William San Martín is a historian of global science and technology, environmental change, and public policy. He specializes in inter-American politics and relations, and Latin America in a global context. Prior to joining WPI, he was a Postdoctoral Associate, jointly affiliated with the program of Science, Technology, and Society and with the History Section at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He was a Fulbright Scholar and is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Program of Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His work examines the history of the science-policy interface to inform contemporary debates on environmental governance and sustainability. His book manuscript, Nitrogen Revolutions: Expertise, Technology, and Policy in Chile, studies the transnational history of nitrogen science and policy in Chile. Anthropogenic reactive nitrogen is considered a leading socio-ecological concern. This work explores the political and scientific debates on the environmental effects of nitrogen fertilizers, the role of scientific expertise in decision-making, and the contributions of developing countries—such as Chile—to the global nitrogen problem.
William has also recently started a new interdisciplinary project examining the social and policy dimensions of free-ranging dogs. Free-ranging dogs, as an invasive carnivore, affect humans and other animals globally. This research studies dogs as an ecological agent and examines how integrating the social and environmental dimensions of free-ranging dogs can provide novel insights into policy.
Previous to these projects, he studied race, judicial systems, and the constitution of legal knowledge and expertise. He has conducted research in Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States.
William has taught courses on the role of technology and environmental change in Latin America and inter-American relations, the global politics and ecologies of the water-energy-food nexus, and comparative environmental knowledge and governance. At WPI, he teaches a broad spectrum of courses and seminars, including topics such as global environmental history and justice, technology and development in U.S. foreign policy, science and politics of animal rights, international environmental policy, environmental metrics and risk, and history of innovation.
Beyond teaching and research, he co-founded, and runs an international non-profit organization focused on the science-policy interface in environmental and animal welfare issues in Chile.