Assistant Professor



Curriculum Vitæ


Ph.D. University of Toronto

M.A. University of Toronto

B.A.Hons. University of King's College, Dalhousie University

I am a historian of transnational science focusing on scientific conceptions of race, culture, and indigeneity in the twentieth century. Through multi-sited and transnational perspectives my work investigates how scientific articulations of human diversity have been used to both legitimize and confront political formations in the modern world.

My research approaches these topics from the perspective of Latin America and the global South. From this southern standpoint, I challenge the conventional geographies and periodization that have long shaped historical understandings of race and racism.

Research Interests

Global histories of race science, anti-racism in science, postcolonial studies of science, indigeneity and science, history of international development, history of the human sciences, history of food and nutrition, Latin American history

Selected Work

Sebastián Gil-Riaño, "Risky migrations: Race, Latin eugenics, and Cold War development in the International Labor Organization’s Puno–Tambopata project in Peru, 1930–60." History of Science. August 2021. doi:10.1177/00732753211035283 

Sebastián Gil-Riaño, “Becoming an Area Expert During the Cold War: Americanism and Lusotropicalismo in the Transnational Career of Anthropologist Charles Wagley, 1939–1971,” in Cold War Social And Behavioral Sciences in Transnational Contexts, Mark Solovey and Christian Daye, Eds, (Palgrave, UK: 2021). pp.127-159.

Projit Bihari Mukharji, Myrna Perez Sheldon, Elise K. Burton, Sebastián Gil-Riaño, Terence Keel, Emily Merchant, Wangui Muigai, Ahmed Ragab, and Suman Seth, "A Roundtable Discussion on Collecting Demographics Data," Isis 111, no. 2 (June 2020): 310-353.

Sebastián Gil-Riaño, “Relocating Anti-Racist Science: the 1950 UNESCO Statement on Race and Economic Development in the Global South.” The British Journal for the History of Science, 2018, 1–23. doi:10.1017/S0007087418000286.

Sebastián Gil-Riaño, “Redemptive Ancestries: Human Population Genetics, Sex and Antiracism." Social History of Medicine 30, no. 2 (2017): 448-454.

Sebastián Gil-Riaño and Sarah E. Tracy, “Developing Constipation: Dietary Fibre, Western Disease, and Industrial Carbohydrates, 1968-1984." Global Food History 2, no.2, (2016): 179-209.

“Sociology,” in A Companion to the History of American Science, edited by Georgina M. Montgomery and Mark A. Largent. (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), 263-275.

“Perturbed by “race”: Antiracism, Science, and Education in UNESCO during the Cold War,” in UNESCO Without Borders: Educational Campaigns for International Understanding, edited by Aigul Kulnazarova and Christian Ydesen. (Routledge Press, 2016)

Teaching Fields

History of the human sciences
Global histories of science
Gender, race, and science
STM in modern Latin America

Faculty Bookshelf