Heather Roller - Professor of History

Colgate Directory


Heather Roller

Assistant Professor of History
History, 322 Alumni Hall
p 315-228-7563


BA 2002, Yale University; MA 2005, PhD 2010, Stanford University

Teaching Experience

I am on leave during the 2013-2014 academic year.
  • Hist 230: The Making of Latin America
  • Hist 231: Resistance and Revolt in Latin America
  • Hist 358: Conquest and Colony: Cultural Encounters in the New World
  • Hist 322: Race and Ethnicity in Latin America
  • Hist 480: Latin American History from Below (senior seminar)
  • FSEM 192: Ethnohistory of the Amazon
  • Core 193: Brazil


Amazonia and Brazil; native peoples under colonial rule; autonomous native groups; mobility and migration; maps and spatial history; borderlands; ethnohistory.

My current project, Contact Strategies: Independent Indians in the Brazilian Borderlands, examines the political choices of autonomous native groups in the interior of Brazil during the eighteenth century.  Focusing on their interactions with Portuguese colonial society, this study explores the efforts of Indian nations to preserve their sovereignty through various forms of contact, and how these strategies changed over time.


  • Amazonian Routes:  Indigenous Mobility and Colonial Communities in Northern Brazil (forthcoming in Spring 2014 with Stanford University Press).
  • “River Guides, Geographical Informants, and Colonial Field Agents in the Portuguese Amazon,” Colonial Latin American Review 21:1 (April 2012), 101-126.

  • “Colonial Collecting Expeditions and the Pursuit of Opportunities in the Amazonian Sertão, c. 1750-1800,” The Americas 66:4 (April 2010), 435-467.  [Versão em português:  “Expedições coloniais de coleta e a busca por oportunidades no sertão amazônico, c. 1750-1800,” Revista de História 168 (July 2013), 201-243.]


  • ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowship (2013-2014)
  • Garrison Fellowship for most creative scholarly project, from the Colgate Research Council (2012)
  • Major Grant for research in Brazil, Colgate Research Council (2012)
  • Warren Dean Prize, honorable mention, for most significant work of Brazilian history (CLAH, 2011)
  • Tibesar Prize for most distinguished article in The Americas (CLAH, 2010)
  • Helen Hornbeck Tanner Award, American Society for Ethnohistory (2009)
  • Mabelle McLeod Lewis Dissertation Fellowship (2008-2009)
  • Fulbright-Hays Research Abroad Fellowship for Brazil (2006-2007)
  • Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies (2003-2004)