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 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
    • Remote for Spring 2021
  • Office Hours Spring 2021: Wednesdays 1-3:00pm or by appointment via Zoom
  • Mail Stop History Department
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise The Philippines, Southeast Asian Studies, History of Science, Colonialism, Science Studies
  • Courses Spring 2021: HIS 81: Science in the Colonial World

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 Botany at the Dawn of New Imperial Science, drawn from my dissertation 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 public history initiative to uplift stories of Filipino families, migration, and the environment 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

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Humanities Institute of the New York Botanical Garden, 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 - Spanish (2015) and Filipino (2014)


Selected Publications

"Cycas wadei and Enduring White Space." In Empire and Environment: Confronting Ecological Ruination in the Asia-Pacific and the Americas, edited by R. Garcia Chua, H. Hong, J. Santa Ana, and X. Zhou (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, forthcoming).

"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.

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


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