Aleksandra Kaye

Aleksandra is interested in the role that migrants play in the transfer and production of scientific knowledge. In the traditional centre-periphery model, nations that are considered part of the periphery are perceived as passive receivers, dependent on the centre for progress and knowledge. Aleksandra aims to challenge this model by examining the role of Polish migrants and their networks in the transnational circulation of knowledge between two regions typically viewed as peripheral: partitioned Poland and the newly independent Latin American countries of the nineteenth century. In her approach Aleksandra takes inspiration from Digital Humanities and Social Sciences and applies Social Networks Analysis methodology to historical research aiming to develop a more dynamic model of the effects of migration on knowledge creation and transmission.

In her research, Aleksandra intends to address the following questions, amongst others: what scientific knowledge did the migrants possess when they commenced their journeys? What did the migrants do in Latin America and how did that affect their knowledge? Did the presence of the migrants influence the localities in which they settled? Did the knowledge the migrants gained while in Latin America make its way to the partitioned territories and if so, was it influential and affect the wider scientific debates in Europe?

Aleksandra is fluent in Polish and English, speaks Spanish and reads Portuguese, Italian and Russian. 


Supervisors: Nicola Miller and Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski
Working title: 'Mapping the Polish Knowledge Networks in Nineteenth-century Latin America, 1830-1890'
Expected completion date: 2022

Conference papers and presentations 

  • Forthcoming (paper accepted): ‘Shaping the Public Perception: Polish Illustrated Press and the Image of Polish Naturalists Working in Latin America, 1830-1889’, at the ‘Seeking Public Attention: Popular Discourses and Mass Media’ session. Consortium for History of Science, Technology & Medicine workshop entitled ‘The Circulation of Images in the Life Sciences’, October 2021, Online 
  • ‘The Transnational in the Brazilian and Polish National Exhibitions, 1861-1894’, on the ‘Transnational Knowledge Production and its Academic and Cultural Impacts, 1860s-1970s’ panel. ‘Quo Vadis?’: Arts and Humanities Research in the 21st Century Conference, July 2021, Online  
  • Co-organiser of the ‘Reading Group: Latin America And The Global Sciences’ session at the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) Annual Conference, July 2021, Online
  • ‘A Polish View from the Amazon River: Interpreting Migration in 1850s Brazil Beyond the Coffee Plantations’ on the ‘Territorial Nationalisms: Water, Land and Identity in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-century Latin America’ panel. Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) 2021 Virtual Conference, April 2021, Online. Video available here: https://youtu.be/1ffHaYGdR1E   
  • ‘Wielding the Power of Topography: Polish Participation in Materialising a Border in the Pampa in the 1870s’, on the ‘Transnational Perspectives from Nineteenth-century Spanish America: Rethinking Borders and Peripheries’ panel. LSE International History Research Seminar Series, February 2021, Online   
  • Contributor on the ‘History of Science in Latin America’ session at the BSHS Global Digital History of Science Festival, July 2020, Online  
  • ‘Applications of Social Network Analysis to Historical Research’, on the ‘Digital History Postgraduate Panel’. Digital History Seminar series, December 2019, Institute of Historical Research (IHR). Video available here: https://youtu.be/Kw2g2twu5dI (Starting at 27:10) 
  • ‘Mapping the Polish Knowledge Network in Nineteenth-century Latin America’, on the ‘PhD students’ experiences with archives and interviews’ panel. Polish Studies: Today and Tomorrow, September 2019, UCL  
  • ‘Mapping the Polish Knowledge Network in Nineteenth-century Latin America: Case Study of Engineers and Railways in Perú’, on the 'Migration, Diasporas and Transnational Identity Formation' panel. Postgraduates in Latin American Studies Annual Conference, June 2019, University of York  
  • Chair on the 'Framing the Nation: Understanding the Post-Independence Period' panel. Postgraduates in Latin American Studies Annual Conference, June 2019, University of York
  • Chair on the 'Science Between the National and the Global' panel. British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference, April 2019, University of Cambridge

Papers accepted for the following conferences, but not delivered due to the Covid-19 pandemic:   

  • Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science (CSHPS) Annual Meeting, 30 May-1 June 2020, University of Western Ontario  
  • Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) Annual Conference, April 2020, CEDLA, University of Amsterdam

Conferences and workshop organisation

  • PILAS (Postgraduates in Latin American Studies) Annual Conference, University of Nottingham, July 2020; postponed to July 2021 (Online) 
  • UCL Social and Historical Sciences Faculty Postgraduate Research Friday Lunchtime Panel Series, November 2020 – May 2021 (Online) 
  • PILAS Latin American Archives and Collections Workshop in collaboration with the British Library, Senate House Library and King’s College London, November 2019 

Scholarships and Awards

  • Yale UCL Collaborative Student Exchange Programme Bursary, Doctoral School, UCL (2020) 
  • Education Awards - Academic Rep of the Year Award, Winner in Social & Historical Sciences Faculty, UCL (2019-20) 
  • Hale Bellot Grant, History Department, UCL (2020)  
  • UCL Doctoral School Research Poster Competition, Runner-up, Doctoral School, UCL (2019) 
  • Doctoral Skills Development Programme Funding (Spanish & Portuguese), Doctoral School, UCL (2018-19) 
  • DSC Surina Narula Travel Award, UCL (2014)


2020-present (World History Tutor, Humanities, City Lit)
Courses personally written and delivered: 

  • Trade Routes that Shaped the World: From Vikings to the Silk Route (10-week, online course) 
  • Pre-Colonial India: Trade Networks and Spices (weekend, in-person course) 

2019-2020 (Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, Department of History, UCL) 

  • Writing History 
  • Approaching History 
  • Colonial and Revolutionary North America

Departmental and Faculty Roles  

  • Postgraduate Research Representative – Social and Historical Sciences Faculty (2020-21)
  • Lead Departmental Representative (PGR) – History Department (2019-20)  
  • Student Representative (PGR) – History Department (2018-21)  

External Roles  

  • Exchange Scholar in Sociology at Yale University (2021)  
  • Assistant on the Beyond Eurocentrism in Intellectual History Colloquium (2021)  
  • Research Assistant to Pola Oloixarac, 2021 Winner of the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer's Award, for her book ‘Atlas Literario del Amazonas’ [Literary Atlas of the Amazon] (2020-21) 
  • PILAS Organising Committee (2019-21)  
  • Research Assistant at LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (2020) 
  • Assistant on the 8th London Intellectual History Summer School, UCL and Queen Mary University of London (2019)