Maria Amuchastegui

Maria Amuchastegui

I am a PhD student in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at York University. My dissertation will examine the work of the seventeenth-century Spanish philosopher Juan Caramuel Lobkowitz, who took seriously the marginalized knowledge of indigenous peoples. It will explore how the indigenous peoples of the New World inspired Caramuel to develop his theory of numeration, his notion that there exist “many possible arithmetics.” It will draw upon postcolonial theory, particularly as it relates to STS and the history of science.

In previous lives, I have variously been an educator, an IT consultant, a computer programmer, a copy editor, a human rights activist, and a freelance writer. One article that I wrote for This Magazine, Last Resorts, was lauded by both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star as the “best magazine read” of the week. Another article, Farming It Out, inspired a Toronto Star investigative series about a farmworker, Hermelindo Gutiérrez, who faced deportation because of his health. As a result of the media attention that Gutiérrez received, he was allowed to remain in Canada.

I have served on the board of directors of Amnesty International Canada, where I helped lead Amnesty’s work on business and human rights, specifically its work on Canadian mining companies in Latin America. I am a former president of the board of the Centro para Gente de Habla Hispana, a United Way agency that serves Toronto’s Latin American community. I have also been involved in groups such as Justice 4 Migrant Workers (J4MW), which advocates for migrant farmworkers; the Latin American Coalition Against Racism (LACAR), which counters police racism against Latinos; as well as groups that advocate for non-status immigrants, such as STATUS and No One Is Illegal. 

I live in Toronto with my longtime partner, Nazanin. I can be reached at maria.amuchastegui [at] gmail.com.