Lucas Mertehikian - PhD candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University


Welcome to my website!

I’m a Postdoctoral Fellow in Plant Humanities at Dumbarton Oaks, a Harvard University research institute in Washington DC. I received my Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard in 2022. My research interests lie at the intersection of Latin American literature (Spanish and Portuguese) and material culture and environmental studies.

Other research interests include race studies (especially in the Brazilian context), travel narratives, and gender studies. My work combines traditional close reading and archival research with curatorial practices and Digital Humanities methods, which I develop through my work as an editor at the Plant Humanities Lab and other projects such as the library exhibition Passports: Lives in Transit and this virtual tour of Silvina Ocampo’s Árboles de Buenos Aires (work in progress).

You can download my CV here


My dissertation Fake Originals: Collecting Latin America offers a new lens on the region’s identity-making processes through the lens of material culture. My research lies at the intersection of material culture, environmental humanities and race studies. In 2020, I was a Plant Humanities Initiative Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, a program sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.   

My latest article “Nude Color: Race in Flávio de Carvalho’s ‘A cidade do homem nu’” (forthcoming, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies) analyzes how avant-garde utopias and the rhetoric of manifestos concealed racial tensions in early twentieth-century Brazil. My academic writing has appeared or is forthcoming in journals in the United States, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. 

I also have an interest in other forms of scholarship. In 2018, I co-curated Passports: Lives in Transit, an archival exhibition at Houghton Library (Harvard University) addressing the refugee crisis through passports and other travel-related documents found in libraries and personal archives. Drawing from this experience I prepared a nonfiction book, Vidas en tránsito. Ensayos sobre pasaportes, which was awarded the Premio Estímulo a la Escritura by Fundación Proa, and is forthcoming in 2022.

You can reach me at my e-mail: