Professor Dutra is a specialist in the histories of medieval and early modern Portugal, colonial Brazil and the rest of the Portuguese overseas empire to 1825. He also teaches and writes on the history of colonial Latin America and comparative seaborne empires (Portuguese, Spanish, English, French and Dutch) to 1825. His chief research interests include membership in the Portuguese military orders of Christ, Santiago and Avis, 1450-1777, social mobility in the Portuguese world, and gender-related issues.
- Military Orders in the Early Modern Portuguese World: The Orders of Christ, Santiago and Avis (2006)
- A Guide to the History of Brazil, 1500 1822. The Literature in English (1980)
- Matias de Albuquerque. Capitão mor de Pernambuco e Governador Geral do Brasil (1976)
- “Sodomy and the Portuguese Nobility: The Case of Dom Filipe de Moura and his Circle” (2007)
- “The Social and Economic World of Portugal’s Elite Seafarers, 1481-1600” (2005)
- “Centralization vs. Donatarial Privilege. Pernambuco, 1602-1630” (1973)
- “The Brazilian Hierarchy in the Seventeenth Century” (1972)