Chuao, Aragua, Venezuela. August, 2012
Photograph by author
Photograph by author
I received my B.A. (2006) and M.A. (2011) in History from the Universidad Católica de Chile. In 2011 I moved to the United States with a four-years Fulbright Scholarship to conduct doctoral studies in Latin American History at the University of California -Davis. In 2016, I won the Dean’s Doctoral Fellowship for Excellence Award from the Division of Social Sciences at UC Davis. The same year, I received a pre-doctoral dissertation fellowship from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After a year jointly affiliated with the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Program and the History Section at MIT, I obtained my Ph.D. in Latin American History with a Minor in World History at the University of California-Davis (2017).
After receiving my Ph.D., I continued affiliated with both the STS Program and the History Section at MIT as a Postdoctoral Associate (2017-2018) and as a Visiting Scholar with the STS Program (until January 2019).
I am currently an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) where I teach courses on global history of science, technology, and the environment. Some of my classes and research seminars include the history of quantification and metrics in environmental sciences and policy, the science and politics of animal rights, environmental innovation, and race and environmental justice.
My research explores the uses of history to inform contemporary debates on environmental sustainability and policy change. Most of my recent work has focused on studying global nitrogen flows released from agricultural practices from the perspective of the history and social study (STS) of environmental sciences and policy, with special attention to sustainable development policy in the so-called Global South. My first book manuscript, uses Chile's case—one of the highest consumers of nitrogen fertilizer in the Americas and one of the cautionary tales about neoliberal environmental politics in global democracies—to explore the political and scientific exchanges on the environmental effects of nitrogen fertilizers, the role of scientific expertise in decision-making, and the contributions of developing countries—such as Chile—to the global nitrogen problem.
Before focusing my attention on global environmental issues, I worked on questions regarding race, justice, and legal systems in the Americas. Today, I combine these backgrounds to provide a more integral approach to socio-ecological problems in my teaching and scholarship.
My Master’s thesis focused on the process of disintegration of black slavery in Chile at the end of the 18th century. Trough judicial proceedings, it examined the transition to free labor, interethnic family and social relations, and the use of the legal knowledge by black slaves and their relatives. Since completing my Master’s, I was involved in several projects researching judicial systems, legal practices, and expertise during the late and post colonial period in Latin America.
Between 2011 and 2013, I worked in a research project focused on legal professionalization and the social construction of legal expertise and corruption in Colombia and Venezuela during the late colonial period and the early republic. I combined GIS and spatial history for the analysis of the practices of legal professionalization and judicial reform among lawyers and non-professional legal practitioners in the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada and Gran Colombia (with a focus in what is today Colombia and Venezuela).
Both projects provided me with a unique set of skills to reflect on the long term effects of colonialism and state-formation processes across the so-called global North and South. Today I integrate many of the discussions from postcolonial studies, critical race theory, and the social studies of law and justice into my approach to environmental change, animal studies, and policy.
As a product of my interests in bridging questions about justice, inequality, and the environment, I recently joined an interdisciplinary project examining the social and policy dimensions of free-ranging dogs. Free-ranging dogs, as an invasive carnivore, affect humans and other animals globally. This research studies dogs as an environmental justice issue and examines how integrating the social and environmental dimensions of free-ranging dogs can provide novel insights into policy.
To invite others to think about justice and inequalities across species, I recently created and curate the collection "Histories across species" for Arcadia, the online, peer-review journal of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany.
Beyond teaching and research, I co-founded, and run ConscientiaGroup, an international non-profit organization focused on the science-policy interface in environmental and animal welfare issues in Chile.
I currently serve as an elected member for the Nominations Committee of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS), as a member of the Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity of the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH), and as Web and Media Assistant for the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations (ICEHO).
My work in these organizations allows me to provide my expertise on the institutional and social epistemologies of knowledge production to key professional associations in my field. It also provides me with an important platform to serve bridging expert communities across national and disciplinary boundaries.
If you would like to learn more about any of these projects, feel free to send me an email, or find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.