Appelbaum's research has asked: How have Latin Americans defined and experienced race, region, nation, and migration? How have race and gender played into the formation of Latin American nations and regions? 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 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. Her earlier work 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 essays by historians of Latin America. Her additional areas of interest include gender and transnational links between Latin America and the United States, which has led her to a new project on Central American immigrants. 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. Since 2014, she has directed the Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies (LACAS) program. She also previously chaired the History Department.
- PhD, MA, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- BA, Vassar College
- Modern Latin American history
- Colombian history
- History of race and gender
- Latin American immigration