Claudia Leal was born and lives at 2,600 meters above sea level in Bogotá (the capital of Colombia), where she is associate professor at the Department of History at Universidad de los Andes. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California at Berkeley, but passes for a historian who likes to think about the environment. Although she identifies with mountains, she has done most of her research on rainforest regions and on the role of “race” in the process of nation building in Latin America. Her book Landscapes of Freedom, Building a Postemancipation Society in the Rainforests of Western Colombia (The University of Arizona Press) came out in 2018, as well as A Living Past, Environmental Histories of Modern Latin America (Berghahn Books), which she edited with John Soluri and José Augusto Pádua. She is writing a history of Colombian national parks that tries to understand how the state functions and is built in space. She is also interested in the relationship between armed conflict and environments, and in the history of animals.