Faculty Directory

Kathleen Cruz Gutierrez
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History Department
  • Affiliations Science & Justice Research Center
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, 539
    • On leave 2021-2022 at the Humanities Institute of the New York Botanical Garden
  • Mail Stop History Department
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise The Philippines, Southeast Asian Studies, History of Science, Colonialism, Science Studies

Summary of Expertise

Philippine history, science and technology studies, Southeast Asian studies, history of colonial botany  

Research Interests

Modern and contemporary Philippines, plant studies, comparative Spanish and U.S. colonialisms, weaving and textile technologies, botanical nomenclature, scientific labor, botanical illustrations, environmental humanities, postcolonial STS, Southeast Asian environmental studies, Cold War, science and the Marcos dictatorship

Biography, Education and Training

I am interested broadly in the politics of plant life and the agentic role of flora in modern histories of the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Currently, I am developing a book manuscript, Sovereign Vernaculars: Philippine Plant Knowledge at the Dawn of New Imperial Botany, that centers the role of local botanical knowledge in the history of Philippine nationalism, colonial science, and imperial botany's internationalist direction at the turn of the century.

My next project, one drawing on oral histories tentatively titled The Cold War Philippines in Five Plants, examines five plant species (e.g. the Tricyrtis imeldae, named after former First Lady Imelda Marcos) as lenses into the plant sciences in the Cold War Philippines and the neighboring decolonized states of Southeast Asia. I build on literature that has prioritized U.S. foreign policy, the Marcos dictatorship, and civil unrest to contend that plants—and the scientists behind their study—were also instrumental to the political maneuvering of the era.

I welcome practice-oriented fieldwork that can expand and challenge the historical questions I bring to my scholarship. To that end, I pursue interdisciplinary collaborations with scholars in the United States and abroad. Previous collaborations have led to field research among northern Philippine textile weaving and dyeing communities and herbarium plant collecting. Presently, I am working with The Tobera Project, a community-driven initiative to uplift stories of the manong generation in Watsonville and in the greater Pajaro Valley, CA. 

Ph.D. South & Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

with a Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies and a Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 

M.A. South & Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

B.A. Public Health and South & Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Honors, Awards and Grants

Shortlist, Best Dissertation in the Humanities, International Convention of Asia Scholars, 2021

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Humanities Institute of the New York Botanical Garden, 2021

Humanities for All Quick Grant, California Humanities, 2021

Collaborative Projects Award, with Christina Ayson Plank and Steve McKay (co-PI), Arts Research Institute, 2021

New Faculty Research Grant, UCSC Committee on Research, 2021

Graduate Student Professionalization Workshop Grant, with Elizabeth Hargrett and Massimo Mazzotti (PI), UC Humanities Research Institute, 2020

Dibner Fellowship in the History of Science and Technology, The Huntington Library, 2019

Bordin-Gillette Research Fellowship, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, 2018

Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Social Science Research Council, 2017

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 2017

RISE Leadership Award, Gender Equity Resource Center, UC Berkeley, 2017

Usha Mahajani Memorial Prize, Association for Asian Studies, 2014

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education - Filipino (2014) and Spanish (2015)


Selected Publications

"Botanical Knowledge within Itneg Weaving and Dyeing: Tracking Contemporary Negotiations with Plant-based Technologies." In Anthropological, Mathematical Symmetry and Technical Characterisation of Cordillera Textiles Project, edited by A. Salvador-Amores, 67-88 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2019).

"Diospyros embryopteris by Emina Vidal Jackson y Zaragoza, Philippine botanical illustrator." In Women in the History of Science: A Liberating the Curriculum Sourcebook, edited by R. Martin, F. Lawrence-Mackey, S. Harrison, E. Jone, and H. Wills (London: University College London Press, forthcoming).

"A Philippine Asphyxia." Qui Parle 30, no. 1 - Breath Special Issue (2021): 219-221.

"Rehabilitating Botany in the Postwar Moment: National Promise and the Encyclopedism of Eduardo Quisumbing's Medicinal Plants of the Philippines (1951)." Asian Review of World Histories 6, no. 1 (2018): 33-67.

"Toad Lily." In The Mind of Plants: Narratives of Vegetal Intelligence, edited by John Charles Ryan, Monica Gagliano, and Patricia Vieira, 391-398 (Santa Fe: Synergetic Press, 2021). 

"What's in a Latin Name? Cycas wadei and the Politics of Nomenclature." Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology 12, no. 2 (2018): 24-35.

"Working with Plants in the Itneg Textile Household." In Threads of Wisdom: The Mercedes Zobel Collection of Indigenous Textiles, edited by Patricia Araneta and R.J. Fernandez. London: E. Zobel, Inc.


Selected Recordings

"Kat Gutierrez, Alumnae of the Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies," Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society Berkeley, March 1, 2021. 

"Filipinx Powerpoint Party: Science Takeover," with Carla Bertulfo, John Paul Balmonte, and Ingrid Paredes, New York University, January 30, 2021.

"Kathleen Gutierrez on the politics of plant nomenclature in the Philippines," Interview with Galen Poor and Philip Cerepak, TransAsia & the World Podcast, University of Wisconsin, Madison, February 15, 2019.

On Title IX policy reform, Interview with Marie Choi, UpFront-KPFA, Berkeley, April 22, 2016.

Teaching Interests

Southeast Asian studies, area studies, Philippine history, science and technology studies, colonial world, science and empire, environmental history, academic writing and research, pedagogy