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Tiago Saraiva

Tiago Saraiva, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of History
Office: 5014 MacAlister
Phone: 215.895.6870


  • PhD, History of Science, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 2004
  • BSc, Materials Engineering, Superior Technical Institute (IST), Technical University of Lisbon, 1997

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

Science and Fascism (Italy, Germany, Portugal), Science and Global History, Life Sciences and Agriculture, Science and the City


My current work deals with the historical connections between science, food, and politics. Mixing approaches from history of science, history of technology and environmental history, I follow the transnational circulation of Californian oranges from and into Brazil, Palestine, Algeria and South Africa. I am interested in what travels attached to Californian technoscientific oranges such as cloning practices, viruses, growers’ cooperatives and racialized labor relations. In my new book manuscript, “Cloning Democracy”, I tinker intensively with oranges in order to assert the importance of California in the remaking of the Global South in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Together with Francesca Bray, Barbara Hahn, and John-Bosco Lourdusamy, I am now exploring new ways of writing global history through the history of crops. The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science generously supports our ongoing project “Moving Crops and the Scales of History” aimed at producing a multi-authored narrative of crops on the move through areas of the globe beyond the West and crossing different time periods.

My approach to citrus draws heavily on my previous research on genetics, food and fascism. In my book, “Fascist Pigs: Technoscientific Organisms and the History of Fascism” (MIT Press, 2016), I researched 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. The book connects geneticists’ research and food policies of three different fascist regimes, and it aspires to make laboratory production of industrialized organisms a central component of the history of fascism.

I have been an assistant professor in the Department of History at Drexel University since the fall of 2012. Prior to that I was a research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) of the University of Lisbon for seven years and a visiting professor at UCLA (2007/2008 and 2011) and UC Berkeley (2011/2012). I lectured several graduate and undergraduate courses in history of science, history of technology, environmental history, global history and history of fascism. My special topics courses include history of commodities and theories in science and technology studies (STS).

Selected Publications:

Selected Publications:

Tiago Saraiva, Fascist Pigs: Technoscienctific Organisms and the History of Fascism (MIT Press, 2016).

Tiago Saraiva, “Fascist Modernist Landscapes: Wheat, Dams, and Forests, and the Making of the Portuguese New State”, Environmental History, 21.1, (2016): 55-71;

Tiago Saraiva, “Oranges as Model Organisms for Historians”, Agricultural History, 88.3 (2014): 410-16

Tiago Saraiva, “The Production/Circulation of Standardized Karakul Sheep and Frontier Settlement in the Empires of Hitler, Mussolini and Salazar “, in Dolly Jørgensen, Sara Pitchard, and Finn Arne Jørgensen (eds.), New Natures: Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013): 135-150;

Tiago Saraiva (2013), “Breeding Europe: Crop Diversity, Gene Banks, and Commoners”, in Nil Disco and Eda Kranakis (eds.), Cosmopolitan Commons: Sharing Resources and Risks across Borders (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press): 185-212;

Tiago Saraiva, “The History of Cybernetics in McOndo”, History and Technology, 28.4 (2012): 413-420

Tiago Saraiva and M. Norton Wise (eds.), “Autarky/Autarchy: Genetics and the Political Economy of Fascism”, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 40, n. 4 (2010): 419-428.

Tiago Saraiva, “Fascist Labscapes: Genetics, Wheat and the Landscapes of Fascism in Italy and Portugal”, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 40, n. 4 (2010): 457-498;

Tiago Saraiva (2007), “Inventing the Technological Nation: the Example of Portugal (1851-1898)”, History and Technology, 23 (3): 263-273;

with Antonio Lafuente (2004), “The Urban Scale of Science and the Enlargement of Madrid”, Social Studies of Science, 34: 531-569