School of Humanities and Sciences
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Thomas A O'Keefe
BioThomas Andrew O’Keefe is the President of Mercosur Consulting Group, Ltd. [https://www.mercosurconsulting.net], a legal and economic consulting firm that assists companies with their strategic business planning for South America as well as advises Latin American firms exporting to the United States.
Mr. O’Keefe is a dual national of the United States and Chile. He is bilingual in English and Spanish, and fluent in French and Portuguese. He did his undergraduate work at Columbia University, and received his J.D. from the Villanova University School of Law. In 1986, he worked for the legal departments of the Chilean Human Rights Commission and the Vicaría de la Solidaridad (the human rights office of the Archdiocese of Santiago). He also worked as an associate for a number of years at the Wall Street law firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn and the Boston-based Gadsby & Hannah before returning to study at the University of Oxford, where he received an M.Phil. in Latin American Studies (History and Economics) in 1992. He has taught courses on Colonial Latin America, Western Hemisphere economic integration, the political economy of the Southern Cone Countries of South America, energy and climate cooperation in the Western Hemisphere, and U.S.-Latin America diplomatic history at American University, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and Stanford University. He served as Chair of the Western Hemisphere Area Studies Program at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute between 2011 and 2016. During the spring 2015 semester, he also taught a seminar on International Human Rights Law at the Villanova University School of Law.
Mr. O’Keefe is the author of numerous book chapters and articles on Latin American economic integration, globalization, energy security, and climate change, and has lectured extensively on these topics both in the United States and abroad. He has also been invited to brief U.S. government officials and testify before the U.S. Congress on developments within MERCOSUR and the Free Trade Area of the Americas project. He is the former Managing Editor of Focus Americas, an analytical review of business and legal developments throughout the Western Hemisphere. He is the author of Latin American Trade Agreements (Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, Inc. 1997-), Latin American and Caribbean Trade Agreements: Keys to a Prosperous Community of the Americas (Leiden NL: Martinus Nijhoff (Brill), 2009), and Bush II, Obama, and the Decline of U.S. Hegemony in the Western Hemisphere (New York: Routledge, 2018).
In 2001, Mr. O’Keefe participated in the USAID/RAPID project as an African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade specialist based in Gaborone, Botswana. In 2005, he received a Fulbright Scholars Award to lecture on international trade topics at the National Universities of Córdoba and Rosario in Argentina and conduct research on the Argentine energy sector for a chapter in a book published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in 2007. In 2011, he was the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award to lecture on the Peru-United States Free Trade Agreement at the Law School of the Catholic University of Peru. Between October 2005 and October 2006, he was the Legal and Economic Integration Specialist for the USAID funded Caribbean Open Trade and Support Program based in Antigua that provided trade capacity building and competitiveness assistance to the governments and private sectors in both Antigua and Barbuda as well as Dominica.
UPS Foundation Professor of Civil Engineering in Urban and Regional Planning, Emeritus
BioOrtolano is concerned with environmental and water resources policy and planning. His research stresses environmental policy implementation in developing countries and the role of non-governmental organizations in environmental management. His recent interests center on corporate environmental management.
Professor of Education
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsCurrent projects include: (a) the development of models of ethnic identity that incorporate social cognition theory and social identity; (b)acculturation stress and mental health status across three generations of Latinos; (c) home, school and community protective factors that empower Latino students to succeed academically; (d) learning of Mandarin by high school students in summer intensive programs vs. students in regular high school world language classes; and (e) student language and academic content learning in a Mandarin/English dual language immersion program.
Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, Emerita
BioHelen Quinn received her Ph.D in physics at Stanford in 1967. She has taught physics at both Harvard and Stanford. Dr. Quinn work as a particle physicist has been honored by the Dirac Medal (from the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Italy) and the Klein Medal (from The Swedish National Academy of Sciences and Stockholm University) as well as the Sakurai Prize (from the American Physical Society), the Compton medal (from the American Institute of Physics, awarded once every 4 years) and the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal for Physics (from the Franklin Institute). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Science and the American Philosophical Society. She is a Fellow and former president of the American Physical Society. She is originally from Australia and is an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia.
