Anne Hanley wins Fulbright award

Anne Hanley

For one NIU professor preparing to embark on her third Fulbright-sponsored trip, it was a high school study abroad experience in Brazil that inspired what has become a life’s work and interest. Anne Hanley, associate professor of Latin American History, is preparing to travel to Brazil to continue her research and teach through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

This will mark Hanley’s third time pursuing her economic history research with the support of a Fulbright award. This time, she will spend the first semester of 2019 (beginning in February) in the Economics Department of the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto campus.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sponsors U.S. and foreign participants for exchanges in areas of research including the sciences, business, academe, public service, government and the arts. A major goal of the program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

While in residence in Brazil, Hanley will teach a graduate reading seminar on the economic history of underdevelopment and inequality in Brazil and Latin America, and will collaborate on a research project with her colleague, Dr. Renato Leite Marcondes, on the role of financial institutions in Brazilian economic history.

“There has been so much instability in the world, throughout history, so I am gratified that Fulbright has in its mission to foster these exchanges of students and scholars,” she said. “Inevitably in a classroom in Brazil I will say something like ‘I never thought of it that way,’ or I will hear that from my students here. I am always grateful that Fulbright makes that perspective possible.”

Hanley first traveled to Brazil as a high school student, through a foreign exchange program. Curious and inspired, Hanley returned in her junior year of college, and said that through an economics class there, began to understand that some countries were underdeveloped.

“The problems of poverty were apparent,” she said. “I would see slums that I didn’t see in the United States, and I didn’t realize it had a historical root until I studied economics classes there.”

Hanley said that in the one of those classes, she studied Brazil’s historic coffee boom, endeavoring to answer why the country’s coffee region looks so developed while other Latin American countries with similar resources were not able to transform as successfully. That college research has developed over time, leading to her ongoing travel and growing network in that country, as well as several published books.

In the course of her research in Brazil over the years, she befriended Dr. Renato Leite Marcondes, with whom she coauthored an article about Brazil’s financial history published in 2010.  Next year, they will continue that research, looking at the role of banks in economic development and diversification by examining the mortgage market in São Paulo over time.

“I have had the good fortune to go to Brazil on several grants since I joined NIU,” she said. “Every time I have incorporated what I learned in those experiences into my classes. Sometimes it’s through storytelling and sharing how Brazilians view their position in the world, which adds some depth to how we understand the history that we learn here.”

Hanley said the support of Fulbright throughout her life and research is something for which she’s very grateful. The first Fulbright funded her doctoral dissertation research. The second one supported the research for her soon-to-be-released book, “The Public Good and the Brazilian State,” (University of Chicago Press, 2018).

“This is the third time a Fulbright has made it possible for me to go to Brazil and this is first time I will be teaching there, so I am thrilled at that opportunity, too.”

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