Chazkel, Amy

Bernard Hirschhorn Associate Professor of Urban Studies

Office Hours

Spring 2024: Wednesdays, 3:00 - 4:00 pm, and by appointment.

To schedule an appointment with Professor Chazkel, please click here.


PhD – History, Yale University (2002)
MA – History, Yale University (1996)
BA – International Affairs, George Washington University (1991)


Interests and Research

Amy Chazkel is a historian of Brazil with broad interests in the urban humanities, law and society, crime and justice, policing, slavery, abolition, and post-abolition societies in the Atlantic world. In her own research and writing, she has principally explored the urban and legal history of post-colonial Brazil. She is the author of Laws of Chance: Brazil’s Clandestine Lottery and the Making of Modern Public Life in Brazil (Duke University Press, 2011), a study of petty crime, urban culture, and the historical roots of the informal sector in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Brazil, and a translated and adapted version of that book, Leis da sorte: A construção da vida pública urbana (Editora da Unicamp, 2015) and is co-editor of The Rio Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2016), an anthology of primary sources on the history of Rio de Janeiro. Over the past eighteen years, she has pursued her interest in the cultural and social context of the law both in her scholarship and as a volunteer researcher and Portuguese-English interpreter with US-based law clinics and human rights organizations. Her work in progress includes a book project, supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the American Philosophical Society, that explores the social, cultural, and legal history of the urban nighttime, focusing on Rio de Janeiro during the long nineteenth century. 



  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2018)
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2017)
  • Futures Initiative Faculty Fellowship, CUNY Graduate Center (2016-2017)
  • Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society (2015)
  • Distinguished Faculty Fellowship, Advanced Research Collaborative, CUNY Graduate Center (2015)
  • Faculty Fellowship, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, CUNY Graduate Center (2014-2015)
  • Visiting Foreign Faculty Fellowship, Programa Professor Visitante do Exterior, Coordinação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (2013)
  • Programa de Divulgação da Realidade Brasileira, Consulado Geral do Brasil em New York (2013)
  • Mellon Mid-Career Faculty Fellowship, Committee on Globalization and Social Change, CUNY Graduate Center (2012-2013)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend (2011)
  • Postdoctoral Associate Fellowship, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Yale University (2004)
  • Mellon Postdoctoral Resident Fellowship, Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center (2003-2004)
  • Library Scholar Grant, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University (2003)



  • Editorial Collective, Radical History Review
  • Co-convener of New York City Latin American History Workshop
  • Editorial Board, Law and History Review
  • Futures Initiative Advisory Board, CUNY Graduate Center
  • International Associate Editor, Revista Brasileira de História
  • Core Faculty Member, Committee on Globalization and Social Change, CUNY Graduate Center



Editor (with Daryle Williams and Paulo Knauss), The Rio de Janeiro Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016).

Leis da Sorte: O Jogo do Bicho e a Construção da Vida Urbana. Trans., Vera Jocelyne. (São Paulo: Editora da Unicamp, 2014).

Laws of Chance: Brazil’s Clandestine Lottery and the Making of Urban Public Life (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011)

  • Winner of New England Council of Latin American Studies Best Book Prize (2012)
  • Co-winner of J. Willard Hurst Prize for Best Book in Sociolegal History, Law and Society Association (2012)
  • Honorable Mention for Latin American Studies Association/ Brazil Section Best Book Prize (2012)


Selected Scholarly Articles and Book Chapters

"Toward a History of Rights in the City at Night: Making and Breaking the Nightly Curfew in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro," Comparative Studies in Society and History (January 2020) 
* Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Prize for Best Article in Any Field
* Jack Goody Award for Best Article Published in CSSH, Honorable Mention


“A vida noturna e o poder municipal no Rio de Janeiro oitocentista,” in Paulo Terra, Marcelo Magalhães, and Martha Abreu, eds., Dimensões do poder municipal (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Mauad, in press and forthcoming in 2018)

A Lei de Lynch: Reconsidering the View from Brazil of Lynching in the United States, 1880s-1920s,” in Michael Pfeifer, ed., Global Lynching and Collective Violence (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2017), 68-84

“The Invention of Night: Visibility and Violence After Dark in Rio de Janeiro,” in Gema Santamaría and David Carey, eds., The Publics and Politics of Violence in Latin America, (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2017), Ch. 7

“Uma roleta do jogo do bicho,” in Paulo Knauss, Marlize Malta, and Maria Isabel Lenza, eds., Objetos do Rio (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Jauá, 2016)

“Imagens nostálgicas: Os ascendedores de lampião na Revista Light,” in Andrea Casa Nova Maia, ed., O mundo do trabalho nas páginas das revistas ilustradas (Rio de Janeiro: Editora 7 Letras, 2016), 171-77

“History out of the Ashes: Remembering Brazilian Slavery After Rui Barbosa’s Burning of the Archive,” in Carlos Aguirre and Javier Villa-Flores, eds., The Destruction of Archives in Latin America (Raleigh, NC: Editorial Contracorriente, 2015)

“O lado escuro do poder municipal: A mão de obra forçada e o toque de recolher no Rio de Janeiro oitocentista,” Mundos do Trabalho 5:9 (September 2013), 31-48

“Research Notes from the Underworld: The Entry Logs of the Rio de Janeiro Casa de Detenção, 1860-1969,” Latin American Research Review 46:2 (August 2011), 181-199

“A Casa de Detenção do Rio de Janeiro na Primeira República,” in Marcos Costa and Clarissa Nunes Maia, eds., A história da prisão no Brasil: Prisão, prisoneiros, e sociedade, vol. 2 (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Rocco, 2009), 7-45

“Social Life and Civic Education in the Rio de Janeiro City Jail,” Journal of Social History 42:3 (March 2009), 697-731

  • Winner of Latin American Studies Association Brazil Section Best Scholarly Article Prize (2010)
  • Co-Winner of Law and Humanities Junior Scholar Interdisciplinary Writing Competition (2008)

“Beyond Law and Order: The Origins of the Jogo do Bicho in Republican Rio de Janeiro,” Journal of Latin American Studies 39:3 (August 2007), 535-565

  • Winner of Urban History Association Annual Best Article Award (2009)

“The Crônica, the City, and the Invention of the Underworld: Rio de Janeiro, 1889-1922.” Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y el Caribe 12:1 (January – June 2001), 79-105.


Selected Editorial Projects

“Policing, Justice, and the Radical Imagination” (Co-edited with Naomi Paik and Monica Kim), Radical History Review, 137 (forthcoming in Winter 2020)

“Historicizing the Politics and Pleasure of Sport,” (Co-edited with Brenda Elsey and Peter Alegi), Radical History Review, 125 (Spring 2016)

“Haitian Lives/ Global Perspectives,” (Co-edited with Karen Sotiropoulos and Melina Pappademos), Radical History Review, 115 (Winter 2013)

“Forum on Police Museums in Latin America,” in “Calling the Law into Question: Confronting the Illegal and the Illicit in Public Arenas,” Radical History Review, 113 (May 2012)

“Enclosures,” double issue of the Radical History Review (Co-edited with David Serlin): Issue 108, “Enclosures: Fences, Walls, and Contested Spaces,” Fall 2010, and Issue 109, “New Approaches to Enclosures” (Winter/Spring 2011)