Common Ground: Brodwyn Fischer and Marco Garrido

What is a city? For two social scientists, looking beyond the urban centers of Europe and North America, that question has no easy answer.


Brodwyn Fischer is Professor of Latin American History and the College, and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies. Marco Garrido is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. Through distinct lines of research, they’ve both found that the very effort to define and formalize urban life can often backfire and lead to unexpected social and political transformations.


Fischer is a historian of Brazil and Latin America whose research is focused the urban dynamics of inequality, law, race, poverty, and social movements. Fischer’s current work addresses some of the surprising  ways in which struggles for survival and social mobility have historically reinforced rather than disrupted larger inequalities within Brazilian society.


Garrido studies contention between the urban poor and middle class in Metro Manila, Philippines. A forthcoming book traces the processes linking segregation and populism.


Fischer and Garrido met recently to discuss their mutual interests, and we caught up with them to hear more about their research. Read excerpts from their conversation here.