Civilizacao Brasileira, 2011).


  • First-Year Seminar: Cultural Perspectives on the Body
  • The Atlantic World:1600-1850
  • Colonial Latin American History
  • Modern Latin American History
  • Brazil: Earthly Paradise to Industrial Giant
  • Historical Methods
  • Borderlands of the Americas
  • The Mexican Revolution
  • Social Difference in Brazilian History
  • Senior Seminar: Comparative Frontiers of the Americas


Barbara A. Sommer

Barbara A. Sommer
Professor, History

Phone: (717) 337 - 6570

Box: Campus Box 0401

Address: Weidensall Hall
Room 210
300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400

PhD University of New Mexico, 2000
MA University of Chicago,
BA Colorado College,