My past research centered upon the microhistory of different communities in the early modern Iberian Atlantic world. A first book, A Nation Upon the Ocean Sea (Oxford, 2007), examined the Portuguese Nation, a highly dynamic and influential community of overseas traders, bankers and political economists. A second project recovered the social constitution and collective practices of working class neighbourhoods in the colonial Mexican mining city of San Luis Potosi.
My current research is on the social and environmental history of natural resource extraction in Latin America. This includes projects on the environmental history of colonial mining, early Iberian discourses on the transformation of nature, the historical geography of mining in Mexico over the longue durée, and the history of autochthonous landscapes on the Isthmus of Panama.
Since 2007 I have worked as coordinator of MICLA, a McGill-based research collective dedicated to investigating the multiple facets of the extension of Canadian-based mining corporations into Latin America. MICLA’s work aims to help academics, policy-makers, mining companies, and communities navigate through the often contentious issues that surround Canadian mining in Las Americas.
I teach classes in world history, environmental history and the history of colonial Latin America. Beginning in 2010 I will be teaching a field course in Latin American environmental history as part of McGill’s Panama Field Studies Semester.