Have You Met Rutgers-Newark?

Connecting the Campus and Newark's Portuguese-speaking community

A scholar of Portuguese and Lusophone literature and culture, Dr. Kim DaCosta Holton came to Rutgers in the fall of 2000 to help the Newark campus to expand its fledging Portuguese Studies program.

She played a key role in developing a broad curriculum in Portuguese, Brazilian and Lusophone African studies, as well as helping to initiate an undergraduate major and minor.

Holton also organized a program of community outreach in Newark’s famed Ironbound neighborhood, home to one of the largest Portuguese-speaking populations in the United States. She developed an internship program for majors at a host of Newark’s Portuguese-speaking businesses, government offices, non-profits and newspapers.

She also created the Ironbound Oral History Project, a store of over 350 oral history interviews conducted by Holton and her students since 2001.

Her efforts have resulted in rising enrollments in courses on Portuguese language and culture on the Newark campus. 

Holton is the author of Performing Folklore: Ranchos Folclóricos from Lisbon to Newark and co-editor with Andrea Klimt of Community, Culture and the Makings of Identity: Portuguese-Americans Along the Eastern Seaboard. Her research on urban festivity, fado music, folklore performance, and Portuguese and Angolan migration has been published in numerous scholarly journals, among them the Journal of American Folklore, Text and Performance Quarterly, Luso-Brazilian Review, Portuguese Studies Review.

Holton was awarded the David Hosford Scholarship for 2012-2013.


Her most recent research examines expressive culture within Newark’s Lusophone communities and Angolan decolonization and migration.

Holton’s research specialties include 20th-Century Portuguese and Brazilian literature, performance studies, ethnography and migration studies.

She holds the B.A., M.A. and Ph.D., all from Northwestern University.

Focus article, February 2013

View CV