Steven Eric Byrd

Steven Eric Byrd, Ph.D.

Professor of Spanish and Portuguese


Decary Hall 351
Biddeford Campus

Steven ("Esteban") Byrd came to UNE from the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Ph.D. in Iberian and Latin American Linguistics. He also has studied in Mexico, at the Universidad de las Américas-Puebla, where he earned an M.A. in Language and Literature, and in Brazil as a study abroad student, at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. His teaching includes a variety of courses in Spanish, linguistics, literature, and Latin American culture. He has taken UNE students to a variety of countries as part of his teaching and service, including Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, and Cuba. In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Debra J. Summers Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. His research includes Afro-Brazilian language and the culinary history and culture of Brazil. His service focuses on theater and producing plays and musicals at UNE with the UNE Players drama club, for which he won a UNE Leadership Award for Student Organization Advisor of the Year in 2019. He also dabbles with creative writing, such as short stories and plays, as well as plays guitar and travels during his free time.



Ph.D. Iberian and Latin American Linguistics
University of Texas at Austin


Current research

Culinary history/culture of Brazil

Selected publications

2017. "Comida Mineira: A 'Cultural Patrimony' of Brazil." Global Food History Vol. 4, Issue 1, pp. 78-97.

2012. Calunga and the legacy of an African language in Brazil. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

2012. “The Afro-Brazilian speech of Calunga: historical, sociolinguistic, and linguistic considerations.” The Journal of Pan African Studies Vol. 5, Num. 5, pp. 101-123.

2010. "The lexicon of Calunga and a lexical comparison with other forms of Afro-Brazilian speech from Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Bahia." Research Paper Series No. 52. Latin American and Iberian Institute (University of New Mexico).

2010. “The lexicon of Calunga – an Afro-Brazilian speech of Minas Gerais.” Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics Vol. 3, Issue 1, pp. 41-76.

2007. “Calunga and Calungadores: An Afro-Brazilian speech community of Minas Gerais.” Afro-Hispanic Review Vol. 26, Num. 2, pp. 27-45 (co-authored with Daniela Bassani Moraes).

2007. “Calunga: uma fala afro-brasileira de Minas Gerais, sua gramática e história.” Revista Internacional de Lingüística Iberoamericana Vol. V, No. 1 (9), pp. 203-224.

Other scholarly activity

2019. “Teatro e drama em Araxá.” In Araxá em detalhes: Um novo olhar, edited by Luiz Humberto França. Divinópolis, Brazil: Gulliver Editora, pp. 188-201. 

2018. “Infamous” (‘Famigerado’) by João Guimarães Rosa. Translated from the Portuguese by Steven Byrd. In Becoming Brazil: New fiction, poetry, and memoir, edited by Frank Stewart, Eric M.B. Becker, and Noah Perales-Estoesta. Manoa (University of Hawaii Press) Vol. 30, Num. 2, pp. 171-174.

2017. “Where’s John Dewey and Paulo Freire? Ideas for ‘recovering’ the ‘lost C’.” Hispania Vol. 100.5, pp. 181-182 (co-authored with Samuel McReynolds).

2016. “Languages as cultural ecosystems and why students should explore them.” American Councils for International Education, Dec. 18, 2016. Online at:

2016. “A aventura da Tazi.” In Histórias malucas de crianças, bichos e algumas assombrações, edited by Ronaldo Simões Coelho and Yêda Galvão, with illustrations by Walter Lara. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Quixote, pp. 81-85.

2015. “Ancestral Andean weaving: ‘Rescuing the past, weaving the future’.” The Journal for Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers Issue 254, Summer 2015, pp. 24-28.

2015. Outras terras: crônicas e ensaios. Natal, Brazil: Edições Sebo Vermelho.

See also:    

See also:

Invited plenary presentation

2019. "Calunga and the legacy of an African language in Brazil." State University of New York-Albany (November 8).

2019. "Comida mineira." Araxá Literary Festival (Araxá, Minas Gerais, Brazil) (June 23).

Research interests

Afro-Brazilian language
Brazil culinary history
Brazil culture
Latin American history
Latin American culture

Research topics

Brazilian Food
Latin American History