Science and Fascism (Italy, Germany, Portugal), Science and Agribusiness, Science and Environment in Contemporary History, Industrialized Organisms and Food, and Genetics Research.
My work deals with the historical connections between science, food, and landscapes. Currently, I explore oranges’ role in globalizing California in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Mixing approaches from history of technology, history of science, and environmental history, I delve into the practices of scientists in producing a standardized landscape by tracing the trajectory of scientific objects from the laboratory into the field. I follow the transnational circulation of Californian oranges and scientists into the Mediterranean (Israel, Spain, and Algeria) as well as into the “New Mediterranean” areas of South Africa and Australia. I am interested in what comes attached to Californian technoscientific oranges such as cooperative modes of production, racial relations, and urbanization patterns.
My approach to citrus draws heavily on my previous research on genetics, food, and fascism. In the last five years I’ve been treating with emblematic themes of fascist ideology, such as ‘rootedness in the soil’ and Lebensraum, by looking at the cultivated plants and domestic animals that materialized these ideas in the landscape in Italy, Germany, and Portugal, and their respective imperial territories in Eastern Europe and Africa. Mussolini’s Battle of Wheat, for example, was explored through the production of new elite seeds by Italian geneticists responsible for an early European version of the Green Revolution. The Nazi efforts to root Germans in the national soil were approached through animal geneticists’ efforts to develop hogs fed exclusively with products from the German soil. The latter story suggests the title of my new book manuscript, “Fascist Pigs: Genetics, Food and Fascism”. By connecting geneticists’ research and food policies of three different fascist regimes, it aspires to make laboratory production of industrialized organisms a central component of the history of fascism.
Before enrolling in the STS scene at Drexel University I was a research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) of the University of Lisbon for seven years. At ICS, as well as through my appointments as visiting professor at UCLA (2007/2008 and 2011) and UC Berkeley (2011/2012), I lectured several graduate and undergraduate courses in the history of the life sciences, history of technology, and environmental history.
History of science and technology, transnational history, food and environment, history of the life sciences, science and fascism