Brazilian man with short hair and classes wearing purple tie with checked shirt.

Fabio de Sa e Silva


Assistant Professor of International Studies and Wick Cary Professor of Brazilian Studies, University of Oklahoma; Affiliate Fellow, HLS Center on the Legal Profession

Fabio de Sa e Silva is Assistant Professor of International Studies and Wick Cary Professor of Brazilian Studies at the University of Oklahoma and an affiliated fellow of Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession. He studies the social organization and the political impact of law and justice in Brazil and comparatively. An institution builder, Fabio co-directs the OU Center for Brazil Studies, is a member of the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association, and a Trustee of the Law and Society Association (LSA), Class of 2023. In 2018, he was recognized as the Outstanding Faculty at the Department.
Fabio has a multidisciplinary background with training in law, social sciences, and public policy. He holds a BA in legal studies from the University of Sao Paulo, where he received a prestigious CAPES fellowship for studies in law and society. He also attained a Master of Laws at the University of Brasilia Law School and a PhD in Law, Policy, and Society at Northeastern University as a CAPES-Fulbright fellow. 

Fabio also brings to OU a diversified professional experience. In addition to his previous academic studies and appointments, he has over 15 years of experience in policy making and analysis in issues of law and justice in Brazil, where he served at the Ministry of Justice and the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and consulted for international organizations like the UNDP, Unesco and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI).

Fabio writes and publishes in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. His article From Carwash to Bolsonaroexamines the “political grammar” produced and disseminated by Brazilian legal officers in the lava jato anticorruption initiative and has received extensive media coverage in Brazil in outlets like DWUOLCONJUR, and Reinaldo Azevedo’s blog and radio show. Currently, Fabio is one of the organizers of the Project on Autocratic Legalism (PAL),an LSA International Research Collaborative that is designing comparative research on how rising autocrats in Brazil, India and South Africa use law to amass power and what can be done to stop their moves. In this capacity, he also hosts the PAL Cast, a podcast series where he interviews lead scholars on law and (un)democratic politics.

Fabio is married to Michelle, lives in Norman with his two young kids, Joao Pedro, and Manuela, and usually spends summers in Brasilia, Brazil to catch up with family, friends, and the Brazilian political scene.