KC O'Hara

KC O’Hara UPenn

Ph.D. Candidate

As a Ph.D. candidate, KC’s research at the University of Pennsylvania focuses on human-animal relationships and agrarian societies throughout the early modern Atlantic World with a specific focus on the colonial Andes. Prior to Penn, KC graduated from Yale in 2020 with a master's in history where he focused on unearthing the roles of 18th-century Spanish widows in the production of international wool products, the power of cattle in the construction of colonial Kingston, Jamaica, as well as the connections between Cuba and the United States through the trade of pork and lard at the beginning of the 19th century. In 2019, KC graduated with honors in History and Environmental Studies from Wesleyan University where he completed a senior thesis centering the interspecies interactions between humans and pigs throughout the Spanish colonization of the Americas. While at Penn, KC hopes to further explore the intricately bound histories of people and animals across colonial Latin America and further center the status of the non-human in the discipline of history.

KC served as the co-president of Clio, the history department’s graduate student organization, in the 2021-2022 academic year. He also served as the Social Chair of the History Department for the 2022-2023 academic year.

In 2023, KC was awarded the School of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students. He was also awarded Teaching Assistant of the Year Award by the Department of History’s student-run Undergraduate Advisory Board (HUAB) that recognizes “the teaching assistant who best demonstrates a genuine commitment to the well-being of the department’s undergraduate community.”


M.A., History, University of Pennsylvania, 2023

M.A., History, Yale University, 2020

B.A., History and Environmental Studies, Wesleyan University, 2019

Research Interests

Human-Animal Relationships

Animal History

Environmental History

Iberian Atlantic

Early Modern Atlantic World

Colonial Latin America

Agrarian Societies

History of Science and Medicine

Courses Taught

Teaching Assistant for:

“Modern Latin America 1808-Present,” Melissa Teixeira, Assistant Professor of History, Spring 2023

“Colonial Latin America to 1810,” Marcy Norton, Associate Professor of History, Fall 2022

“American Origins,” Emma Hart, Professor of History, Spring 2022

“American Diplomatic History Since 1776,” Walter A. McDougall, Professor of History, Fall 2021

Selected Publications

O'Hara, K.C. (2019). Porcine Empires: An Environmental History of Pigs in the Spanish Colonization of the New World, 1493-1800. Wesleyan University Digital Collections, Honors Theses. https://digitalcollections.wesleyan.edu/object/ir-21