Bruno Carvalho, professor of Romance languages and literatures and African and African American studies, has been named interim director of the Mahindra Humanities Center for the 2023-24 academic year. Carvalho will serve as director while the center’s current director, Suzannah “Suzie” Clark, is on sabbatical.
Carvalho is an accomplished scholar whose work focuses on questions of cities as both real and imagined spaces.
“I am delighted that Bruno Carvalho has agreed to serve as interim director of the Mahindra Humanities Center for the next year,” said University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Alan M. Garber. “He is an exemplary scholar and a strong advocate for the humanities. As he reminds us, the humanities play an essential role in deepening our understanding of our shared culture, our past, and the complex issues facing our world today.”
Carvalho’s research examines the evolution of modern cities, drawing on his experiences in the humanities to understand how cities are key to addressing our social, political, and environmental challenges. A native of Rio de Janeiro, his research spans several languages and settings, connecting themes in art, literature, architecture, and urban planning. In order to truly understand today’s urban issues, he argues, we must consider how they stem from cultural and historical dynamics — and in order to find their solutions, we must examine them from fresh perspectives and through multiple lenses.
His cross-disciplinary perspective is a natural fit for the mission of the Mahindra Center, which promotes the exchange of ideas and bringing insights from the humanities to bear on the urgent questions of our time.
“I look forward to continuing to build the Mahindra Center into a hub where various modes of inquiry can come together — a place much like cities at their best, full of encounters, exchanges, excitement,” said Carvalho. “The humanities can be elastic and permeable in a way that allows for new questions while maintaining a sense of connection to accumulated experiences and knowledge.”
Carvalho is co-director of the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative, which supports work on urban life, social and political structures, design, and history with a focus on interdisciplinary approaches.
He also serves as co-chair of the Art, Film, & Culture Committee at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, where he works to increase the presence of Latin American arts at Harvard through events, collaborations, and scholarship, as well as to strengthen ties between Harvard and cultural institutions throughout Latin America.