Professor López Alonso is an economic historian who works on historical anthropometry to assess the evolution of biological standards of living of given population. Her first book studied the Mexican population during the 1850-1950 period. Her current project examines the living standards of the population of New Spain (colonial Mexico) during the second half of the eighteenth century. For this, she will reconstruct the living conditions of people at that time by working with two bodies of evidence: agricultural disasters and epidemics of that time period. With GIS tools we will construct a map to see which localities experienced climate disasters that produced a decline of agriculture production in a given year. We will also create a map of disease and epidemic outbreaks by year and by localities. By putting together these two layers of information we will ascertain the causal relation between agriculture disasters, famines and spread of disease in the different localities of colonial MexicThis project will also assess the nature of diseases, and their link to malnutrition with the information available today. The analysis of diseases will be complemented with literature on the history of medicine to investigate what was the medical knowledge on the diseases recorded, this is what was known to diagnose, prevent and cure these diseases. She will examine if higher densities of population were correlated to disease environment due to poor sanitary infrastructure with supplemental information from the population census of 1791-93.
Dr. López-Alonso offers graduate reading seminars on Latin America and Mexican History. She is available to supervise fields in Latin American History, Mexican History, Economic History, History of Disease, Medicine and Public Health. Dr. López-Alonso regularly teaches undergraduate courses on Mexican History, Economic History, Poverty Justice and Human Capabilities and the Medical Humanities.
HIST 312: BIOMEDICAL APPROACH TO HISTORY
Moramay Lopez-Alonso is an associate professor of History at Rice University. She is an economic historian of Latin America, her research focus is the history of inequality in living standards and author of Measuring Up: A History of Living Standards in Mexico 1850-1950 (Stanford University Press 2012) winner of the 2013 Mexican History Book Prize awarded by the Conference in Latin American History with the edition in Spanish Published by Fondo de Cultura Económica in 2015. She holds a Licentiate degree in economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University.