Research

My research lies at the intersection between environmental history, historical political ecology, literature (understood in its broader sense as writing production), and the cultural production of colonial Latin America and the Iberian world from the late 16th up until the early 19th centuries. My research explores the politicization of discourses regarding the relationship between humans and nature. In my publications, my goal is to provide critical insight and historical distance to current and competing visions that affect our understanding of colonialism, war, imperialism, and the ecological crisis.

My first book project, “The New World in a Chinese Mirror: Environmental Writing and Ecological Imperialism in the Early Modern Iberian World (1550-1700),” uncovers how discourses about war, civility, labour, and imperial expansion were forged through environmental narratives. The book contends that environmental narratives about China were vital in decentering an Iberian ecological regime rooted in the idea that nature was improved through colonization in the Americas. Thus, the book demonstrates that writings about the history of human interactions through nature in the Americas, insofar as it often involved narrating the transformation and improvement of nature through the culture of the colonizer, were challenged through contemporaneous Iberian histories about great cities, cultivated lands, and navigable seas in China. After examining how writers produced ideas and narratives about human interactions through nature, the book argues that the Iberian expansion and globalization of the early modern period paved the way for an ecological regime that subordinated nature and the land to the material and political aspirations of Iberian imperialism.

 The Pacific Ocean and the Americas in Urbano Monte’s Atlas (1587).