Christopher Lewis Receives National Teaching Award

Christopher LewisThe Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) has recognized University of Utah faculty member Christopher T. Lewis, Assistant Professor of Portuguese & Brazilian Studies in the Department of World Languages & Cultures, with its Junior Faculty Teaching Award. The JFTA is a national award presented annually at the congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) to a pre-tenure university professor for outstanding pedagogy, mentoring success, community involvement, and incorporation of research into the classroom experience.

Students have praised Prof. Lewis’s “exceptional” expertise and “engaging” and “creative” teaching style. They consistently single out his thoughtful organization, productive feedback, and ability to help students live up to his high expectations as reasons that his courses rank among the university’s best. He is known for integrating diverse cultural elements into the analysis and discussion of a text or idea. For example, he might combine ragtime, contemporary American poetry, Taylor Swift, and Stephen Sondheim to tease student insights out of a Portuguese renaissance sonnet, or show a clip from Star Trek to illustrate the value of an education in the humanities.

He serves on graduate student committees ranging from Latin American Studies to Comparative Literature and Art History. Moreover, students that he has mentored have been distinguished for their research with awards such as the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award, from the University of Utah’s College of Humanities, and the Hoopes Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Work, from Harvard University.

Prof. Lewis holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Romance Languages and Literatures with an emphasis in Luso-Brazilian Studies. He joined the faculty of the University of Utah in 2012, where he directs the Portuguese & Brazilian Studies program and sits on the Faculty Advisory Board for the Center for Latin American Studies. For the state of Utah, he has served on the Portuguese Dual Language Immersion Steering Committee and the Dual Language Immersion Research Advisory Board. Previously, he was Assistant Professor of Portuguese at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has also taught at Middlebury College and Harvard University, where he was awarded the Derek C. Bok Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Undergraduates.

Prof. Lewis’s research and teaching focus on 21st-century Brazilian Literature as well as intersections of music, politics, literature, and cinema throughout the Lusophone world. He has published in the premier journals in his field. This year he will be teaching courses on Brazilian identity reflected through film, popular music during the Brazilian dictatorship, notions of empire and the lusotropicalist myth in the Portuguese diaspora, and a survey of Brazilian Literature.

The College of Humanities offers enthusiastic congratulations to Professor Lewis and looks forward to more achievements from him in the future.