Gabriela Soto Laveaga (History, UCSB)

Soto Laveaga's interests are history of science, knowledge production, and public health in Latin America. Her recent book _Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects, and the Making of the Pill_(Duke University Press, 2009) traces the political, economic, and scientific development of the global barbasco industry, focusing primarily on the rural southern region of Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, where scientists relied on local, indigenous knowledge to cultivate and harvest the plant. She explores how the yams made their way from the jungles of Mexico to domestic and foreign laboratories, and on to the medicine cabinets of millions of women around the world. Soto Laveaga was the winner of the 2010 Robert K. Merton Best Book Award, given each year by the Science, Knowledge, and Technology section of the American Sociological Association for the best recent book published in science and technology studies. Her current project is about public health and social movements in Mexico City.