Gabriela Soto Laveaga

Gabriela Soto Laveaga

Professor of the History of Science
Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico

Areas of Research: Modern Latin America; intersection of science and culture; public health; scientific and medical exchange in the Global South

Personal Website

Gabriela Soto Laveaga is Professor of the History of Science and Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at Harvard University. Her current research interests interrogate knowledge production and circulation between Mexico and India; medical professionals and social movements; and science and development projects in the twentieth century.

Her first book, Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects and the Making of the Pill, won the Robert K. Merton Best Book prize in Science, Knowledge, and Technology Studies from the American Sociological Association. Her second monograph, Sanitizing Rebellion: Physician Strikes, Public Health and Repression in Twentieth Century Mexico, examines the role of healthcare providers as both critical actors in the formation of modern states and as social agitators. Her latest book project seeks to re-narrate histories of twentieth century agriculture development aid from the point of view of India and Mexico.

She has held numerous fellowships, including those from the Ford, Mellon, Fulbright, DAAD, and Gerda Henkel Foundations and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. In 2019, she received the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence In Mentoring Award from Harvard University.

Select Publications:


  • Laboratorios en la Selva: campesinos mexicanos, proyectos nacionales, y la creación de la píldora anticonceptiva. Fondo de Cultura Económica: Mexico City, 2020.
  • Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National, Projects and the Making of the Pill.   Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.  Winner of Robert K. Merton Award

Select Articles:

  • “Rogue Seeds in Disturbed Fields” Isis, volume 13, num 3, September 2022.
  • “Poverty Alleviation from the Margins: Mexico’s COPLAMAR as a Challenge to 1980s Global Health and Economic Models” Hispanic American Historical Review. 102:4, Fall 2022: 673-704.
  • “Of Canals, Rivers, and the Right to Exist: New(?) Methodological Tools for a Changed World,” Science, Technology and Society. (2022): 1-6.
  • “Beyond Borlaug’s Shadow: Octavio Paz and Mexican Hybrid Seeds in India,” Agricultural History, Fall 2021 (95.4).
  • “Doña Hermila: Zapotec Healer and Media Star,” in Diego Armus and Pablo Gomez, The Gray Zones of Healing. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.
  • "The socialist origins of the Green Revolution: Pandurang Khankhoje and domestic ‘technical assistance,’" History and Technology, 36:3-4, 2020: 337-359."
  • (with Warwick Anderson, guest editors.) “Forum: Decolonizing Histories in Theory and Practice,” History and Theory: 59 (2020), 2.
  • “Moving from, and Beyond, Invented Categories: Afterwords” History and Theory: 59 (2020), 2: 439-447.
  • “Cold War Mexico in a Time of ‘Wonder Drugs,’” Anne-Emanuelle Birn and Raúl Necochea López in Peripheral Nerve: Health and Medicine in Cold War Latin America. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2020:86-106.
  • Largo dislocare: connecting microhistories to remap and recenter histories of science, History and Technology, 34:1, 2018: 21-30.
  • “Epigenetics of Memory,” Kalfou: Special Issue on Race and Science. Volume 5, Issue 1 Spring 2018: 54-60.
  •  “Medicalizing the Borders of an Expanding State: Physicians Reporting from the Frontier of Mexican Progress, 1930-1950,” in W. I. Lee, John W.I. and Michael North Globalizing Borderlands Studies in Europe and North America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016.
  • “Building the Nation of the Future, One Waiting Room at a Time: Hospitals in the Making of Modern Mexico,” History and Technology edited by John Krige and Jessica Wang, Volume 31, Issue 3, July 2015, pages 275-294.
  • Mexico’s Historical Solutions to Rural Health,” in Health for All the Journey to Universal Health Coverage. York: Center for Global Health Histories, 2015.
  • “Shadowing the Professional Class: Reporting Fictions in Doctors’ Strikes” Special issue on secret service archives. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research, Summer 2013, 19:1, 30-40. 
  • "Searching for Molecules, Finding Rebellion: Echeverría's 'Arriba y Adelante'  Populism in Southeastern Mexico” in Populism in twentieth century Mexico : the presidencies of Lázaro Cárdenas and Luis Echeverría, edited by Amelia Kiddle and Maria Muñoz. Tucson: University of Arizona Press: 2010: pp. 87-105.

Articles In Progress:

  • “When the Baker is the Knowledge Maker,” Article in Progress.
  • “Technology, Difference and Power: Sonoran Irrigation Canals and the Panama Canal as Sites of Erased Histories and Peoples” in Dagmar Schafer et al Oxford History of Technology. Accepted & Forthcoming.
  • “Invisible Labour: Power” in Jenny Bangham et al Invisible Labour. Accepted & Forthcoming.

Select Talks/Lectures/Keynotes/Presentations

  • Hawkins Lecture. Amherst College. March 24, 2022.
  • Klopsteg Lecture at Northwestern University, February 28, 2022.
  • Wellcome Lecture at the University of Cambridge, January 20, 2022.
  • “Health Policies, Political Power, and Regime Change in 20th-Century Latin America,” comment. American Historical Association, January 2021.
  • “‘Development’ Science in Latin America: Rethinking Hybrid Seeds and 20th Century Agro-technology,” American Historical Association, January 2021.

Select Fellowships & Awards

  • Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Member for Academic year 2019-2020
  • 2019 recipient of the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence In Mentoring Award
  • Gerda Henkel Fellowship for Research Scholars, July 2015—January 2016
  • Visiting Scholar - Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin Aug. 1– Oct.1, 2015 and Jan.1 – Jan. 31, 2016, Group II
  • 2016 UC Academic Senate Research Grant
  • 2014 LAIS Outstanding Faculty Advisor
  • 2014 Rockefeller Archive Center Grant
  • 2010 Robert K. Merton Book Award  for Jungle Laboratories
  • 2010 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship co-P.I.

Contact Information

p: (617) 495-3492