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Lúcia Helena Costigan

Lúcia Helena Costigan

Lúcia Helena Costigan

Professor of Spanish and Portuguese


(614) 292-0833

246 Hagerty Hall
1775 College Road
Columbus, OH

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Areas of Expertise

  • Comparative Luso-Hispanic Studies
  • Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian Studies
  • Colonial Latin American Literature and Culture


  • Ph.D., Hispanic Languages and Literature, University of Pittsburgh, 1989
  • M.A Spanish (and a Certificate in Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies), University of Pittsburgh, 1985
  • M.Ed. School Administration and Supervision, Boston College, 1978
  • B.A. Modern Languages and Literatures
  • B.A., Modern Languages and Literature, Federal University of Goiás, Brazil, 1974

Professor Lúcia Costigan’s teaching and research interests include colonial Latin American, Afro-Brazilian, early modern Iberian literatures and cultures, religious, and ethnic studies. Costigan is a major force in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Ohio State University. She has been a trailblazer in spreading knowledge about Brazil, Portugal, the countries of the Portuguese-speaking world, and Latin American studies. Her contribution to the establishment and development of the Portuguese program at the undergraduate and graduate levels has been immeasurable. Her publications include Through Cracks in the Wall: Modern Inquisitions and New Christian Letrados in the Iberian Atlantic World (Brill Academic Publishers, 2010), which was written with grants received from the American Council for Learned Societies, and the John Carter Brown Library. It analyzes literary writings and inquisitional testimonies produced in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries by descendants of Iberian Jews forced to convert to Christianity in the late medieval and early modern periods. Also, A sátira e o intelectual criollo na colônia: Gregório de Matos e Juan del Valle y Caviedes (Latinoamericana Editores, 1991), which is a comparative study of satirical poetry produced by a Brazilian and a Peruvian criollo during the second half of the sevententh century.

Lúcia Costigan has edited (with Beatriz González Stephan), Crítica y descolonización: El sujeto colonial en la cultura latinoamericana (1992); has directed and edited (with Leoplodo Bernucci), the special issue of Revista Iberoamericana,“O Brasil, a América Hispânica e o Caribe: Abordagens Comparativas”, (1998); edited Diálogos da conversão: missionários, índios, negros e judeus no contexto ibero-americano do período barroco (2005); and has served as special-guest editor of a special volume of the jornal, Research in African Literatures, which focused on “Lusophone African and Afro-Brazilian Literatures” (2007). This special issue of Research in African Literatures was co-edited with Russell Hamilton.

Throughout her career, Professor Costigan has received many grants and awards from prestigious organizations, including the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, a Fulbright-Hays Grant, two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies and the John Carter Brown Library, a Mendel Fellowship from The Lilly Library at Indiana University, and The Lilly Award for Teaching and Service to Ohio State University.

She has developed many undergraduate and graduate courses. Additionally, she has developed and directed over a dozen study abroad programs for students at Ohio State University and Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions. She has also collaborated with the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Fisher College of Business, the Thompson Library, and the Center for Latin American Studies. She was responsible for bringing Gilberto Gil, who received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from Ohio State University. Finally, as part of her National Endowment for the Humanities grant, she brought renowned professors from Unicamp and USP.

Select Publications


2022                 Grietas en la Pared: Conversos Letrados e Inquisiciones Modernas en el Mundo Iberoatlántico
Puebla: Editorial Universidad de las Américas Puebla, 255 p.

2022                 “A Transhistorical and Translocal View of the Luso-Brazilian Imperial/Colonial World Through the Poetry of Gregório de Matos (1636-1695) and Domingos Caldas Barbosa (1740-1800)” A Special Volume Edited by Jerome Branche. Vanderbilt University, p.161-190.

2019                 “The Rise of the Modern Inquisition in Portugal and Brazil, and the Transformation of Jews and New Christians into Heretics”. Brill Companion to Heresy Inquisitions. Donald Prudlo, Editor. Leiden/Boston: Brill Academic Publishers.

