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Washington State University Vancouver Andra B. Chastain

Andra B. Chastain
Assistant Professor of History
Washington State University Vancouver

Ph.D., Yale University, 2018
M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2012
B.A., Reed College, 2008

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Academic and Professional Interests

Chastain is a historian of modern Latin America with a focus on twentieth-century Chile in a global context. Her research and teaching interests include urban and environmental history, the history of science and technology, the transnational history of aid and development, and the global Cold War. Her first monograph examines the history of the metro system in Santiago, Chile, in the context of shifting political regimes, the global Cold War, and the social and cultural history of the city. Because this major public works project cuts across Chile’s experiences with Christian democracy, democratic socialism, and military rule, it offers a new perspective on the break between democracy and dictatorship and the shift from state-led development to neoliberalism. She is particularly interested in how Chilean urban planners collaborated with French consultants, how the metro challenged or reinforced inequality in the city, and how the metro became a site of social and political struggle. She has conducted research for this project in Chile, France, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States, and her work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the P.E.O. Foundation, and the Conference on Latin American History.

Dr. Chastain welcomes inquiries from students interested in graduate study in modern Latin American and world history.  Particular topics of interest include urban and environmental history, the transnational Cold War, political and cultural history, the history of science and technology, and oral history.


Chile Underground: The Santiago Metro and the Struggle for a Rational City. Manuscript under contract.

“Rethinking Basic Infrastructure: French Aid and Metro Development in Postwar Latin America,” Comparativ vol. 30, no. 1/2 (2020): 128–141. Special issue: “Transforming Cities: Urbanization and International Development in Africa and Latin America since 1945,” edited by Marc Frey, Sönke Kunkel, and Nancy Kwak.

“‘A Shameful and Uncivilized Spectacle’: Taxibuses, Students, and the Conflicted Road to Deregulation in Pinochet’s Chile, 1975–1978,” Journal of Transport History 42, no. 2 (online first, December 2020), 1–19.

“The Santiago Metro as Microcosm of Chile.” NACLA: North American Congress on Latin America (October 2019).

Itineraries of Expertise: Science, Technology, and the Environment in Latin America’s Long Cold War, co-editor with Timothy W. Lorek. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020.

“Planning the Santiago Metro in Cold War Chile,” in Itineraries of Expertise: Science, Technology, and the Environment in Latin America’s Long Cold War. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020, 237–257.

“Beyond Resistance: New Works on Urban Popular Politics in Latin America’s Informal Cities.” Journal of Urban History, vol. 43, no. 6, 960–967. 2017.

“Francis Violich and the Rise and Fall of Urban Developmental Planning in Chile, 1956–1969.” Revista de Historia Iberoamericana, vol. 4, no. 2, 10–39. 2011.

Selected Honors and Awards

2020 Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence – Associated Students of Washington State University Vancouver

2019 Lewis Hanke Postdoctoral Prize – Conference on Latin American History

2019 John Scholes Transport History Research Prize – International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic, and Mobility

2018 Michael Katz Award for best dissertation in urban history, awarded by the Urban History Association

2018 Arthur and Mary Wright Prize for outstanding dissertation in the field of history outside the United States or Europe, Yale University

2016–17 P.E.O. Scholar Award

2014–15 Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship