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Key Profile Area: Global South Studies

Prof. Claudia Leal

Member of the Global Faculty

Professor of History and Geography, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Claudia Leal is an environmental historian of Latin America. She was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, where she is full professor at the Department of History and Geography at Universidad de los Andes. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California at Berkeley, and has been fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, and the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, as well as visiting professor at Universidad Católica de Chile and Stanford University. In her research, she uses an environmental lens to explore old historical questions, such as the building of freedom in the aftermath of slavery. She is currently finishing a history of Colombian national parks that seeks to understand how the state functions and is built in space, while also exploring the history of animals.


Selected publications:

  • “Wild and trapped: A history of Colombian Zoos and its revelations of animal fortunes and state entanglements, 1930s-1990s”, História, Ciência, Saúde – Maguinhos vol.28 Suplemento 1, 2021.
  • “National Parks in Colombia,” The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Oxford University Press, publishedonline in 2019.
  • Landscapes of Freedom, Building a Postemancipation Society in the Rainforests of Western Colombia. The University of Arizona Press, 2018. (Winner of the 2019 Michael Jiménez Prize granted by the Colombia Section of the Latin American Studies Association to the best book on Colombian history published in the previous two years. Published in Spanish in 2020).
  • A Living Past: Environmental Histories of Modern Latin America. Berghahn Books, 2018. (Co-edited with John Soluri and José Augusto Pádua, and published in Spanish in 2019).
  • The Nature State: Rethinking the History of Conservation. Routledge 2017. (Co-edited with Wilko Graf von Hardenberg, Mathew Kelly and Emily Wakild).