Dr. Quinn has been active in science education for some years, and since her retirement in 2010 this has been her major activity. She was a founding member of the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP) which produced a well-known standard-model poster for schools in 1987 (see photo). She served as Chair of the US National Academy of Sciences Board on Science Education (BOSE) from 2009-2014. She was as a member of the BOSE study committee that developed the report “Taking Science to School” and chaired the committee for the “Framework for K-12 Science Education”, which is the basis of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and similar standards now adopted by about 30 states in the US, and has been influential internationally as well. She also contributed to follow-up NRC studies on assessment and implementation of NGSS. From 2015-2018 Helen served at the request of the President of Ecuador as a member of the “Comision Gestora” to help plan and guide the initial development of the National University of Education of Ecuador.
Joan Ramon Resina
Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures and of Comparative Literature
BioProfessor Resina specializes in modern European literatures and cultures with an emphasis on the Spanish and Catalan traditions. He is Director of the Iberian Studies Program, housed in the Freeman Spogli Institute.
Professor Resina is most recently the author of The Ghost in the Constitution: Historical Memory and Denial in Spanish Society. Liverpool University Press, 2017. This book is a reflection on the political use of historical memory focusing on the case of Spain. It analyses the philosophical implications of the transference of the notion of memory from the individual consciousness to the collective subject and considers the conflation of epistemology with ethics. A subtheme is the origin and transmission of political violence and its endurance in the form of “negationism”. Some chapters consider “traumatic” phenomena, such as the bombing of Guernica, the Republican exile, the destruction of Catalan society, and the Holocaust. The book engages controversial issues, such as the relation between memory and imputation, the obstacles to reconciliation, and the problems arising from the existence of not only different but also conflicting memories about the past. Another recent book is Josep Pla: The World Seen in the Form of Articles. Toronto University Press, 2017, which received the North American Catalan Society award for best book on Catalan Studies in 2019. This book condenses Pla's 47-volume work into 11 thematic units devoted to a central aspect of Pla's oeuvre. Resina explores the modalities of Pla's writing: stylistic, phenomenological, political, his relation to language, fiction, food, and landscape, and his approach to sexuality, women, and death. It introduces the reader to the colorful world of Catalonia's greatest 20th century writer through the author's gaze. Pla was a privileged observer of some of the crucial events of the 20th century, but he also captured the sensual infrastructure of his own country by recording every aspect of its reality.
Previous books include Del Hispanismo a los Estudios Ibéricos. Una propuesta federativa para el ámbito cultural. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2009. In this book, Resina lays out the rationale for the overcoming of Hispanic Studies by a new discipline of Iberian Studies, contending that the field's response to the crisis of the Humanities should not lie in the retrenchment into the national philological traditions. Another publication since joining Stanford is Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity: Rise and Decline of an Urban Image (Stanford UP, 2008). This book traces the development of Barcelona's modern image since the late 19th century through the 20th century through texts that foreground key social and historical issues. The book ends with a highly critical view on the post-Olympic period.
Resina has edited eleven collections of essays on varied topics, most recently Inscribed Identities: Writing as Self-Realization. Routledge, 2019, and Repetition, Recurrence, Returns, Lexington Books, 2019.
He has published extensively in specialized journals, such as PMLA, MLN, New Literary History, and Modern Language Quarterly, and has contributed to a large number critical volumes. From 1999 to 2005 he was the Editor of Diacritics. For several years he has been a regular contributor to the Barcelona daily press. He has held teaching positions at Cornell University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Northwestern University, as well as visiting appointments at foreign universities, and received awards such as the Alexander von Humboldt and the Fullbright fellowships, and a fellowship at the Internationales Kolleg Morphomata Center for Advanced Studies of the University of Cologne..
