Jerry Dávila holds the Jorge Paulo Lemann Chair in Brazilian History at the University of Illinois. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Illinois Global Institute, established in 2019 to advance UIUC's work with international area studies centers and global themes.
Dávila's research focuses on in the influence of racial thought in public policy in Brazil, as well as the state and social movements in the twentieth century.
He is the author of several books including Hotel Trópico: Brazil and the Challenge of African Decolonization (Duke, 2010), recipient of the Latin Studies Association Brazil Section Book Prize; and of Diploma of Whiteness: Race and Social Policy in Brazil, 1917-1945 (Duke, 2003).
In 2000, Dávila taught as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of São Paulo, and in 2005, he held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. He has also received the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the Fulbright-Hays Research Fellowship.
He has written for publications including the New York Times and the Cairo Review about the experiences of military rule and redemocratization in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, the subject of his Dictatorship in South America (Wiley, 2013). Dávila is also a co-author of A History of World Societies (Macmillan, 2018).
He is past-president of the Conference on Latin American History, the affiliate of the American Historical Association dedicated to the study of Latin America.