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Theresa Ventura, PhD

Associate Professor, History
Public History Honours Program, History

Theresa Ventura, PhD
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2070
Availability: Tuesdays 1-2:30 pm

Theresa Ventura holds an MA and PhD in History from Columbia University and a BA in History and women's studies from Brooklyn College.  Her research draws together the histories of United States foreign relations, medicine, agriculture, and the environment.  Her current manuscript, tentatively titled Empire Reformed:  The United States, the Philippines, and the Practices of Development, investigates American attempts to recast rural life and agricultural production in the Philippines, then the United States' most populous formal colony, and considers the impact of this project on Philippines politics, health, and nature.  The manuscript is a revision of her dissertation, which was awarded Columbia University's Bancroft Dissertation Prize (2010).  Before coming to Concordia, Dr. Ventura was an Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, and was a 2010-2011 American Council of Learned Societies-Mellon Foundation Post-doctoral fellow at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington DC.


BA, Brooklyn College, MA, Ph.D., Columbia University


Articles & Book Chapters

"Consider the Coconut: Scientific Agriculture and the Racialization of Risk in the American Colonial Philippines, Journal of Transnational American Studies 13:1 (2022), 45-67.

"A Drought So Extraordinary: The 1911 ENSO and Disaster Nationalism in the American Colonial Philippines,"
in Philip Gooding, ed., Droughts, Floods, and Global Climatic Anomalies in the Indian Ocean World (2022). Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies.

"I Am Already Annexed: Ramon Reyes Lala and the Crafting of 'Philippine' Advocacy for American Empire," Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (July 2020).

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"Prison, plantation, and peninsula: colonial knowledge and experimental technique in the post-war Bataan Rice Enrichment Project, 1910–1950," History and Technology, 35:3 (Jan 2020), pp. 293-315.

"From Small Farms to Progressive Plantations: The Trajectory of Land Reform in the American Colonial Philippines, 1900-1916," Agricultural History (Winter 2016), pp. 459-483.

"Medicalizing Gutom: Hunger, Diet, and Beriberi during the American Period," Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints, 63:1 (March 2015), pp. 39-69.


Review of Yoshiko Nagano, State and finance in the Philippines, 1898-1941: the mismanagement of an American colony for Economic History Review (May 2016).

Research activities

Current Major Grants

FRQSC, L'Empire Reconstitue: les Pratiques de Developpement des Americains aux Philippines de 1898 a 1946, September 2015-March 2018

Participation activities

Select Conferences, Workshops, and Talks

"'The Magic Liquid that Guarantees the Life of the Infant': Breast Milk as Food and Medicine in the Philippines, 1880-1924," Association for Asian Studies, Seattle, WA, March 31-April 3, 2016

“Colonial Land Reform and Inequality in the American Colonial Philippines,” Political Economy Seminar, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, November 17, 2014

“Progressive Plantations: Visions of Development of Philippine Friar Lands,” American Historical Association Annual Meeting, January 2014

“Who Cured Beriberi? What an American Historian Learned from Ileto,”Historiography and Nation since Pasyon and Revolution: Conference in Honor of Professor Reynaldo C. Ileto, Manila,Philippines, February 8-9, 2013

“The Malnourished Tropics: Beriberi, Nutrition, and the Remapping of Monsoon Asia,” Anatomies of Knowledge: Medicine. Science, and Health in Asia Workshop, Social Science Research Council Inter-Asia Conference, Hong Kong,June 6-8, 2012

“Market Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and Natural Resource Management,” The Library of Congress, Washington DC, October 15, 2011

Teaching activities


Fall 2022

HIST 324/4 Section A
United States in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 1877-1920s

The period from 1877 to 1924 witnessed the transformation of the United States from a rural debtor nation into an urban, industrial, financial, and military power. Accompany this transformation was an unprecedented gap between the wealthy and poor and an increase in global migration. This course asks how people from all walks of life experienced, interpreted, and sought to control these changes. How did migration shape gendered and racialized identities? How did workers, the middle classes, and the wealthy define the relationship between individual liberty and the social good? How did their political actions and social movements change the meaning of democracy, the role of government, and boundaries of citizenship? 

We will answer these questions through a mix lectures, in-class discussions, and student presentations. Our readings include primary sources from the time period and secondary sources by historians. 

HIST 445 & HIST 670 
Advanced Topics in History - New Histories of Capitalism

In the past decade, scholars have built upon the work of historians of labor, the economy, business and empire to forge a new field now known as the "history of capitalism." The field, in turn, has produced a series of new modifiers - 'predatory capitalism,' 'racial capitalism,' 'Silicon Valley capitalism' - to describe the workings and logic of the global for-profit economy. This seminar will look at new works in the history of capitalism, with an eye toward understanding arguments, methodologies, and definitions of capital. Read alongside classic works in political economy, we will explore how and why the study of capital has changed over time and evaluate substantial contributions of the field. 

Winter 2023

HIST 253/4 Section B
History of the United States since the Civil War Era

This course is a survey of United States history from the end of the Civil War to roughly 2001. It tracks the county's development from an agricultural nation to an industrial world power, and a post-industrial consuming nation. It asks how contests for power among different classes and groups animated US political, economic, and cultural development. Thematically, we pay close attention to changing definitions of freedom, experiences of citizenship, and expressions of nationalism. Chronologically, we cover watershed moments in US history, from emancipation & Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the Great Depression & Two World Wars, the Cold War, to the social and political realignments of the post-WWII era. 

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