Jose Ragas Rojas

Lecturer; Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine


Research Areas: 
Global STS; Surveillance and biometrics; history of technology in Latin America and the global south; grassroots science and technology; digital history; early global warming and society

Jose Ragas (Ph.D. in History, UC Davis) investigates the emergence of the global biometric system in post-colonial societies and the current implementation of ID cards as a mechanism designed to grant citizenship and curb the legacy of gender, age, and racial discrimination imposed by similar technologies in the past. In his dissertation he examined the genealogy of the identification system in post-colonial Peru, arguing that the implementation of certain techniquest and devices (fingerprints, mug shots, and identity cards) reinforced archaic social structures that enabled policy makers and technocrats to extract resources from citizens via the imposition of individual identities.

His research also shows how citizens turned those technologies into generators of social and political rights, empowering citizens and allowing them to gain official recognition. He is currently working on his book manuscript tentatively titled Andean Big Brothers: Technology and Bodies in the Age of Global Surveillance. In it, he analyzes the complex emergence of the modern identification system in Peru, focusing on how postcolonial structures fostered racial divides that left larges segments of the population undocumented until the 2000s.

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Jose Ragas Rojas