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus
BioJohn Rick’s research focuses on prehistoric archaeology and anthropology of hunter-gatherers and initial hierarchical societies, stone tool analysis and digital methodologies, Latin America, Southwestern U.S. Rick’s major research efforts have included long-term projects studying early hunting societies of the high altitude puna grasslands of central Peru, and currently he directs a major research project at the monumental World Heritage site of Chavín de Huántar aimed at exploring the foundations of authority in the central Andes. Other field projects include work on early agricultural villages in the American Southwest, and a recently-initiated project on the Preclassic and Early Classic archaeology of the Guatemalan highlands near Panajachel, Atitlan. Current emphasis is on employing dimensional analytical digital techniques to the study of landscape and architecture, and on exploring the contexts and motivations for the development of sociopolitical inequalities.
J. E. Wallace Sterling Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am a variationist sociolinguist (someone who studies language variation, often quantitatively, in relation to society and culture). I’m interested in understanding the relations between language variation, social structure and meaning, and language change, from descriptive, theoretical and applied perspectives.
A lot of my work has been devoted to understanding the linguistic, social and stylistic constraints on specific linguistic variables, like the variation between Guyanese pronouns am, she, and her in “e like am” (deep creole, basilect) versus “e like she” (intermediate creole, mesolect) versus “He likes her” (standard English, acrolect). Or, to take an American example, the variation between all and like as quotative introducers in “He’s all/like ‘I don’t know’.” But I’ve also been concerned with trying to figure out where such variables come from historically, and whether they represent ongoing or completed change. I’ve also used the data from specific variables to address larger methodological and theoretical concepts in sociolinguistics, like how best to conceptualize the speech community and analyze linguistic variation by social class and ethnicity, or to assess the role of addressee versus topic in style shifting or the validity of the hyothesis that linguistic and social constraints are essentially independent (in their effects, not frequencies).
My data come primarily from English-based creoles of the Caribbean (especially my native Guyanese Creole, but also Jamaican and Barbadian) and from colloquial American English (especially African American Vernacular English, but also, recently, from computer corpora, like Google newsgroup data). I’ve also been interested, increasingly since the 1990s, in how sociolinguistic research can be applied to help us understand and overcome the challenges that vernacular and creole speakers face in schools, where standard/mainstream varieties are expected.
Associate Professor of Education and, by courtesy, of Linguistics, of Anthropology and of Comparative Literature
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Rosa’s book, Looking like a Language, Sounding like a Race: Raciolingusitic Ideologies and the Learning of Latinidad (2019, Oxford University Press), presents an ethnographic analysis of how administrators in a Chicago public high school whose student body is more than 90% Mexican and Puerto Rican seek to transform “at risk” Latinx youth into “young Latino professionals.” This intersectional mobility project paradoxically positions Latinx identity as the cause of and solution to educational underachievement. As a result, students must learn to be – and sound – “Latino” in highly studied ways. Students respond to anxieties surrounding their ascribed identities by symbolically remapping borders between nations, languages, ethnoracial categories, and institutional contexts. This reimagining of political, linguistic, cultural, and educational borders reflects the complex interplay between racialization and socialization for Latinx youth. The manuscript argues that this local scene is a key site in which to track broader structures of educational inequity by denaturalizing categories, differences, and modes of recognition through which raciolinguistic exclusion is systematically reproduced across contexts.
Professor of Sociology
BioI am a social demographer who studies race, ethnicity, and family structure, the family's effect on children, and the history of the family. I am interested in mate selection as a social as well as a personal process.
Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Emeritus
BioProfessor Jorge Ruffinelli (Uruguay), a disciple of Angel Rama at the University of Uruguay, followed him as Director of the literary section of the seminal Uruguayan weekly Marcha in 1968. In 1973 he was Adjunct Professor of the Latin American literature program (directed by Noé Jitrik) at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1974 he emigrated to México, where he was appointed Director of the Centro de Investigaciones Lingüístico-Literarias at the Universidad Veracruzana, a position he held for for twelve years. At the Universidad Veracruzana he was also Professor in the school of Letters, and collaborated in all the major cultural journals and newspapers of the Latin American continent. In 1986 he was appointed Full Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford. In Mexico he founded and directed the literary journal Texto crítico for twelve years. A member of various international editorial boards, in the United States he has directed the journal Nuevo texto crítico since 1987.
