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. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Earth Systems Governance Project.
William is a former Fulbright Scholar (2011-2015); 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 (2016-2018); and a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany (2021). In 2019, he received the EHCA Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Environmental History awarded by the Environmental History Research Cluster Austria.
Born and raised in Chile, William has vast experience in policy-oriented research and building collaborations with international organizations and communities. He received his B.A. (2006) and M.A. (2011) in History from the Universidad Católica de Chile and a Ph.D. in Latin American and World History at the University of California Davis (2017) with a focus on international agricultural development, U.S. - Latin America relations, science diplomacy, and environmental sustainability. William has conducted research in Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States.
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. 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 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 for Environment and Society.
William is a contributing author to the International Nitrogen Assessment (INA), the first global assessment addressing issues at the intersection of nitrogen science, management, and governance. Set for publication in 2022, INA is a major output from the International Nitrogen Management System Project (INMS), implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). William is also a Steering Council Member for the North American Chapter of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI). INI is an international program sponsored by the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) aiming to produce scientific advice to minimize nitrogen’s harmful effects on human health and the environment resulting from food and energy production.
At WPI, he is a member of the Latin American Studies Initiative Steering Committee and an affiliated faculty 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. William teaches history and global studies courses with an emphasis on science and technology, the human environment, and environmental justice and inequalities.