Faculty Directory

Jeffrey Erbig
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Latin American & Latino Studies
  • Affiliations Research Center for the Americas
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Academic Building, 109
  • Office Hours Winter 2020: Thursdays, 2-4 p.m.
  • Mail Stop Merrill College

Biography, Education and Training

My research and teaching address the construction of borders over time and the movement of people across them. I also analyze the ways that historical documents are produced and curated, and how those processes structure historical memory and geographical imaginations. I tend to focus broadly on the Americas, but I have particular interest in southeastern South America (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Southern Brazil).


My first book, Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met, explores how autonomous Indigenous communities known as Charrúas and Minuanes responded to Ibero-American efforts to create a border between Brazil and Spanish South America. My current research considers the colonial practices of banishment and penal colonization as forerunners to modern penitentiaries and deportation regimes.


Prior to joining the LALS faculty, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department at the University of New Mexico. I received my PhD in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Honors, Awards and Grants

New Faculty Research Grant (UCSC's Committee on Research), 2019


Jeannette D. Black Memorial Fellowship (The John Carter Brown Library), 2016


Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in Humanities & Fine Arts (The Graduate School of UNC-Chapel Hill), 2016


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (American Council of Learned Societies), 2014-2015


IIE Graduate Fellowship for International Study (Rescued Fulbright-Hays), 2011-2012

Selected Publications


Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met: Border Making in Eighteenth-Century South America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press (forthcoming, 2020)


Articles & Book Chapters

“Property Mapping in Spanish America,” in The History of Cartography: Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, Roger Kain, ed., v. 5. Chicago, University of Chicago Press (forthcoming, 2022)


“Across Archival Limits: Imperial Records, Changing Ethnonyms, and Geographies of Knowledge,” with Sergio Latini, Ethnohistory 66, no. 2 (2019): 249-273


“Borderline Offerings: Tolderías and Mapmakers in the Eighteenth-Century Río de la Plata” Hispanic American Historical Review 96, no. 3 (2016): 445-480


Works in Progress

“Onde nômades e geógrafos se encontram: charruas, minuanes e a demarcação de limites no Rio da Prata” em Produzindo Fronteiras: entrecruzando escalas, povos e impérios na América portuguesa (XVII-XIX). Iris Kantor e Diogo Ramada Curto, eds. (under review, Hucitec)


“Between Ethnonyms and Toponyms: Cartography and Native Pasts in the Eastern Río de la Plata,” in Prado, Fabrício, Viviana Grieco, and Alex Borucki, eds., Río de la Plata: From the Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Century, New York: Palgrave Macmillian (under contract)


“Recent Turns in the History of Cartography in Latin America,” with Brian Bockelman, History Compass (working paper)

Teaching Interests

Dr. Erbig's teaching focuses on Latin America broadly, with a special focus on Southern South America and Brazil. His topical courses address colonialism, nationalism, spatial thought, migration, and the historical agency of Indigenous Americans and African Americans. He also teaches a methods course on digital mapping in the social sciences and humanities.