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headshot of Nancy P. Appelbaum

Nancy P. Appelbaum

Professor; LACAS Courtesy Title

History; Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies Program


Nancy Appelbaum's research has asked: How have Latin Americans defined and experienced race, region, nation, and migration? How has the formation of Latin American nation-state reinforced or revised race and gender inequality? Her most recent book, Mapping the Country of Regions: The Chorographic Commission of Colombia (2016; Spanish 2017), follows a group of mid-nineteenth-century geographers as they traverse and depict the mountains, valleys, plains, and forests of the country that became Colombia. Appelbaum studies the ways they envisioned the racial and territorial composition of the young nation, how they reconstructed its past, and how they envisioned its future. Her earlier work, including her prizewinning book Muddied Waters: Race, Region, and Local History in Colombia, 1846-1948 (2003, Spanish 2008) examined agrarian and regional history from the perspective of a multiracial community in Colombia’s Coffee Region over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She also co-edited Race and Nation in Modern Latin America (2003), an influential volume of historical essays. Her additional areas of interest include gender and transnational links between Latin America and the United States. Appelbaum accepts well-prepared graduate students in modern Latin American history whose thematic interests dovetail with the History Department’s broader strengths. For undergraduates, she teaches a range of topics in Latin American history and Latin American and Caribbean studies. She previously directed the Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies (LACAS) program, with which she remains actively affiliated, and chaired the History Department.


  • PhD, MA, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • BA, Vassar College

Research Interests

  • Modern Latin American history
  • Colombian history
  • History of race and gender
  • Latin American migration
  • U.S.-Latin American relations

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae