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Gussenhoven Distinguished Professor of Latin American Studies; Professor of History
Hamilton Hall 516
Office Hours: W 11:00am-1:00pm and by appointment (in person or via Zoom)
Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website


BA Smith College, 1968
MA University of California-Berkeley, 1970
PhD University of California-San Diego, 1990

Research Interests

Cynthia Radding’s research interests in Latin American colonial history focus on the intersections between environmental and ethnographic history. Her current work exemplifies methods for comparative history, across North and South America and within the broad borderlands region of northern Mexico and southwestern U.S. Her scholarship is rooted in the imperial borderlands of the Spanish and Portuguese American empires, emphasizing the role of indigenous peoples and other colonized groups in shaping those borderlands and transforming their landscapes. Her current project, “Bountiful Deserts, Imperial Shadows,” explores the ecological transition between wild and cultivated plants, the cultural intersections of sedentary and nomadic peoples, and the production of knowledge in northern Mexico.

Some Notable Publications

  • Borderlands in World History, 1700-1914, co-edited with Paul Readman and Chad Bryant, London and New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014
  • “The Children of Mayahuel: Agaves, Human Cultures, and Desert Landscapes in Northern Mexico,” Environmental History 17 (January 2012): 84-115
  • Landscapes of Power and Identity. Comparative Histories in the Sonoran Desert and the Forests of Amazonia from Colony to Republic (Duke University Press, 2005)

Graduate Students

Courses Taught (as schedule allows)

For current information about course offerings, click here.

  • HIST 240—Introduction to History of Mexico: A Nation in Four Revolutions
  • HIST 529—Mexico, 1750–1870: Citizenship and Conflict in a New Nation
  • HIST 393—Senior Seminar in Environmental History
  • HIST 713—Space, Territoriality, and the Creation of Regions in Colonial Ibero-America.
  • HIST 820—Ethnohistory as a Transdisciplinary Field
  • LTAM 697—Senior Research Capstone Seminar