He has published twenty books of literary and cultural criticism and more than five hundred articles, critical notes and reviews in journals throughout the world. A recognized authority on Onetti, García Márquez, Juan Rulfo, and Latin American literary history, during the nineties his critical work has centered on Latin American cinema. In 1993 he filmed a documentary on Augusto Monterroso for which he interviewed major Mexican writers and critics. He is completing the first Encyclopedia of Latin American Cinema, for which he has written around two thousand articles on feature films from and about Latin America. His current work also includes a book of interpretation and survey of the most recent Spanish American prose published by writers born after 1968, a project that analyzes the work, marketing, and reception of over more than fifty authors (Ana Solari, Milagros Socorro, Karla Suarez, Mayra Santos, David Toscana, Rodrigo Fresan, Juan Forn, Martin Kohan, Jorge Vopli, among others). His teaching centers on the intersection of the interests above and cultural politics.
Associate Director, Center for Latin American Studies
Current Role at StanfordElizabeth provides administrative leadership for the Center. She oversees Center programming, administering various fellowship and grant programs and visiting professorships, including a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center grant, Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships, and the Tinker Visiting Professorship. She directs undergraduate and graduate degree programs, manages the Center’s budget, fundraising, and outreach, and supervises the administrative staff. She supports and advises the Director in developing and setting program priorities, in policy and decision making, in liaising with other units on campus, and in representing the Center on and off campus. She serves as an academic advisor for LAS degree candidates.
Leon Sloss, Jr. Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
BioJosé David Saldívar is a scholar of late postcontemporary culture, especially the minoritized literatures of the United States, Latin America, and the transamerican hemisphere, and of border narrative and poetics from the sixteenth century to the present.
He is the author of The Dialectics of Our America: Genealogy, Cultural Critique, and Literary History (Duke University Press, 1991), Border Matters: Remapping American Cultural Studies (University of California Press, 1997), and Trans-Americanity: Subaltern Modernities, Global Coloniality, and the Cultures of Greater Mexico (Duke University Press, 2012),coeditor (with Monica Hanna and Jennifer Harford Vargas) of Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination (Duke University Press, 2016) coeditor (with Héctor Calderón) of Criticism in the Borderlands (Duke University Press, 1991), and editor of The Rolando Hinojosa Reader (Arte Público Press, 1985).
Additionally, he has published numerous articles in journals such as Cultural Studies, American Literary History, The Americas Review, Revista Casa de las Américas, Daedalus, Modern Fiction Studies, and The Global South. He has served on the editorial boards of Duke University Press, the University of California Press, and currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals American Literary History, The Global South, Aztlan, and World Knowledges Otherwise. He has received personal research grants from The Ford Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the University of California President's Research Fellowship in the Humanities, the William Rice Kimball Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford (invitation for a future visit).
His teaching is divided evenly between graduate seminars and undergraduate courses, and some of his undergraduate courses are cross-listed in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.
In 2003, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Literary and Cultural Criticism from the Western Literature Association; in 2005, he received the Chicano Scholar of the Year Award from the Modern Language Association; in 2007 he received the Sarlo Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award from the University of California, Berkeley; and in 2016, he was the winner of the American Literature Society’s highest honor, the Jay B. Hubbell Medal. The medal is sponsored by the American Literature Society, an allied organization of the Modern Language Association, and is awarded annually to one “scholar whose lifetime of scholarly work has significantly advanced the study of American literature.” . Before coming to Stanford in January 2010, Saldívar was the Class of 1942 Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hoagland Family Professor of Humanities and Sciences, T. Robert and Katherine States Burke Family Director of BOSP, and Professor, by courtesy, of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy current research is concerned with the relationships among race, form, genre, representing what Jeffrey T. Nealon has recently term the “post-postmodern.” In the latest version of this research presented at the John-F.-Kennedy-Institut für Nordamerikastudien, Freie Universität Berlin I use Sesshu Foster's "Atomik Aztex" as an example twenty-first century racial imaginaries. Part fantasy, part hallucinatory sur-realism, part muckraking novel in the grand realist protest tradition of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906), part historical novel in the mode of Vassily Grossman’s great Stalinist era masterpiece, Life & Fate (1980) set during the battle of Stalingrad, part ethnographic history about religious, military, and social structure of the pre-Columbian Aztec (Nahua, Mexica) world, part LA noir, and wholly Science Fiction alternative and counterfactual history, it exemplifies many of the criteria of the “post-postmodern.” Moreover, in addition to this range of formal matters, Atomik Aztex is concerned with two other topics:
•a reconceptualization of the way that race affects the formations of history, and
•the reshaping of the form of the novel in order to represent that reconceptualization.
