William San Martín is an interdisciplinary scholar of earth-systems sciences and global environmental governance trained in history, international politics & relations, and science & technology studies (STS). His work focuses on international development; Latin America & the Global South; socio-environmental (in)justices; and science, technology & the human environment.
William is a former Fulbright Scholar; a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany; and a Visiting Scholar and a Postdoctoral Associate jointly affiliated with the program of Science, Technology, and Society and the History Section at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently working on a book manuscript examining the rise of global nitrogen science and governance, with special attention to issues of socio-environmental injustice, colonialism, (under)development, and sustainable development in the Global South.
William was born and raised in Chile, where he received his B.A. (2006) and M.A. (2011) in History from the Universidad Católica de Chile. He migrated to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in History (Latin American and World History) at the University of California Davis (2017).
Before focusing his attention on contemporary environmental issues, William worked on questions regarding race equity, slavery, legal systems, and state formation in the 18th and 19th centuries across the North Atlantic and the Americas. Today, he integrates many of the discussions from colonial, postcolonial and development studies, critical race theory, history and sociology of state formation, and the social history of law and policy into his teaching and scholarship. In doing so, he aims to highlight areas that tend to be overlooked in modern scholarly and public environmental governance debates, such as political economy, inequalities, violence, and colonialism.
William is the recipient of the 2019 EHCA Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Environmental History awarded by the Environmental History Research Cluster Austria. He is co-editor, along with Emily O'Gorman, Mark Carey, and Sandra Swart, of the Routledge Handbook of Environmental History (under contract), and author of various peer-reviewed articles and book chapters published in fields including history of science and technology, political ecology, environmental studies, sustainable development, and Latin American studies. He currently curates the collections "Technology and Expertise" and "Histories across Species" for Arcadia, the online, peer-reviewed journal of the Rachel Carson Center.
At WPI, William is affiliated with the International & Global Studies, the MS Community Climate Adaptation, and the Great Problems Seminar Programs. He has served as a faculty advisor for Interactive Qualifying Projects at the Costa Rica - Monteverde Project Center. He currently serves as a member of the steering committee for the Latin American Studies Initiative and teaches history and global studies courses with an emphasis on science and technology, the human environment, and environmental justice and inequalities.