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Professor Emerita of Portuguese

At UNC from 1989 to 2016


Ph.D., Linguistics, Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro, 1975
Ph.D., Spanish Literature, Universidade de São Paulo, 1970
B.A., Neolatin Languages, Universidade de São Paulo, 1962


Monica Rector was born in São Paulo, Brazil. Her graduate studies were done in Madrid, Spain, but she defended the dissertation at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Neo-Latin Studies (Spanish as major) where she worked for a couple of years, before moving to Rio de Janeiro. She got a second Ph.D. in Linguistics at the Universidade Federal of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). She taught at UFRJ, at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) and the Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC) before coming to the States.

Her career and interest have always been in Humanities, and she has taught in a number of different areas: language and linguistics, literature and communication, and semiotics. At USP, she taught Spanish language and Hispanic culture: at UFRJ and PUC her main field was Linguistics, with a specialization in Semantics and Dialectology; at UFF she taught Communication Theory with emphasis on nonverbal communication and mass communication (especially theTV language). Her theoretical approach to these fields is semiotics.

Rector came to the United States in 1987 as a visiting professor and permanently in 1989 to teach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently working with Portuguese and Brazilian Literature and Culture with a focus on Portuguese Women writers.


  • O fraco da baronesa by Guiomar Torresão (2005)
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography.  Brazilian Writers 307 (co-editor Fred Clark) (2005)
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography. Portuguese Writers 287 (co-editor Fred Clark) (2004)
  • Gestures: Meaning and Use (co-editor) (2003)
  • Gestos: uso e significado (co-editor Isabella Poggi) (2003)
  • Comunicação e modernidade: um estudo discursivo (co-editors Joaquim Nepomuceno, Eduardo Neiva) (2000)
  • Mulher, sujeito e objecto da literatura portuguesa (1999)
  • Comunicação na era pós-moderna (co-editor Eduardo Neiva) (1998)
  • A fala dos jovens (1994), Comunicação do corpo (1990, 4th ed. 2003)
  • Comunicação não-verbal, a gestualidade brasileira (1985)
  • Manual de semântica(1980)
  • Para ler Greimas (1978)
  • A linguagem da juventude (1975)
  • “The Code and Message of Carnival: Escolas-de-Samba.” Carnival (New York, 1984; Tokyo, 1987; Mexico, 1989)