With eighty-two characters populating the story, itself a plotted compendium of at least two radically separate yet intertwined universes of action, in a continually shifting movement from past, present, and future times, Atomik Aztex is a radical experiment in novelistic form. Using the tools of quantitative formalism developed for literary use by the Stanford University Literary Lab, I wish to show how the work of the computational humanities, in conjunction with traditional hermeneutic methods of literary analysis can help us understand the radical turn of contemporary American fiction toward speculative realism.
Associate Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
BioProfessor Surwillo teaches courses on Iberian literature, with an emphasis on the nineteenth-century. Her research addresses the questions of property, empire, race and personhood as they are manifested by literary works, especially dramatic literature, dealing with colonial slavery, abolition and Spanish citizenship. Surwillo is the author of The Stages of Property: Copyrighting Theatre in Spain (Toronto 2007), an analysis of the development of copyright and authorship in nineteenth-century Spain and the impact of intellectual property on theater. Her forthcoming book Monsters by Trade (Stanford 2014) is a study of slave traders in Spanish literature and the role of these colonial mediators in the development of modern Spain.
William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
BioMichael Tomz is the William Bennett Munro Professor in Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development, and the Landreth Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education.
Tomz has published in the fields of international relations, American politics, comparative politics, and statistical methods. He is the author of Reputation and International Cooperation: Sovereign Debt across Three Centuries and numerous articles in political science and economics journals.
Tomz received the International Studies Association’s Karl Deutsch Award, given to a scholar who, within 10 years of earning a Ph.D., has made the most significant contribution to the study of international relations. He has also won the Giovanni Sartori Award for the best book developing or applying qualitative methods; the Jack L. Walker Award for the best article on Political Organizations and Parties; the best paper award from the APSA section on Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior; the best paper award from the APSA section on Experimental Research; and the Okidata Best Research Software Award. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.
Tomz has received numerous teaching awards, including the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Cox Medal for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research. In 2017 he received Stanford’s highest teaching honor, the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. He founded and continues to direct the Summer Research College program for undergraduates in political science.
Tomz holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University; a master’s degree from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. He has been a visiting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the Hoover Institution, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, and the International Monetary Fund.
Professor of Sociology
BioFlorencia Torche is a social scientist with expertise in social demography and social stratification. Professor Torche’s scholarship examines inequality dynamics including intergenerational mobility, disparities in educational attainment, family dynamics, and assortative mating, among others. Her research also examines the influence of early-life exposures –starting before birth– on iindividual wellbeing and inequality. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020, and to the Sociological Research Association in 2013.
Torche has led many large data collection projects, including the first national survey on social mobility in Chile and Mexico. She has served as deputy editor of the American Sociological Review (2020-2022 and 2015-2018), Consulting Editor of the American Journal of Sociology, and Editorial Board of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Forces, Sociology of Education, and Sociological Theory among others. She has served on the Board of Overseers of the General Social Survey.
Professor Torche holds a BA from the Catholic University of Chile and an MA and PhD in Sociology from Columbia University.
Bonnie Katz Tenenbaum Professor of Education, Emerita
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsFounding partner of Understanding Language, an initiative that focuses attention on the role of language in subject-area learning, with a special focus on helping English Language Learners meet the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.
