Collegiate Affiliation

I teach about Latin American history, as well as colonialism, law, gender, and film more broadly. My research (which has taken me to Peru, Chile, Spain, Puerto Rico and Colombia) explores political culture, citizenship, law, and gender during Spanish America’s transition from colonialism to independence (late 18th to mid 19th centuries). I am currently working on migrations spurred by the Wars of Independence in South America, tracing the paths of internal refugees, political exiles, and royalist émigrés, and analyzing how these movements influenced the formation of shifting imperial and new national identities. My most recent book, Families in War and Peace: Chile from Colony to Nation (Duke, 2015) considers the intersections between family and politics in both rhetoric and practice. It explores how men’s and women’s experiences of the independence war was shaped by kin ties and ideas about family and the ways in which the leaders of the new Chilean state attempted to reestablish social order in part through policies (amnesties, military pensions, and the enforcement of family law) aimed at reuniting and supporting families. My first book, From Subjects to Citizens: Honor, Gender, and Politics in Arequipa, Peru, 1780–1854 (Penn State, 1999), traced how Peruvians made sense of the shifting political culture and claimed rights as citizens by reworking understandings of honor. I have also published various articles and book chapters, including several analyzing ideas about gender and nationhood in the correspondence of Simón Bolívar and that of several literate women in early nineteenth-century Spanish America. I am the co-editor with John C. Chasteen of Latin American Independence: An Anthology of Sources (Hackett, 2010), and with Sueann Caulfield and Lara Putnam, of Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America (Duke, 2005).

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • PhD: History, University of Wisconsin, 1992 -


  • Andean region
  • Colonial Latin American history
  • Cultural and legal history
  • Transition between the end of the colonial period and the formation of republican nations
  • Gender history
  • Chile