Mikael Wolfe receives book award from Conference on Latin American History

Stanford historian MIKAEL WOLFE was recently honored for his 2017 book on land and water reforms in Mexico.

Mikael Wolfe.
Mikael Wolfe

Wolfe, assistant professor of history, won the Conference on Latin American History’s 2018 Elinor K. Melville Prize for Best Book in Latin American History.

His book, Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico, examines Mexican land and water distribution from the 1920s to the 1960s. His research shows that the efforts to redistribute natural resources during that time in Mexico were unsustainable because of people’s unbridled faith in technology’s power to fix social problems, as well as the efforts’ environmental side effects.

The prize is given to the best book on Latin American environmental history published in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese. Established in 2007, the prize honors the memory of Elinor K. Melville, who was a scholar of the role of environmental change in the European colonization of the Americas.

“This is a premier award for Latin American environmental history, and I’m very honored to have received it,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe, who joined Stanford in 2012, focuses his research on the intersection of social, political, environmental and technological change in modern Mexico and Latin America.

His current research project explores the real and perceived influence of meteorological phenomena, such as drought, frost and hurricanes, on the Mexican and Cuban revolutions.