2018                 A Doença/ Domingos Caldas Barbosa: Organização, apresentação e notas. Lúcia Helena Costigan Fernando Morato. São Paulo: Editora 34, 111p.

2015                 Costigan, Lúcia y Denilson Lopes, “Silviano Santiago y los Estudios Latinoamericanos.  Revista Iberoamericana. Série Críticas. Instituto Iberoamericano, University of Pittsburgh., 282p.

2010                Costigan, Lúcia. Through Cracks in the Wall: Modern Inquisitions and Letrados New Christians in the Iberian Atlantic World. Leiden/Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. The Atlantic World Series: Europe, Africa and the Americas, 1500-1839.

2007                 Costigan, Lúcia Helena and Russell Hamilton, guest editors. Research in African Literatures. “Lusophone African and Afro-Brazilian Literatures.” Vol. 38.1.

2005                 Costigan, Lúcia Helena, editor Diálogos da conversão: missionários, índios, negros e judeus no contexto ibero-americano do período barroco. Campinas: Editora da UNICAMP.

2005                 Editor and director. “From ‘Excessive Friendships’ to Cannibalism Revisited: Brazilian and Spanish American Literary and Cultural Encounters.”CHASQUI: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana. Special Issue No.1.

1998                 Costigan, Lúcia Helena, director. Leopoldo Bernucci and Lúcia H. Costigan, coords. “O Brasil, a América Hispânica e o Caribe: Abordagens Comparativas.” Revista Iberoamericana 64, 182-183, enero-junio, 1998. 340 pp.

1996                 Costigan, Lúcia Helena, guest editor and director. “O comparatismo na América Latina: Abordagemcultural/situações coloniais e pós-coloniais.” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana 45, Sección Monográfica I. 1er semester, 1997.

1992                 Costigan, Lúcia Helena and Beatriz González Stephan, coords. Crítica y descolonización: El sujeto colonial en la cultura latinoamericana. Caracas: Academia Nacional de la Historia. Pp. 669.
Reviewed in: Revista Iberoamericana 172-173 (1995): 703-705. 
Notas: Reseñas Iberoamericanas. Literatura, Sociedad, Historia 2 (1994): 58-60. 
Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana 22:2 (1993):162-163.

1991                 A sátira e o intelectual criollo na colônia: Gregório de Matos e Juan del Valle y Caviedes. Pittsburgh -Lima: Latinoamericana Editores. Pp. 171.
Reviewed in: Luso-Brazilian Review 31:1(1994): 137-139.
Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana 23:2(1994):155-156.
Colonial Latin American Review 2(1993):300-302.
Brasil/Brazil 8(1992) 5:97-100.

Ongoing Projects

Guest editor of the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute’s special issue “Medieval Judaism and Jewish Diaspora: with an emphasis on Crypto-Judaism

English translation of “The Malady: A Poem by the Afro-Brazilian Domingos Caldas Barbosa that Narrates his Life and the Prejudices he Endured in 18th Century Portugal.”

“Jews and New Christians in the Crossfire of Imperial Conflicts in Seventeenth-Century Brazil and Mexico” conducted with a grant by Fulbright 

Other Projects

2022                A&H Outreach/Engagement granted by the Dean Renga to create a circulating library of books written in Portuguese for children and young adults of the Brazilian and Portuguese-speaking migrants of Columbus.

2021-2             Received a Fulbright grant to conduct research in the archives of the Archivo General de la Nación, Biblioteca Palafoxiana, and other archives in Mexico for a book project on political and religious conflicts that erupted in the New Spain after the separation of Portugal from the Spanish empire in 1640, and that resulted in the Inquisition persecution of hundreds of New Christians of Portuguese origin.


Graduate and Undergraduate Courses Planned and Developed
Portuguese 2330, 2331
Portuguese 3401, 3402, 3403, 3450;
Portuguese 5501, 5502, 5510, 5520, 5530, 5650
Portuguese 7500, 8500 


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