Faculty by Research Specialization

The Department of History at UC Santa Cruz is known for its innovative research and exemplary scholarship. Our faculty work at the cutting edge of their respective fields, covering a wide variety of geographic, temporal, and thematic fields of study. The areas of specialization listed here are by no means an exhaustive list of our scholastic interests. Rather, they highlight the diverse and often overlapping ideas and approaches we explore within our teaching and research.

Kathleen C Gutierrez
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History Department
  • Affiliations Center for Southeast Asian Coastal Interactions (SEACoast), Science & Justice Research Center
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, 539
  • Office Hours Spring 2024: Mondays 1-3pm in person and by Zoom
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise The Philippines, Southeast Asian Studies, History of Science, Colonialism, Science Studies
  • Courses HIS 188A: Introduction to the Practice of Oral History
  • Advisees, Grad Students, Researchers Maia Michelle Jardenil Mislang, Ian Hunte Doyle, Sharan Kaur Sethi, Jacob Press, Janeth Cornelia PĂ©rez-Quirke, Julie Ann Fintamag, Jose Gerardo Maciel

Summary of Expertise

Philippine history, science and technology studies, Southeast Asian studies, history of plant sciences

Research Interests

Modern and contemporary Philippines, plant studies, comparative Spanish and U.S. colonialisms, weaving and textile technologies, agricultural history, agricultural practice, farmworker migration, botanical nomenclature, scientific labor, environmental history, postcolonial STS

Biography, Education and Training

I am interested broadly in the politics of botanical life and plant world-making in modern histories of the Philippines and Southeast Asia. My first book, titled Sovereign Vernaculars: [Un]making Botany in the Colonial Philippines (Duke University Press, March 2025), expands the "vernacular" in the history of colonial botany and examines practical and epistemological tensions in the Philippines during the science's internationalist acceleration.

My next project, one drawing on oral histories tentatively titled A World in a Plant, 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, herbarium plant collecting, and a digital exhibit with UK-based artist Liz Orton called "The Herbarium of Endangerment." Presently, I am working with The Tobera Project, a team of UCSC colleagues, and community researchers on Watsonville is in the Heart, a campus-community initiative to preserve stories of the first generation of Filipino farmworkers 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

Richard E. Cone Award for Emerging Leaders in Community Engagement, LEAD California, 2024

Public Humanities Planning Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2023

Engaging Humanities Grant, UC Humanities Research Institute, 2023

Fellowship, The Society of Hellman Fellows, 2023

Project Grant, Monterey Peninsula Foundation, 2022

Fellow, Interdisciplinary Residency, Oak Spring Garden Foundation, 2022

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

Humanities for All Quick Grant, California Humanities, 2021

Mellon Fellowship, Humanities Institute of the New York Botanical Garden, 2020

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

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

Selected Publications

"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, 2023.

"From objects of study to worldmaking beings: The history of botany at the corner of the plant turn," History Compass e12782 (2023).

"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.

"STS in the Philippines," with Paul Michael L. Atienza, introduction to guest co-edited special issue "Science and Technology Studies in the Philippines," Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints 70, no. 1 (2023).

"Toad Lily." In The Mind of Plants: Narratives of Vegetal Intelligenceedited 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.


Selected Recordings

"Episode 65," Gatty Lecture Rewind Podcast, Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University, March 24, 2022.

"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.

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, oral history