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Latin American History

Ph.D in Latin American History

TCU’s program in Latin American history follows a rich tradition of rigorous academic training that dates to the early 1960s. Our program includes four permanent faculty specializing in Latin American and Caribbean history. We cover a broad geographic range in both colonial and modern periods, including New Spain and the early modern Atlantic world; modern Central America; modern Mexico and US-Latin American relations; and colonial and modern Cuba and the Caribbean.

Feature Stories

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Latin Americanist Faculty

Alex Hidalgo, Ph.D.

Alex Hidalgo, Ph.D
Colonial New Spain
Early Modern Atlantic

Bonnie Lucero, Ph.D.

Bonnie Lucero, Ph.D
Colonial and Modern Cuba
Atlantic World

Aaron Navarro, Ph.D.

Aaron Navarro, Ph.D
Modern Mexico
US-Latin American Relations

Peter Szok, Ph.D.

Peter Szok, Ph.D
Modern Central America

Recent Publications by Latin Americanist Faculty

Notable TCU PhDs in Latin American History

Dr. Miriam Villanueva (TCU Ph.D., 2017) works as a history teacher at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. She completed her dissertation, “A Cultural History of Panamanian Militarism, 1968-1986,” under the tutelage of Dr. Peter Szok.

Dr. Chad McCuthchen (TCU Ph.D., 2016) works as an Assistant Professor of History at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota. He completed his dissertation, “Born of Pumas and Lions: Cultural Mestizaje in the Viceroyalty of Peru, 1532-1650,” under the supervision of Dr. Susan Ramírez.

Dr. Luz Elvira Huertas Castillo (TCU Ph.D., 2015) works as a Lecturer at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She completed her dissertation, “Clubs and Whistles: The Institutional and Social History of the Police in Lima, 1890s-1910s,” under the tutelage of Dr. Susan Ramírez.

Dr. José Carlos de la Puente (TCU Ph.D., 2010) works as an Associate Professor of History at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He is the author of Andean Cosmopolitans: Seeking Justice and Reward at the Spanish Court (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2018). He completed his dissertation, “Into the Heart of Empire: Indian Journeys to the Hapsburg Royal Court,” under the supervision of Dr. Susan Ramirez.

Dr. Steven Bunker (TCU History Ph.D., 2006) is associate professor of history at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Dr. Bunker specializes in the history of modern Mexico and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Latin American history, Mexican history, and U.S. relations with Latin America. His research interests include modernity, material culture, consumption, economic, and business history of Mexico and Latin America. The University of New Mexico Press published his book Creating Mexican Consumer Culture in the Age of Porfirio Diaz, 1876-1911 in 2012. Through case studies of tobacco marketing, department stores, and advertising, the book provides a colorful walking tour of daily life in Porfirian Mexico City.

Dr. James Garza (TCU History Ph.D., 2001) is associate professor of history and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a specialist on nineteenth century Mexico during the age of Porfirio Diaz and teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses on Latin American history, Chicano/a history, Mexican history, and the history of borderlands. In 2008, the University of Nebraska Press published his book, The Imagined Underworld: Sex, Crime and Vice in Porfirian Mexico. He serves as the program director for nineteenth century studies, program liaison for Latino and Latin American studies, and is assistant director for the Latino Research Initiative.


Graduate Coursework in Latin American History

Readings seminars include a mix of monographs, articles, and, occasionally, primary sources. Some courses will focus on the most recent scholarship in the field, while others will take a longer look at the literature. In any case, the focus is on critical thinking and analysis

Past Readings seminar topics include: Modern Mexico; Nature and Society in the Iberian World; The History of the Native Peoples of Latin America; The Histiography of Colonial Latin America; The Social History of Latin America; Central America; Modern Histiography; and Archives, Empire, and Nation.

Upcoming Readings seminar topics include: Afro Latin American History; Indigenous History in Latin America; Latin American Popular Culture

Research Seminars Research seminars focus on independent work by each student. The faculty member leading the seminar may have preparatory readings and other assignments on the topic at the beginning of the semester, but the focus is on researching primary documents, synthesizing and contextualizing them with secondary sources, and writing an article-length paper.

Past Research seminar topics: Cartography and Power; Modern Mexico; Colonial Spanish America; and Religions in Colonial Latin America.

Upcoming Research seminar topics: To be tailored to student interest and dissertation topics.


Funding and Professionalization Opportunities for Graduate Students in Latin American History

We admit only a small number of applicants in order to provide full funding and close mentorship at each stage of advanced study. The studentship includes a generous funding package (tuition and stipend), office space, and resources for research and conference travel. Professionalization opportunities include learning Spanish paleography through research TCU’s new Colonial Spanish America Collection; trips with faculty to Latin American and local archives, teaching apprenticeships, participation in journal editorships and publishing, development and implementation of public programing and educational initiatives, workshops on alt-ac careers, and more. Our graduates consistently gain meaningful employment upon graduation.



Applicants must have a B.A. or M.A. in history, anthropology, art history, or a related field; intermediate to advanced Spanish language skills. We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and academic trajectories. International candidates are encouraged to apply. For more information on the application process, please visit our graduate program website.