History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Latin America

The Working Group  will meet monthly during the 2020-2021 academic year to advance the conversation of researchers in this expanding field. The multilocality of the Group’s core members (United States, Chile, and Spain), and their respective temporal (16th-20th centuries) and geographic areas of expertise (Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and the Caribbean), will contribute to the scholarly analysis of the variegated Latin American experiences. The Group will be coordinated through three central nodes. Diana Montaño will organize the node in the United States; David Pretel will direct the Spanish node; and José Ragas will organize the Chilean node.
Meetings are held on first Thursdays of the month at noon Eastern time.

Please set your timezone at https://www.chstm.org/user

Consortium Respectful Behavior Policy

Participants at Consortium activities will treat each other with respect and consideration to create a collegial, inclusive, and professional environment that is free from any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

Participants will avoid any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual characteristics such as age, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, ability status, educational background, or any other characteristic protected by law. Disruptive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Harassment includes but is not limited to inappropriate or intimidating behavior and language, unwelcome jokes or comments, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, photography without permission, and stalking.

Participants may send reports or concerns about violations of this policy to conduct@chstm.org.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Thursday, April 6, 2023 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EDT

    Natalia Gándara (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso). Title TBA

  • Thursday, May 4, 2023 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EDT

    Cold War Cartographic Technologies 
    Julie Gibbings, The University of Edinburgh 
    Sebastian Diaz Angel, Cornell University 

Past Meetings

  • March 2, 2023

    Food, Science, and State in Latin America
    Session Coordinator: Stefan Pohl (Universidad de Rosario, Colombia)
    Sören Brinckman (University of Wrocław), author of Milk for the Tropics! Food Regulation and Nutrition Policy using the Example of Urban Milk Supply in Brazil (1889-1964) [written in German].
    Joshua F. Frens-String (The University of Texas at Austin), author of Hungry for Revolution: The Politics of Food and the Making of Modern Chile.

  • February 2, 2023

    History of Informatics in Latin America. Marcelo Vianna, Lucas de Almeida Pereira & Colette Perold

  • January 5, 2023

    Join us for a conversation with historian of medicine Christina Ramos about her newly published book Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment.
    Adam Warren, University of Washington 
    Elizabeth O'Brien, John Hopkins University 
    Introduction available at https://uncpress.org/book/9781469666570/bedlam-in-the-new-world/

  • December 1, 2022

    Join us for a conversation with Vivette García (UNAM) and Diana Bustos Ríos (Equipo Mexicano de Antropología Forense) on the role of forensic DNA analysis in Mexico. They will discuss the recent edited volume "ADN, protagonista inesperado" (Siglo XXI, 2022).
    * Find both the flyer and the Introduction of the volume attached as PDF below.


  • November 3, 2022

    Join us Nov. 3rd for our session: "Recentering Medicine and Public Health in Latin America." Josh Mentako and Felipe Martinez Fernandez will be presenting their work on the Africanist origins of medicine in Mexico and prostitution in the Chilean military. Los esperamos! 

  • October 6, 2022

    Presenter: Jaime Larry Benchimol, Researcher, Casa de Oswaldo Cruz – Fundação Oswaldo Cruz
    "The history of the New World leishmaniases from a Brazilian perspective"

  • June 2, 2022

    Join us for an amazing Lightning Round followed by Q&A session.
    . Angélica Márquez Osuna (Harvard University): "Improving the Hive House: Technology and Beekeping in the Nineteenth-Century Yucatán Peninsula"
    . Jorge Laris (El Colegio de México): "El mercurio y la revolución permanente de las ciencias en la modernidad temprana" 
    . Tamara Araya Fuentes (Casa Oswaldo Cruz/Fiocruz): "Esclavitud y enfermedad en el Chile tardío colonial"
    . Yessenia Puentes (Instituto de Historia, UC Chile): "Desindustrialización, patrimonio local y crisis global del carbón en el Chile Neoliberal"

  • May 5, 2022

    The Politics of Infrastructure in Latin America.
    Dean Chahim (Princeton University).
    Gonzalo Romero Sommer (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú).

  • April 7, 2022

    Latin American Energy Pasts/Futures
    Join us April 7th @ 12 EST for a double book presentation with German Vergara, author of Fueling Mexico: Energy and Environment, 1850-1950, & Bret Gustafson, author of Bolivia in the Age of Gas. Introductions for both books are available in our Working Group's page until the day of the session. 

  • March 3, 2022

    Join us this Thursday, March 3rd at 12 EST for a conversation with Assoc. Professor Javiera Barandiaran about her book Lo que el estado neoliberal no sabe: Conflictos cientificos y politica ambiental en Chile. 

Group Conveners

  • Dmontano's picture

    Diana J. Montaño

    Diana J. Montaño is Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Her teaching and research interests broadly include the construction of modern Latin American societies with a focus on technology and its relationship to nationalism, everyday life, and domesticity. Her first book Electrifying Mexico looks at how "electrifying agents" (businessmen, salespersons, inventors, doctors, housewives, maids, and domestic advisors) used electricity, both symbolically and physically, in the construction of a modern nation. Taking a user-based perspective, Dr. Montaño reconstructs how electricity was lived, consumed, rejected, and shaped in everyday life (https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/montano-electrifying-mexico). For her articles on the intersection of humor and class in streetcar accidents see History of Technology (https://tinyurl.com/5cr7r6hu -) and  Technology's Stories (https://tinyurl.com/p4ucsmns). For her HAHR article on power theft in turn-of-the-century Mexico see https://tinyurl.com/9chy8s8v


  • DavidPretel's picture

    David Pretel

    David Pretel is professor of history and economic institutions at Autonomous University of Madrid. His research focuses on the history of Latin American commodities, intellectual property rights and the entangled histories of technology, capitalism and the environment in the Caribbean. His first book, "Institutionalising Patents in Nineteenth-Century Spain" (Palgrave Macmillan), examined the development of the Spanish patent system (1826–1902), providing a fundamental reassessment of its evolution in an international and imperial context. He is co-editor of the volumes "The Caribbean and the Atlantic World Economy: Circuits of Trade, Money and Knowledge, 1650-1914" and "Technology and Globalisation: Networks of Experts in World History". His recent publications include articles in the journals Technology & Culture, Global Environment, History of TechnologyHistoria Mexicana, Business History, Artefact, Latin America in Economic History and Ayer.
    His works, CV, and other details can be found on his website 


  • jragas's picture

    José Ragas

    José Ragas is an Assistant Professor at Instituto de Historia in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where he teaches courses related to STS and global history. Dr. Ragas holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. Previously to his appointment in Chile, he was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University and Lecturer in the Program in the History of Science and History of Medicine at Yale. His current book manuscript examines the emergence of a techno-social system engineered to capture and store personal data in Peru between 1820 and 1930. He is also interested in how, over the past two centuries, ordinary people have manipulated identification devices and challenged the restricted categories of personal identity imposed by policymakers in the Global South.


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