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Personal profile

Curriculum vitae

Florencia Quesada is a research fellow in the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki (UH). She is also Adjunct Professor in Latin American Studies (UH). Quesada’s current research focuses on the urban and cultural transformation of Guatemala City between 1880-1930. The research examines, from an interdisciplinary and regional perspective, the process of urban modernization and the power relations expressed in the urban sphere. The city's transformation is also analyzed in the context of political and economic processes, cultural and social changes, architectural and urban transformations and, last but not least, using images, literary descriptions and representations. 

At the same time, she is also a member of the research team of the Academy of Finland-project FCITIES: Societal security, environmental vulnerability and redistributive justice in fragile cities of the global South (Anja Nygren, 2016-2020), Development Studies, Department of Political and Economic Studies.The research analyzes the ways in which fragile cities in the global South are dealing with the challenges of societal security, environmental vulnerability and representative justice in the spaces of multi-scale governance, and how close (or far) they are from the ideal of societal security. Quesada will analyse Guatemala City’s case –amongst Calcutta in India, Bogotá in Colombia and Villahermosa in Mexico–. She will examine how the transference of schemes of governance to private firms and civil society groups is negotiated and contested by initiatives searching ways to create more accountable state institutions and more open networks for public policy

She teaches courses in contemporary urban Latin America, urban cultural and architectural history, sustainable tourism, and violence and insecurity in Central America. 

She earned her PhD in Latin American Studies from the UH, a DEA in history from Université Paris 1-Sorbonne and a master’s degree in history from the University of Costa Rica. She has carried out primary research in Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica, and in archives in France, Spain, and the United States. For eight years, she was a lecturer in the international virtual program of Latin American Studies-AMELAT XXI, coordinated by Universidad Complutense de Madrid and part of a network of European and Latin American Universities. 

Before coming to Finland from Costa Rica, she was a researcher at Centro de Investigaciones Históricas de América Central (CIHAC) at the University of Costa Rica, and at the Department of Education of the Central Bank Museums.

She was a co-curator of the first Costa Rican Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition/Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 of La Biennale di Venezia.

Quesada has published on Central American urban cultural history, planning and sustainable tourism. Her latest book about the urban modernization in San José, Costa Rica received the 2011 Cleto González Víquez Award from the Academy of Geography and History of Costa Rica.


  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Latin American Studies
  • Urban cultural history
  • 5203 Development Studies
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Urban studies

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 1996 2020

Historiografía de la historia urbana y la urbanización en Centroamérica

Quesada, F., 2019, (Submitted) Después de la heroica fase de exploración. La historiografía urbana en América Latina. . Mejía, G. & Martínez, G. (eds.). Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

“Cities, space, modernization, and modernism in Central America"

Quesada, F., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Modern Architecture in Central America. Quirós-Pacheco, M. & Ibelings, H. (eds.). Montreal/Amsterdam: The Architecture Observer, 21 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Ensanches y nuevos espacios de poder en la ciudad liberal: Ciudad de Guatemala, 1880-1920

Quesada, F., Oct 2018, Vísperas del urbanismo en Latinoamérica, 1870-1930 : Imaginarios, pioneros y disciplinas. Almandoz, A. & Ibarra, M. (eds.). Santiago de Chile: RIL Editores, p. 75-119 44 p. (Instituto de Estudios Urbanos y Territoriales UC).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Professori Pakkasvirta Presente

Jukka, A., Mykkänen, J. (ed.), Quesada, F. (ed.), Mika, R. (ed.), Siltala, A. (ed.) & Teivainen, T. L., Sep 2018, Finland: Into kustannus. 312 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientific

Projects 2011 2020

Activities 2006 2019

Mapping spaces of power. Photography and urban imaginaries in Guatemala City (1880-1930)

Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Invited speaker)
16 Apr 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Berlin

Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Other role)
10 Apr 201917 Apr 2019

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

Experiential approaches to documenting and mapping the urban

Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Speaker: Chair)
31 Jan 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars


Field work in risk communities and archival work in Guatemala City, Guatemala

Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Participant)
11 Jan 20181 Mar 2018

Activity: Other activity typesOther

Course: Urban studies in the Global South

Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Speaker: Presenter)
9 Apr 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Press / Media