La historia ambiental latinoamericana: Cambios y permanencias de un campo en crecimiento

Jacob Blanc, Vladimir Sánchez-Calderón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article, and those that comprise the present dossier, serve to encourage debate and critical reflection on the role of environmental history of Latin America, a scholarly field that has established a strong presence and recognition in academic communities across the world. Methodology: The article is based on an interpretive exercise focused on the main changes and continuities within the historiography of Latin American environmental history since 2005, when an earlier dossier on environmental history was published in Historia Crítica. Here, we offer a preliminary overview of the field by discussing three themes that are central to various texts: the predominance of “declensionist” history, the privileging of the nation-state and political-administration as a unit of analysis, and finally, the uneven concentration of publications in a few countries—above all, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. Following on these themes, we then engage a similar exercise in light of the three themes that animate the articles of this dossier: urban environmental history, the history of conservation, and the history of climate. Originality: The article is in dialogue with historiographic overviews published toward the end of the last decade that suggested possible future developments for the field. The present article responds to some of those questions while also suggesting some of its own, which can, in turn, be further developed in future work. Conclusions: Latin American environmental history continues to be a growing field, though with an already solidified core. Much of its legitimacy derives from the maturation of the Latin American Society for Environmental History, which for more than ten years has built a network for the field and served as a hub for new projects, along with its biannual conference and postgraduate workshops. As a scholarly field, there has also been the emergence of new themes such as the history of climate, along with other perspectives that were barely mentioned a decade ago. For example, articles that emphasize the symbolic dimension of climate change. However, there are still routes open for future expansion. Research led by teams from different countries about frontier regions and/or shared ecosystems, for instance, are becoming increasingly vital given the dynamics that cross national boundaries.
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)3-18
JournalHistoria Crítica
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019


  • environment
  • environmental history
  • historiography
  • Latin America
  • nature

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