William Summerhill is a historian of Brazil. His research interests include sovereign debt, banking and finance, education and human capital, railroads and the provision of infrastructure, and inequality. He is the author of Inglorious Revolution: Political Institutions, Sovereign Debt, and Financial Underdevelopment in Imperial Brazil (Yale University Press, 2015), and Order Against Progress: Government, Foreign Investment, and Railroads in Brazil, 1854-1913 (Stanford University Press, 2003). He is completing a book on the roles of Brazilian slave traders and London bankers in state-building in the early nineteenth century.
Summerhill has been a visting professor at the Universidade de São Paulo (FEA/USP), the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). He was a visiting research scholar at the Escola de Pós-Graduação em Economia of the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (EPGE-FGV), and a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He has presented his research at Insper, the Universidade de São Paulo, EPGE-FGV, the Instituto de Estudos de Política Econômica/Casa das Garças, Unicamp, the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, the Universidade Federal de Pelotas, and the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro.
Notes: Inglorious Revolution highlighted by Elio Gaspari in Folha de S.Paulo (February 2016); interviewed by Márcio Kroehn in IstoÉ Dinheiro, “O Brasil tem um estado enorme para um país emergente,” (February 2016); Inglorious Revolution profiled in Americas Quarterly by Asher Levine, “What a 19th Century Default Says About Brazil’s Crisis Today,” (Winter 2016); Inglorious Revolution recommended reading at Casa das Garças (February 2016); interviewed in Rafael Cariello’s story on the search for Nathaniel Leff, “À Procura de Leff,” in Revista Piauí (January 2016) (English version here); “Brazil’s Meltdown,” Yale Books Unbound (December 2015); mention in the Folha de S.Paulo; cited in the O Estado de S.Paulo; quoted in the Wall Street Journal; interview by Jorge Felix in Valor Econômico, “Lições da história econômica”; coverage by the research foundation of the state of São Paulo (FAPESP): “Quem não deve não tem crédito”; cited by Elio Gaspari in Folha de S.Paulo (2004).
Before taking up a career in research and teaching (and occasionally after) he served as an Army paratrooper, and regularly speaks to campus student veteran groups.