With great sadness, the History Department shares the news that Bert J. Barickman, Associate Professor of History, died on Saturday, November 12. He came to the University of Arizona as an assistant professor in 1990 and taught his last class two days before his death. Professor Barickman enjoyed a close affiliation with Latin American Studies as well as History. A historian of Brazil and modern Latin America, his early work examined slave households and plantation agriculture in the Bahia, drawing on innovative research in census and parish records. His first book, A Bahian Counterpoint: Sugar, tobacco, cassava, and slavery in the Recôncavo, earned him an international reputation and a passionate circle of admirers in Brazil. More recently, he has been completing a self-described “social history of urban sea-bathing and beach-going” in Rio de Janeiro, a project that he was quick to remind us took him to archives and libraries, but not, for the most part, to the beach itself. His hope, he wrote, was “to tackle broader issues in the city’s history, such as the changing intersections of race and class, conflicts over public space, gendered rules regarding the use of urban space, and evolving views about morality, ‘civilization,’ health, and modernity.”
Professor Barickman was a beloved teacher and had received awards from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies. For the past twenty-seven years, he has served as an advisor for nearly every MA and Ph.D. candidate in Latin American History and his graduate colloquium in Brazilian history had become legendary. Each year, the class ended with a public competition that included historical reenactments, costumes, processions, and renditions of the Brazilian national anthem, all streamed-live so that alumni could join in and vote on the winner.
A memorial service for Professor Barickman will be held on Sunday, December 4, at 2:00 in the Silver and Sage Room of Old Main. A Graduate Fellowship in Latin American History and Latin American Studies will be established in his name.