Andrews, George Reid 1951-

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Andrews, George Reid 1951-


Born April 10, 1951, in New Haven, CT; son of George Reid Andrews (a psychiatrist) and Barbara Andrews (a lawyer); married Roye A. Werner (a librarian), June 30, 1974; children: Lena, Jesse, Eve. Education: Attended Mount Holyoke College, 1970-71; Dartmouth College, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1972; University of Wisconsin—Madison, M.A., 1974, Ph.D., 1978. Politics: Social Democrat. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, playing and listening to music, bicycling, canoeing, the beach.


Home—Pittsburgh, PA. Office—Department of History, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer, educator. Pan American Society of New England, Boston, MA, librarian and director of Shattuck Library, 1977-78; Social Science Research Council, New York City, staff associate, 1978-81; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, assistant professor, 1981-83, associate professor, 1983-91, professor of history, 1991—, chair, department of history, 1998-2001, and 2006-07.


American Historical Association (program committee, 2003), Latin American Studies Association, Conference on Latin American History, Phi Beta Kappa.


Grant, Foreign Area Fellowship Program, 1973; Fulbright fellowship, 1975-76, and senior grant, 1984-85; Herfurth Award, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1981, for The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires, 1800-1900; grants from National Endowment for the Humanities, 1983, and Social Science Research Council, 1984-85; fellow, University of Pittsburgh's Center for Latin American Studies, 1988; Arthur P. Whitaker Prize, Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies, 1993, for Blacks and Whites in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988, and 2005, for Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000; Guggenheim Fellowship, 1996; Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Pittsburgh, 1996; Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship, 2001.


The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires, 1800-1900, University of Wisconsin Press, 1980.

Blacks and Whites in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988, University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.

(Editor) The Social Construction of Democracy, 1870-1990, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Work represented in anthologies, including The Abolition of Slavery and the Aftermath of Emancipation in Brazil, edited by Rebecca J. Scott and others, Duke University Press, 1988. Contributor of articles and reviews to history and Latin American studies journals. Member of editorial board, Journal of Social History, 1984—, Hispanic American Historical Review, 1992-95, and Pittsburgh Latin American Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995—.


George Reid Andrews is an American academic and historian who specializes in Latin America. The author of numerous books on the region, Andrews told CA that he came to his chosen profession by a circuitous route: "I came to this subject largely by chance. I had initially wanted to go to graduate school in English history and become a historian of Great Britain and its empire. However, the only language I had studied in high school or college was Spanish, and this forced a switch to Latin America. One day, while trying to decide on a dissertation topic, I happened to accompany my wife to the bank. While she went about her business, I picked up a magazine in the waiting area. The bank was located on Chicago's South Side, the magazine happened to be Ebony, and the cover story was ‘Argentina: Land of the Vanishing Blacks.’ The article posed the mystery of the Afro-Argentines who, in 1800, had constituted perhaps a quarter of the national population, but who, by 1900, had virtually disappeared. What had happened to them? Where had they gone? What a perfect topic, I thought. So, off we went to Argentina, where I researched and wrote The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires, 1800-1900."

Andrews soon moved on to other topics and countries in Latin America. As he explained to CA: "After the book was published I received some invitations to give public lectures about the subject. After a while I got tired of talking only about Argentina and decided that it would be interesting to draw some comparisons with Brazil, which has the largest black population in the Americas (twice as large as that of the United States; only Nigeria, in fact, has more black people than Brazil). As I did background reading on Afro-Brazilian history, I was surprised to see how little had been written on the subject. Having visited Brazil while we were in Argentina, and wanting badly to go back, I decided to write a book on that country's black experience, Blacks and Whites in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988." Reviewing that work in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, John R. Hall noted that "Andrews challenges the received notion of Brazil as a ‘racial democracy.’" Andrews traces changing racial relations in Brazil since the emancipation of the slaves in 1888. Hall offered a mixed assessment of Andrews's second book. On the one hand, Hall commented, "Andrews provides a readable and engaging narrative that will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the interplay of race, class, and state in Brazilian history." However, Hall also went on to observe, "Yet, as a project of interdisciplinary history, Blacks and Whites in Sao Paulo must be judged a disappointment." Howard Winant, writing in the Journal of Latin American Studies, had a higher assessment of the work, writing: "George Reid Andrews has made a significant contribution to our knowledge of the subject by exploring in depth the evolution of black-white patterns in Sao Paulo." Winant went on to conclude: "Although Andrews does not achieve a full-scale critique of Brazilian racial dynamics, his work is still a major, indeed an indispensable, addition to our knowledge of the subject. It is truly a formidable achievement in many respects." Similarly, Thomas E. Skidmore, writing in the Journal of Social History, noted that this "excellent monograph should inspire researchers to look at the history of race relations in other regions of Brazil."

In his 1995 book, The Social Construction of Democracy, 1870-1990, Andrews edits a collection of scholarly essays dealing with the topic of the development of democracy in France, Germany, Mexico, the United States, Argentina, Japan, and Eastern Europe. Writing in the Journal of Social History, Barrington Moore, Jr., praised the narrative style of the essays, noting: "With one exception all the contributions display a very high order of workmanship. They are also blessedly readable, partly because they avoid the use of ephemeral buzz words." Moore further observed, "The great merit of all the other papers is that every article illuminates some general social process connected with democratic movements even if the paper is about a part of the world in which the general reader may have a very limited interest."

In Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000 "Andrews argues that by consistently struggling against enslavement and in favour of equality and inclusion, African captives and their descendants have made significant contributions towards democratisation in Latin America," commented Journal of Latin American Studies contributor Jaime Arocha. Arocha also praised Andrews for creating a book that "is characterised by admirably jargon-free language and logical argumentation, and addresses highly topical political processes." Further praise came from Historian critic Jose C. Moya, who concluded, "Overall, this is an excellent and engagingly written historical synthesis that manages to be both nuanced and broad. It combines a wealth of empirical information with incisive analysis and should appeal to students and scholars alike."

Andrews concluded of his work: "Academic prose is notoriously awful, and eventually I had to accept the sad truth that nobody would ever read such writing for pleasure. Readers come to us for information and analysis, which I try to provide in as clear, direct, and economical a style as possible. The goal of economy is particularly difficult, and somewhat counter-productive from a professional point of view, since academics are rewarded in direct relation to the quantity of stuff they publish. This is why so much of it is not very good. Even within the genre of academic writing, however, there are degrees of better and worse; and within those criteria I try to produce well-crafted work that will be used and consulted for at least a few years to come."



Historian, December 22, 2006, Jose C. Moya, review of Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000, p. 824.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, January 1, 1994, John R. Hall, review of Blacks and Whites in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988, p. 575.

Journal of Latin American Studies, May 1, 1994, Howard Winant, review of Blacks and Whites in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988, p. 487; August 1, 2007, Jaime Arocha, review of Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000, p. 685.

Journal of Social History, June 22, 1994, Thomas E. Skidmore, review of Blacks and Whites in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988, p. 824; June 22, 1996, Barrington Moore, Jr., review of The Social Construction of Democracy, 1870-1990, p. 973.


University of Pittsburgh, Department of History Web site, (April 14, 2008), "George Reid Andrews."

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