Latin America

The University of Washington offers graduate training in colonial and post-colonial Latin American History as both a primary and a secondary field. The program is especially strong in the comparative study of late colonial Spanish rule and its aftermath in the Andean region and the Caribbean, but graduate students are encouraged to work on any period and topic of their choosing. Courses cover all major historical periods in Latin America and the Caribbean and emphasize a multidisciplinary approach to history. Research interests and expertise of associated faculty are wide ranging and include social and cultural history, the history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, the history of medicine and public health, slavery and emancipation studies, the study of migration and the constitution of Diaspora communities, peasant studies, the history of race, the study of nation-formation in Latin America, the history of gender and sexuality, and urban history.

While the Latin American History program is strongest in Andean and Caribbean studies, faculty members have extensive training in the historiographies of Mexico, Brazil, and the non-Spanish Caribbean, and welcome applicants wishing to work on those countries. The Latin America program shares many of its topic interests with specialists in other areas of study within the Department of History, facilitating comparative analysis. Graduate study in Latin American History also benefits from the resources of the Latin American Studies Program in the Jackson School of International Studies, and from the support of Latin America specialists in various departments throughout the University.

Associated Faculty

Ileana Rodriguez-Silva

Ileana Rodriguez-Silva

Associate Professor, Roseman Endowed Professor in History
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: Latin America

    Students working in Latin America with Professor Rodriguez-Silva will learn about the social and cultural histories of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While students will follow the topic and area of their choosing, they are expected to master the main historiographical and methodological debates within this field. Major topics of analysis are the multiple forms of colonialism and imperialism, forced labor systems, processes of nation-state formation, race and ethnicity, migration and diaspora communities, and, most importantly, subaltern politics.

    Division: Comparative History (Comparative Gender & Comparative Colonialisms)

    In preparing a field in Comparative Gender with Professor Rodriguez-Silva, students will learn about the history of women, the historical shifts in definitions of womanhood and masculinity among the diverse populations of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the crucial role of sexuality in the political and economic organization of colonial and national states. Students may also prepare a field in Comparative Colonialism, in which they will analyze the multiple forms of and the historical transformations in colonial relations established in the Americas since pre-Columbian times to the present.


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Professor Adam Warren

Adam Warren

Associate Professor
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: Latin America

    Students wishing to work on the Latin America field with Professor Warren may focus on any countries in the region and any time periods, although they are particularly encouraged to consider working on mainland Spanish America during the colonial and early postcolonial periods. Special emphasis will be placed on examining and understanding the historiography produced in Latin America itself, and students will be expected to articulate how such literatures differ from the anglophone historiography. With that in mind, reading knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is encouraged, but not required.

    Division: Comparative History (Comparative Colonialisms & Comparative Ethnicity & Nationalism)

    The field in Comparative Colonialisms examines scholarship on Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in Latin America. While students may read on a wide range of topics of their choosing, special emphasis will be placed on exploring how the relations between colony and metropolis, the structure and practice of colonial power in the colonies themselves, and the forms of popular political culture prevalent in the colonies changed during the early, mid, and late colonial periods. Topics to be covered may include the broader colonial economic system, peasant and slave labor systems, the invention of the ~SIndian~T and other colonial identities, religious conversion as a tool of colonialism, indigenous and African religious practices, and popular resistance movements. By reading general theoretical literature on colonialism we will also examine the question how does one relate Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in Latin America to later forms of colonial rule elsewhere in the world.

    The field in Comparative Ethnicity and Nationalism examines nation-building processes and the politics of race and ethnicity in Latin America, focusing primarily on the Andean region and Mexico since 1821 while also drawing on literature about Brazil for comparative purposes. Topics may include peasant and Indian nationalism, questions of citizenship and liberal equality for Indians versus the maintenance of colonial legal and political categories of race and caste, debates about the abolition of slavery and national identity, medical scientific research and debates about racial degeneration as a national problem in Latin America, ethnicity and social revolutions, and nativist "indigenista" political movements.

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