Clifford G. Morrison Professor of Population and Resource Studies, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Earth System Science
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsVitousek's research interests include: evaluating the global cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how they are altered by human activity; understanding how the interaction of land and culture contributed to the sustainability of Hawaiian (and other Pacific) agriculture and society before European contact; and working to make fertilizer applications more efficient and less environmentally damaging (especially in rapidly growing economies)
Professor of Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur current focus is on maize anther development to understand how cell fate is specified. We discovered that hypoxia triggers specification of the archesporial (pre-meiotic) cells, and that these cells secrete a small protein MAC1 that patterns the adjacent soma to differentiate as endothecial and secondary parietal cell types. We also discovered a novel class of small RNA: 21-nt and 24-nt phasiRNAs that are exceptionally abundant in anthers and exhibit strict spatiotemporal dynamics.
Senior Lecturer in the Language Center
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research interests include sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, acquisition of cognate languages, development of cultural competence, and translation. I am one of the creators of the international symposium on Portuguese for Spanish Speakers: Acquisition and Teaching, which had its fifth edition in 2014, and an author and editor of several scholarly articles and books. My current focus is on the acquisition of Portuguese by speakers of Spanish and other Romance languages.
Holbrook Working Professor of Price Theory and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute, at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at the Precourt Institute for Energy
BioFrank A. Wolak is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Stanford University. His fields of specialization are Industrial Organization and Econometric Theory. His recent work studies methods for introducing competition into infrastructure industries -- telecommunications, electricity, water delivery and postal delivery services -- and on assessing the impacts of these competition policies on consumer and producer welfare. He is the Chairman of the Market Surveillance Committee of the California Independent System Operator for electricity supply industry in California. He is a visiting scholar at University of California Energy Institute and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
Professor Wolak received his Ph.D. and M.S. from Harvard University and his B.A. from Rice University.
Associate Professor of History
BioI am a historian of modern Latin America whose work centers on the intersection of social, political, environmental, and technological change. In particular, I explore questions of water control, agrarian reform, and the effects of climate and weather on the process of social revolution. I employ interdisciplinary historical methods in my scholarship and teaching that seek to transcend the imaginary boundary between the human and nonhuman environments.
I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in modern Latin American history, historiography and film, history of US-Latin American relations, comparative history of modern Latin America and East Asia, environmental history of Latin America and the United States, climate ethics, and water history (see teaching tab to the right. I am accepting graduate students to work under me, but before contacting me, please become familiar with my work. Specific questions engaging with my work and how it relates to your own research interests are more fruitful as a basis for conversation than generally asking to learn more about my work.)
My first book, Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico (Duke, 2017; winner, 2018 Elinor K. Melville Prize for Latin American Environmental History; short-listed, 2018 María Elena Martínez Prize for Mexican History), investigates how people managed their water—via dams, canals, and groundwater pumps—in a great crucible of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-20, the arid north-central Laguna region. In so doing, it demonstrates how Mexican federal engineers were not merely passive implementers of large-scale state development schemes such as agrarian reform. Instead, to implement the latter, they actively mediated knowledge between state and society, identifying what they thought was technologically possible and predicting its environmental consequences.
The book also explains how engineers encountered an intrinsic tension between farmers’ insatiable demand for water and the urgency to conserve it. By closely examining how the Mexican state watered one of the world’s most extensive agrarian reforms, the book tackles an urgent question in the literature on postrevolutionary Mexican state formation, Latin American environmental history and history of technology, and global development studies: how and why do governments persistently deploy invasive technologies for development even when they know those technologies are ecologically unsustainable?
To answer this global question, my book integrates environmental and technological history along with social, economic, political, and legal analyses based on extensive research in archival sources, journals, newspapers, and government publications in Mexico and the United States. Using this “envirotechnical” analytical framework, the book uncovers the varied motivations behind the Mexican government’s decision to use invasive and damaging technologies despite knowing they were unsustainable.
My research on agrarian reform and water management in north central Mexico led me to investigate how weather shapes the process of social revolution across Cuba’s varied climates and environments. In my new book project, Rebellious Climates: How Extreme Weather Shaped the Cuban Revolutions, I combine environmental history and historical climatology to argue that extreme weather events such as drought and hurricanes were not merely infrequent external shocks to Cuba, quickly entering and exiting the main anthropocentric stage of its theater of revolution. Instead, these events were long enmeshed in Cuban politics, economics, society, and culture, and thereby shaped the origins and progression of the 1959 revolution in ways largely overlooked by historians.