The George Burton Adams Professor of History at Yale University and one of the leading authorities in the study of Colonial Latin America, Brazil, and slavery in the Americas. His books include:
- Slave Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia, 1550-1835 (Cambridge, 1985; winner of the Bolton Prize);
- Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery (Illinois, 1992);
- (with James Lockhart), Early Latin America: A History of Colonial Spanish America and Brazil (Cambridge, 1983);
- (editor), Implicit Understandings: Observing, Reporting and Reflecting on the Encounters Between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era (Cambridge, 1994);
- A Governor and His Image in Baroque Brazil (Minnesota, 1979); and Sovereignty and Society in Colonial Brazil: The High Court of Bahia and Its Judges, 1609-1751 (California, 1973).
His continuing work includes a social history of the hurricane, and a study of Spanish and Portuguese relations and rivalries in the early modern period from which the Schomburg-Moreno lecture for 1999 is drawn. A graduate of Middlebury College and Columbia University, Professor Schwartz taught at the University of Minnesota prior to assuming his current post at Yale in 1996. He is a past President of the Conference on Latin American History of the American Historical Association.