Associate Professor of Latin American History at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Marixa Lasso is Associate Professor of Latin American History at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Prior to joining the Universidad Nacional, she was Associate Professor with tenure at Case Western Reserve University. She is the author of the book Myths of Harmony: Race and Republicanism during the Age of Revolution, Colombia 1795-1831 (2007). Professor Lasso is a contributor to numerous books and has published in journals like the American Historical Review, Environmental History, and Citizenship Studies. She is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Lost Towns of the Canal Zone (under contract with Harvard University Press), for which she received grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Humanities Center. She has also held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright, and the Werner Gren Foundation. Her work has been translated to Spanish and Portuguese.
The Lost Towns of the Canal Zone
This work looks at the relationship between US ideas about Panamanian tropical environment and peoples and the depopulation of the Panama Canal Zone. It argues that political rhetoric facilitated regional depopulation by re-characterizing Panama’s republican citizens, most of whom were black, as “natives.” Once this ideological transformation took place, it became easier to enforce depopulation policies that forever altered the Canal Zone landscape by converting what had previously been one of the most densely populated regions of the country into a jungle landscape.