William Summerhill has taught at UCLA since 1994. After having taken his M.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science at the University of Florida he received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1995. His research focuses on the determinants of long-run political and economic change in Latin America, with particular emphasis on Brazil.
He has held visiting appointments at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, in the Departamento de Economia of the Universidade de São Paulo, was a visiting scholar at the Escola de Pós-Graduação em Economia of the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (EPGE-FGV), and a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities have supported his research. He has presented invited talks at the Universidade de, EPGE-FGV, the Instituto de Estudos de Política Econômica/Casa das Garças, and the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, among other Brazilian universities, as well as the Banco de la República (Colombia) and IMT-Lucca (Italy). At present he is completing a book re-examining the broad economic consequences of colonialism, dependency, and slavery, provisionally titled “The Origins of Economic Backwardness in Brazil, 1750-1900." He is co-editor of the Revista de Historia Económica.