Sofia Lago

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Sofia Lago received her PhD in history in 2022 from the University of Bristol. Her doctoral research centers on the mercurial relationship between Britain and Partitioned Poland from 1795-1900, which acts as a case study to examine the many angles in which a hegemonic culture could use folklore studies, a nineteenth-century intersection of professionalised science and the scientification of culture as a mechanism to impose a borderland identity onto another people under the social and political oppression of others. Sofia's studies have always been interdisciplinary, and frequently combine a critical analysis of written sources and practical research with museum and archival collections. She received an MA in Museum Studies at Instituto Lorenzo de' Medici in 2018, where her thesis focused on nineteenth-century practices of collecting verbal folklore in Northern Europe. In 2016, she graduated from Stockton University with a BA in history, where she wrote her final thesis on the use of written folktales in the Maori renaissance in late twentieth-century New Zealand. She has worked at eight cultural institutions in three countries and three states, mainly in the roles of collections manager and curator. Broadly, her future research interests include, but are not limited to: the nineteenth-century histories of science and the environment, museology, colonialism and imperialism, and Britain and Eastern Europe. She is particularly interested in studies of the history of science and the environment that can contribute to the ongoing discourses surrounding climate justice and the decolonization of universities and museums. 


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.