Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Texas at Austin
Website URL
history of science, history of biology, environmental history, field sciences, cultural history, intellectual history, science and technology studies, United States, Latin America, Caribbean, tropical biology, ecology, field stations
Additional Contact Information
Availability varies, will only comment if cited/quoted

Personal Info

About Me

I am Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin. A historian of science and environment, my work emphasizes the transnational connections of science in the US and Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My book American Tropics: The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science (University of North Carolina Press, 2017) explores the relationship between the history of field ecology, the expansion of U.S. hegemony in the circum-Caribbean during the 20th century, and the emergence of the modern concept of biodiversity. I am also the author of articles appearing in the journals Environmental History and Isis, and was awarded the History of Science Society’s Price/Webster Award for best article in 2016.

My broader research interests center on the role of place in shaping scientific knowledge and the intersection between the history of science and environmental history. My focus is on nineteenth- and twentieth-century American science, but I am especially interested in transnational connections of science in the US with Latin American and European science. In particular, I am fascinated by the history of classification and nomenclature, collecting practices and observation in the field, translations between local and global knowledge, nationalism and internationalism in science, science and empire, long-term research and geographic disparities in research, the construction of cultural understandings of the environment, and the history of ideas about biological diversity.

I earned my Ph.D. in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution Archives and National Museum of American History.

Recent Publications

American Tropics: The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

“A Laboratory for Tropical Ecology: Colonial Models and American Science at Cinchona, Jamaica.” In Spatializing the History of Ecology: Sites, Journeys, Mappings, edited by Raf de Bont and Jens Lachmund, (New York: Routledge, 2017): 56-78.

“The Colonial Origins of Tropical Field Stations: To confront persistent geographic and demographic biases in environmental science, researchers must understand the history of their field sites.” American Scientist 105, no. 4 (2017): 216-223.

“‘The Jungle at Our Door’: Panama and American Ecological Imagination in the Twentieth Century.” In Ashley Carse, Christine Keiner, Pamela M. Henson, Marixa Lasso, Paul S. Sutter, Megan Raby, and Blake Scott, “Panama Canal Forum: From the Conquest of Nature to the Construction of New Ecologies,” Environmental History 21, no. 2 (2016): 260-269.

“Ark and Archive: Making a Place for Long-term Research on Barro Colorado Island, Panama.” Isis 106, no. 4 (2015): 798-824.


Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Caribbean, Central America, Latin America, North America, United States
Expertise by Chronology
5, 7, 8
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Environment, Science