Cecilia MacDowell Santos


Cecília MacDowell Santos holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of California-Berkeley and a Master in Law from the University of São Paulo. She is Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) at the University of Coimbra and Professor of Sociology at the University of San Francisco (USF). At CES she is a member of the Research Group on Democracy, Citizenship and Law (DECIDe), co-coordinates the PhD program on "Human Rights in Contemporary Societies" and teaches for this and the PhD program "Sociology of the State, Law, and Justice". Her current research interests center on two subject areas: discourses and practices on violence against women and legal mobilization of human rights at the local, national and transnational scales. Within the first subject area, she has studied the relations between the State, the criminal justice system and the women's movements in Brazil, with a focus on laws and policies to confront domestic violence against women. Regarding the second subject area, she has studied transnational mobilization practices for women's human rights, indigenous rights, and the right to political memory, especially in the contexts of Brazil and the inter-American system of human rights. She has also focused her studies on transnational legal mobilization of human rights in the Portuguese and European context. She is the author of Women's Police Stations: Gender, Violence, and Justice in São Paulo, Brazil (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), editor of A Mobilização Transnacional do Direito: Portugal e o Tribunal Europeu dos Direitos Humanos (Almedina Press, 2012), and co-editor of Quem Precisa dos Direitos Humanos? Precariedades, Diferenças, Interculturalidades (Almedina Press, 2019), Desarquivando a Ditadura: Memória e Justiça no Brasil (Hucitec Press, 2009) and Repressão e Memória Política no Contexto Ibero-Brasileiro: Estudos sobre Brasil, Guatemala, Moçambique, Peru e Portugal (Ministério da Justiça do Brasil, 2010). Her work has also been published in several edited volumes and peer-reviewed international journals, including Latin American Research Review, Latin American Perspectives, Cadernos PAGU, Revista Estudos Feministas, Journal of Human Rights Practice, Sur-International Journal on Human Rights, among others.

Latest Publications

Book Chapter

Santos, Cecilia MacDowell (2021), Women's Human Rights, Legal Mobilization and Epistemologies of the South, in Boaventura de Sousa Santos; Bruno Sena Martins (org.), The Pluriverse of Human Rights: The Diversity of Struggles for Dignity: The Diversity of Struggles for Dignity. New York: Routledge, 168-185

Book Chapter

Santos, Cecilia MacDowell; Carlet, Flávia (2020), Advocacia Popular e Ativismo Jurídico Transnacional: Contornos Conceituais à Luz das Epistemologias do Sul, in José Ricardo Cunha (org.), Teorias Críticas e Crítica do Direito. Rio de Janeiro: Lumen Juris, 85-124

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Book Chapter

Santos, Cecilia MacDowell (2019), Dualismo Jurídico e Estado Bipolar: Desafios aos Direitos Humanos dos Povos Indígenas no Brasil, in Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Cecília MacDowell Santos, Bruno Sena Martins (org.), Quem Precisa dos Direitos Humanos? Precariedades, diferenças, interculturalidades. Coimbra: Almedina, 241-275