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In Memoriam: Boris Fausto (1930-2023)

Bruna Santos

The Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute mourns the passing of historian Boris Fausto

The Brazil Institute mourns the passing of eminent Brazilian historian and public intellectual Boris Fausto, who passed away at the age of 92 in São Paulo, surrounded by family and close friends. A prolific writer and respected thinker, Fausto's work on Brazil's Republican period and crime in early 20th century São Paulo has left an indelible mark on the understanding of the country's history. 

Born into a non-religious Sephardi Jewish family that immigrated to Brazil before the Second World War, Boris Fausto earned his PhD from the University of São Paulo (USP). Throughout his career, he distinguished himself as a researcher, lawyer, and educator. He taught at prestigious institutions such as Brown University and was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 1981 to 1982.

Fausto's legacy extends beyond his own work, as he has inspired generations of scholars. He is survived by his two sons, both accomplished in their own right. Sociologist Sergio Fausto, who serves as the executive director of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Foundation, and anthropologist Carlos Fausto is a senior researcher of Brazil's indigenous peoples at the National Library.

As we reflect on the life and contributions of Boris Fausto, we honor his commitment to understanding the complexities of Brazil's past and his passion for sharing this knowledge with others. His work will continue to inspire and inform future generations of scholars, ensuring his enduring impact on the study of Brazilian history.

The Brazil Institute extends its deepest condolences to the Fausto family, and to all who have been touched by the life and work of Boris Fausto.


About the Author

Bruna Santos

Bruna Santos

Director, Brazil Institute
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Brazil Institute

The Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—works to foster understanding of Brazil’s complex reality and to support more consequential relations between Brazilian and U.S. institutions in all sectors. The Brazil Institute plays this role by producing independent research and programs that bridge the gap between scholarship and policy, and by serving as a crossroads for leading policymakers, scholars and private sector representatives who are committed to addressing Brazil’s challenges and opportunities.  Read more