Professor Alberto’s research explores the intersections of ideologies of race and nation in Latin America and their power to shape ideas and experiences of citizenship and national belonging across the region since independence, particularly in Brazil and Argentina. Her work is broadly concerned with the ways that competing definitions of race and nation, enunciated by political and intellectual elites as well as by people of color since the nineteenth century, produced different kinds of multi-racial societies and different ideas about the meanings of racial inclusiveness across Latin America.
Professor Alberto is the author of multiple articles on issues of racial activism and racial ideologies in modern Brazil and Argentina, and of Terms of Inclusion: Black Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century Brazil (UNC Press, 2011; winner of the 2013 Warren Dean Memorial Prize and co-winner of the 2012 Roberto Reis Award). Terms of Inclusion charts the changing terms through which self-defined black intellectuals in three major Brazilian cities negotiated the meanings of racial inclusiveness in their multi-racial nation, and the place of people of African descent within it, between 1920 and 1980. Alberto is also co-editor (with Eduardo Elena, University of Miami) of the forthcoming volume Rethinking Race in Modern Argentina: Shades of the Nation (under contract with Cambridge University Press), an interdisciplinary collection of essays that places twentieth- and twenty-first century Argentina in conversation with the literature on race and nation in Latin America more broadly. Her current book manuscript, "Racial Stories: Lives, Deaths, and Afterlives of Argentina's 'Negro Raúl' (1880-2010)" reconstructs both the biography and the legends surrounding Raúl Grigera, a popular Afro-Argentine street figure from the early twentieth century, to understand the role of collective storytelling in constructions of “whiteness” and “blackness” in modern Argentina and the power of these stories to shape individual fates.
Professor Alberto’s teaching ranges from introductory surveys on the discipline of history or on modern Latin America to upper-level courses, taught in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, on a range of topics in Latin American history, culture and literature (Brazil’s black press, Brazil’s multi-ethnic popular culture, literatures of race and nation in Latin America, race and gender in Argentine historical fiction), as well as graduate courses on specialized topics (race and nation in Latin America, Afro-Latin-America, history and narrative).