Elizabeth Hennessy

I am an historical geographer with research and teaching interests in global environmental history (with an emphasis on Latin America), animal studies, histories of science and conservation, and the political economy of development. My book project focuses on the giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands to ground transnational histories of capital, evolutionary science, conservation, and tourism development that have shaped these storied islands since the early eighteenth century. My work uses mixed archival and ethnographic methods to engage with interdisciplinary traditions that cross history, geography, and science and technology studies.


  • PhD - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • MA - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • BA - Miami University 

Selected Publications:

  • “Molecularizing Conservation: The Genetics of Pristine Nature and the Rediscovery of an Extinct Species of Galápagos Giant Tortoise.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers. (In press)
  • “Producing ‘Prehistoric’ Life: Conservation breeding and the remaking of wildlife genealogies.” Geoforum. Vol. 49 (October 2013) pp. 71-80.
  • “Nature’s Eden? The Production and Effects of ‘Pristine’ Nature in the Galápagos Islands.” Island Studies Journal. Vol. 6, No. 2 (2011), pp. 131-156. With Amy McCleary.

Selected Awards:

  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies/ Mellon Foundation, 2013-2014
  • International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Social Science Research Council, 2011-2012
  • Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, National Science Foundation, 2010-2012

History Courses:

Elizabeth Hennessy

Assisstant Professor



5110 Mosse Humanities

5024 Mosse Humanities

Office Hours: