Abigail Nieves
Ruhr-University Bochum

Universitaetsstr. 150
44801 Bochum

Room: FNO 02/20
Phone: +49-(0)234- 32 27940
E-Mail: Abigail Nieves

Abigail Nieves Delgado

Abigail Nieves Delgado is a postdoctoral fellow of the Mercator Research Group. Her research interests include the history and philosophy of the life sciences, and the history of physical anthropology. She received her PhD in 2016 (thesis entitled ‘The dominion of the face: A critical and historical analysis of the study of the human face’, Spanish title) from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). This work investigates a number of historical and contemporary approaches to measure the human face ranging from classical anthropometry to today’s forensics in order to address the relationship between classification and individuation. In particular, it shows that traditional racial categories are deeply entrenched in contemporary scientific measuring practices and uses of related technology. Currently, her research focuses on philosophical, anthropological and socio-political issues related to recent trends in biometric identification. Other research interests concern Latin American studies and bioeconomy.


Books and editions

  • Dissertation: ‘El dominio del rostro: Un análisis histórico y crítico del estudio de la cara humana’ [The dominion of the face: A critical and historical analysis of the study of the human face] (2016)
  • Special issue ‘Filosofía de las ciencias de la vida: Fronteras difusas’ [Philosophy of the life sciences: Blurred borders] In: Metatheoria, 5(1) (2014). [Co-editors: X. Arteaga-Villamil, X.A. González Grandón].

Journal articles and book chapters

  • The Face of the Mexican: Race, Nation and Criminal Identification in Mexico. In American Anthropologist (forthcoming).
  • Science, Politics and the Production of Biological Knowledge: New Trends and Old Challenges. In: Journal of General Philosophy of Science (2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s10838-018-9406-3.
  • ¿De qué me ves cara? Narrativas de herencia genética e identidad inscritas en la apariencia. [What do I look like? Narratives of origin, heredity and identity written on the face] (co-author: Vivette García Deister, Carlos López Beltrán). In: AIBR, Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana 12(3): 313-337 (2017).
  • The history of the ‘Red-Man’: William Bollaert and the indigenous people of the Americas. In: Efram Sera-Shriar (ed.): Historicizing Humans: Deep Time, Evolution and Race in Nineteenth-century British Sciences, University of Pittsburgh Press (History and Philosophy of Science Series). (Co-author: M. Esposito; forthcoming).
  • Life in a neoliberal era: The OECD and the development of bioeconomy in Mexico. In: Metatheoria, 5(1): 187-202 (2014).

Reviews and others

  • Facelessness: A relational politics (book review of J. Edkins: Face Politics. Routledge, 2015). In: Cultural Politics (Forthcoming).
  • Review of Mestizo Genomics. Race Mixture, Nation, and Science in Latin America. Peter Wade, Carlos López Beltrán, Eduardo Restrepo, and Ricardo Ventura Santos (eds.) (2014). In: Medicine Anthropology Theory, 1(1): 208-210 (2014).
  • Introduction. In: Metatheoria, 5(1): 1-3 (2014). [Co-authors: X. Arteaga-Villamil, X.A. González Grandón].
  • Genes para la bioeconomía [Genes for bioeconomy]. In: Pacal Medlab, 5(2): 14-18. (2013).
  • Translation to Spanish of E. Restrepo, E. Schwarts and R. Cardenas (2014): Nation and difference in the genetic imagination of Colombia (Chapter 2). In: P. Wade, C. López Beltrán, E. Restrepo, and R. Ventura Santos (eds.): Mestizo Genomics. Race Mixture, Nation, and Science in Latin America. (2014).
  • Transgénicos: Del campo mexicano a tu mesa [Transgenics: From the field to your meal]. In: Revista Transversal, Instituto of Alternative Studies, (INAL), No. 7 (2007).
  • Preguntas a la Consulta Verde [Questions on Mexico’s City Green Poll]. In: Newspaper Otras Voces, Instituto of Alternative Studies A.C. INAL (August 2007).


Selected talks
  • Tecnologías de reconocimiento facial y categorías raciales. El caso FERET. [Facial recognition technologies and racial categories. The case FERET] Seminario de Historia y Filosofía de la Ciencia Racializada. 6 November 2018. National Autonomous University of Mexico.
  • ¿Cómo ven las tecnologías de reconocimiento facial? [How do facial recognition technologies see?] 22 November 2018, National Autonomous University of Mexico. Mexico.
  • Facial recognition technology as software of categorization. 25-28 July 2018, EASST 2018 Meeting. Lancaster, England.
  • From Austrian racial anthropology to Mexican criminal identification: Mapping the impact of Rudolf Pöch’s facial classification. 21-23 March 2018, Conference: To research and to exhibit human biological diversity. Oslo, Norway.
  • Facial recognition technologies and the old problem of human categorization, October 18th 2017, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies Seminar, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Caramex as a Faciality Machine of Representation: Face, Nation and Criminal Identification in Mexico, February 18-19th 2016, Workshop “Race-making and Face-making in Physical Anthropology”, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Producing Difference: Facial Reconstruction, Transnational Science and the Making of Racial Indexes, Nov. 27th 2015, Workshop “Cultures of Anthropological Knowledge in Germany and Mexico”, University of Morelia, Mexico.
  • Giving a Face to our Ancestors: An Historical Approach to Facial Reconstruction, July 2nd 2015, Meeting of the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS), Swansea University, England
  • What Do I Look Like? Narratives of Origin, Heredity and Identity Written on the Face, Nov. 23rd 2015. Symposium “Los usos de la herencia siglos XX y XXI” [The uses of heredity in the 20th and 21st centuries], University of Santiago (USACH), Chile.
  • From Bone to Flesh: Facial Reconstruction, Objectivity and Race at the Charnel House of Villa de Guadalupe, Mexico, June 16th 2015, Workshop “Cultures of Anthropological Knowledge in Germany and Mexico”, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.
  • The Making of the Mexican Face: Caramex and the History of Criminal Identification, July 3rd 2014, Meeting of the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS), University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
  • Do I look Mexican? The Reification of a National Face, July 10th 2013, Meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB), University of Montpellier, France
  • Configurations of the Hereditary: The Reception of Human Genetics by a Mexican Public, Jan. 8th 2013. Workshop of the project “Race, genomics and mestizaje (mixture) in Latin America: A comparative approach”, University of Manchester, England.
  • Genomic Medicine as Research Program: The Case of Diabetes, Oct. 18th 2012, International Meeting on Quality Control and Modernization in the Clinical Laboratory, (PACAL), Mexico City, Mexico.
  • The Genomic Mestizo: From Race Mixture to Gene Mixture, Nov. 28th 2012, Iberoamerican Association of Philosophy of Biology Conference (AIFBI), University of Valencia, Spain.
  • Pluralism and Causality: The Racialization of Genomic Science, Feb. 9th 2012, Colombian Conference of Logic, Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, University of the Andes, Bogota, Colombia.