Claudia Leal holds a PhD in geography from the University of California at Berkeley and is an associate professor at the Department of History at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, where she helped create and was the first director of the Master’s program in geography. Claudia has conducted research on rainforest regions, focusing on the transition from slavery to freedom in one such area, the Pacific coast of Colombia. Her book Landscapes of Freedom, Building a Postemancipation Society in the Rainforests of Western Colombia, will be out in early 2018 (The University of Arizona Press). Her broader interest in the role of race in the building of Latin American societies led her to edit (with Carl Langebaek) Historias sobre raza y nación en América Latina (Ediciones Uniandes, 2010). She has helped develop the field of Latin American environmental history as co-president of the Latin American and Caribbean Society for Environmental History (SOLCHA) and as co-editor (with John Soluri and José Augusto Pádua) of the forthcoming book A Living Past, Environmental Histories of Modern Latin America (Berghahn Books, 2018). She was Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, Germany, and serves on the boards of Environmental History and Hispanic American Historical Review. She is interested in the relationship between armed conflict and environments, and in the history of animals. Claudia is currently working on a monograph tentatively entitled Nature Conservation in Colombia, A History of Territorial State Building. As part of her research on this topic, she co-edited (with Wilko graf von Hardenberg, Mathew Kelly and Emily Wakild) The Nature State: Rethinking the History of Conservation (Routledge, 2017).
Professor Claudia Leal is teaching HISTORY 276K/376K: The Nature State: Latin American Conservation in Global Perspective in winter 2018 & History 278D/378D: Race, Ethnicity, and the Environment in Latin America in spring 2018.