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, and my Ph.D (2017) in History from the University of California Davis.
I am interested in the study of knowledge and technology, environmental and policy change, Latin America, and inter-American relations in a global context.
My current book project, Nitrogen Revolutions: Agricultural Expertise, Technology, and Policy, studies the process of agro-technological change that led to Chile's expansion of nitrogen fertilizer consumption and triggered a cascade of ecological effects at a local and regional scale. Using the global problem of nitrogen pollution and Chile—one of the highest consumers of nitrogen fertilizer in the Americas—as case studies, Nitrogen Revolutions argues that historical expertise is critical today in both academic and public debates on agricultural change, food security, and environmental protection.
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 colonial and republican period in Latin America.
Between 2011 and 2013, I worked in a research project focused on legal professionalization, corruption, and state formation processes 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.
I have taught courses on the social, cultural, and political history of Colonial and Modern Latin America, as well as classes on the history of technology, politics, and the environment in the Americas. At MIT, I am teaching “Latin America: Revolution, Democracy, and Dictatorship" (21H.171) in Fall 2017, and "Energy, Environment, and Society. Special Theme: The Global Water-Energy-Food Crises" (STS.032) in Spring 2018.
I have also participated in interdisciplinary teams addressing the socio-ecological effects of free-ranging dogs and their challenges for public policy. I recently co-founded ConScientiaGroup, an international non-profit organization focused on the science-policy interface in environmental and animal welfare issues in Chile (www.conscientiagroup.org/english).