Reinaldo Funes Monzote

Environmental History and History of Science, University of Havana

Reinaldo Funes Monzote is professor at the University of Havana and coordinator of the Geo Historical Research Program at the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation (Cuba). He is also president of the Cuban Society for the History of Science and Technology and an Academy of the History of Cuba member. After graduating in 1991, he worked as a researcher at the Carlos J. Finlay Museum of Science in Havana. His Ph.D. in Spain (2002) studied the deforestation process in Cuba due to the sugar expansion. The dissertation and the later books received awards in Spain, Mexico, the United States, and Cuba. He won the Casa de las Americas prize in 2019 with Nuestro viaje a la luna. La idea de la transformación de la naturaleza en Cuba durante la Guerra Fría (Our trip to the moon. The idea of the transformation of nature in Cuba during the Cold War).

Since the 1990s, he has been involved in the Environmental History movement in Latin America. Collaborations with international research teams have contributed to expanding his research on the relationship between slavery and the socio-ecological consequences of the plantation system, agrarian metabolism, and commodity frontiers. Recently, he aimed to write a synthesis of the Greater Caribbean environmental history.

At HIAS, he will work on a monography about the socio-environmental and ecological implications of the plantation economy after Alexander von Humboldt visited Cuba (1800 and 1804). Humboldt’s critical opinion about the slavery and monoculture offers a departing point to examine the consequences of the exploitation of humans and nature reinforced under the so-called “Second Slavery.” The research will explore the divergence between the plantations and livestock economy as critical to studying the transition to the fossil fuel age and the agroindustry in Latin America and the Caribbean.

His tandem partner in Hamburg is Ulrich Mücke, a Latin America and Iberian History professor at Universität Hamburg, Department of Global History.

HIAS Fellowship is provided by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the federal and state funds acquired by Universität Hamburg in the framework of its Excellence Strategy.


Reinaldo Funes Monzote


Universität Hamburg


Ulrich Mücke, Latin America and Iberian History professor, department of Global History, Universität Hamburg