Cecília MacDowell Santos received her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master in Law from the University of São Paulo. She joined the University of San Francisco in 2001, and since 2006 she is also a research member of the Center for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She teaches courses on gender and development, globalization, sociology of law, and Brazilian culture and society.
Her research focuses on legal mobilization within and across national borders, violence, political memory, and women's and human rights. Her work builds on the traditions of critical social and legal theory, qualitative sociology, and feminist transnational and intersectional analyses of violence and struggles for rights. She is interested in investigating how legal mobilization relates to politics and shapes the recognition of violence and subjects of rights on the basis of gender, race, class, and/or sexual orientation. This was examined in her book, Women's Police Stations: Gender, Violence, and Justice in São Paulo, Brazil (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), and guides her current research projects on transnational legal mobilization and human rights in Brazil, and the mobilization practices of the "Maria da Penha" law in São Paulo.
One of her current projects, entitled "Transnational Legal Activism: Brazilian NGOs and the Inter–American System of Human Rights," examines selected cases of gender–based violence, racial discrimination, violence against indigenous groups, and struggles over political memory and justice. Building on research for this project, she co–edited the books, Desarquivando a Ditadura: Memória e Justiça no Brasil [Uncovering the Dictatorship: Memory and Justice in Brazil] (Hucitec Press, 2009), and Repressão e Memória Política no Contexto Ibero–Brasileiro: Estudos sobre Brasil, Guatemala, Moçambique, Peru e Portugal [Repression and Political Memory in the Ibero–Brazilian Context: Studies of Brazil, Guatemala, Mozambique, Peru, and Portugal] (Brazilian Ministry of Justice, 2010). Drawing on research conducted in Portugal on transnational legal mobilization and human rights, she edited the book, A Mobilização Transnacional do Direito: Portugal e o Tribunal Europeu dos Direitos Humanos [Transnational Legal Mobilization: Portugal and the European Court of Human Rights] (Almedina Press, 2012).
In 2015, Professor Santos won the Post-Sabbatical Merit Award in recognition of her "exceptional productivity in research, scholarly, or creative work."
- PhD, Sociology, University of California, Berkeley,
- MA, Law, University of São Paulo
- Transnational legal mobilization and human rights in Brazil
- Mobilization practices of the "Maria da Penha" law in São Paulo
- Selected Publications
Santos, Cecilia. (2016). "Legal Dualism and the Bipolar State: Challenges to Indigenous Human Rights in Brazil." Latin American Perspectives, 43(2), 172-189. DOI: 10.1177/0094582X15600173
Santos, Cecilia. (2015). "Transitional Justice from the Margins: Legal Mobilization and Memory Politics in Brazil." In Legacies of State Violence and Transitional Justice in Latin America: A Janus-Faced Paradigm?, ed. Marcia Esparza and Nina Schneider, Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 37-72.
Santos, Cecilia. (2015). "Curto-Circuito, Falta de Linha ou Na Linha? Redes de Enfrentamento à Violência contra Mulheres em São Paulo [Short Circuit, No Line, or Online? Networks Confronting Violence against Women in São Paulo]." Revista Estudos Feministas, 23(2), 577-600.
Santos, Cecilia. (2007). "Transnational Legal Activism and the State: Reflections on Cases Against Brazil in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights." Sur, Rev. int. direitos human, 4(7), São Paulo.
Santos, Cecilia. (2005). Women's Police Stations: Gender, Violence, and Justice in São Paulo, Brazil. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Awards & Distinctions
Post-Sabbatical Merit Award in recognition of her "exceptional productivity in research, scholarly, or creative work.", 2015