Messias Basques

Photo of Messias Basques

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies

Hollander Hall Rm 213
At Williams since 2023


Messias Basques is an Afro-Brazilian anthropologist. In 2018, inspired by a collective of Black undergraduate students, he co-created with them a syllabus entirely based on pioneering Black anthropologists from the African continent and the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean. In 2022, the Brazilian Anthropological Association awarded the initiative the Best Teaching Project in Brazil. It also received the Award for Science Communication.

Over the past few years, he has been editing and translating into Brazilian Portuguese books by Zora Neale Hurston, Sefi Atta, Junot Díaz, and John Steinbeck. In 2021, he wrote an introduction to the Brazilian edition of Barracoon: the Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston.

He graduated from the University of São Paulo with a BA in Social Sciences and earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro (2020). From July 2022 to June 2023, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University. He is one of the Fellows of the Leadership Program of the American Anthropological Association (2023).

At the Department of Africana Studies, he will work on a book based on his teaching project, Black Voices in Anthropology. And he also looks forward to encouraging students to learn from and connect with Black and Indigenous authors from the Global South.


Ph.D. National Museum, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2020)

Areas of Expertise

The Study of the Lives and Work of Pioneering Black Anthropologists.
Racism and Antiracism in the History of Anthropology.
Indigenous Peoples in Brazil.

Scholarship/Creative Work

Book chapters

  • Africana Meets Anthropology: What it Means to Teach with an Afrodiasporic Framework. In C. Edwards & A. Pitre (Eds.). New Perspectives in Africana Studies: Volume 1. San Francisco, CA: SFSU Press. (Forthcoming).
  • Introduction to the Brazilian Edition, In HURSTON, Zora Neale. Olualê Kossola. Rio de Janeiro: Record, 2021.
  • Indigenous Equestrianism: Brief Notes on the Kadiwéu People’s Horse Riding. In CARVALHO, P.; SOARES, J., BANDEIRA, M. (Eds.). Bodies in movement. Curitiba: Appris, 2019.

Editorial work 

  • Since 2021: Anthropological consultant and technical reviewer in the editing and translation into Brazilian Portuguese of the following books:

Zora Neale Hurston
Her Eyes Were Watching God
Barracoon: the Story of the Last “Black Cargo”
You Don’t Know Us Negroes

Paterson Joseph
The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho

Junot Díaz
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Sefi Atta
The Bad Immigrant

John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath
East of Eden

  • 2009-2013: Co-founder and former editor of R@U: Revista de Antropologia da UFSCar. ISSN: 2175.4705, Brazil.

  • 2011: Editorial Assistant at Cosac & Naify Publishers. Project: Translation and publishing of The Naked Man: Mythologiques, Volume 4, by Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

  • AAA Leadership Fellows Program. Awarded by the American Anthropological Association, 2023.
  • Best Teaching Project in Brazil – “Black Voices in Anthropology.” Awarded by the Brazilian Anthropological Association, 2022.
  • First Award for Science Communication in Anthropology – “Black Voices in Anthropology.” Awarded by the Brazilian Anthropological Association, 2022.

Professional Affiliations

  • Brazilian Anthropological Association (ABA).
  • Brazilian Association of Black Researchers (ABPN).
  • American Anthropological Association (AAA) – section of Black Anthropologists.