Keynote Speakers
Diana Magaloni Kerpel is Deputy Director and Director of the Program for the Ancient Americas at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as a researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She is the author of Colors of the New World: Artists, Materials, and the Creation of the Florentine Codex (2014).

Rebecca Scott is Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. She is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled “No Safe Harbor: Three Women between Freedom and Enslavement.” An essay from that project, “Social Facts, Legal Fictions, and the Attribution of Slave Status,” appeared in the February 2017 issue of the Law and History Review. Her most recent book, Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Harvard University Press, 2012), co-authored with Jean Hébrard, is also available in a Portuguese-language edition from Editora Unicamp, in Spanish from ICANH/Universidad de los Andes, and forthcoming in an expanded French edition from Gallimard.

Sylvia Sellers-García is an Associate Professor of colonial Latin American history at Boston College. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and an MPhil from St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Her first monograph, Distance and Documents at the Spanish Empire’s Periphery, was published by Stanford University Press in 2014. She is the co-editor of Imagining Histories of Colonial Latin America: Synoptic Methods and Practices, forthcoming from University of New Mexico Press in the fall of 2017. Her current research focuses on criminal cases from the Archivo General de Centroamérica.


Caroline Garriott‘s academic trajectory reflects her longstanding commitment to studying the complex intersections between religious and racial identity in colonial Latin America through visual culture. She received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University in 2007 with majors in History of Art, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. In 2010, she received her M.A. in Andean History from La Católica in Lima, Perú with a thesis exploring the artistic commissions and visual representations of curacas in 17th-18th century Peru and Alto-Peru. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at Duke finishing her doctoral dissertation, “Coloring the Sacred: Visions of Devotional Kinship in Colonial Peru and Brazil,” which explores how local devotion to saints and their images informed broader debates on the enslavement and the spiritual conquest of “New” World populations.

Adrián Lerner holds a B.A. and a Licenciatura in History from the Catholic University of Lima, Perú, his home city. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Yale University, where he is working on a dissertation about urban life in Manaus, the largest city in Brazilian Amazonia, during the second half of the twentieth century. At Yale, he was also a Fellow in the Mellon Graduate Interdisciplinary Concentration in the Humanities (2013-2014). His publications include Indiferencias, tensiones y hechizos: medio siglo de relaciones diplomáticas entre Perú y Brasil, 1889-1945 (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2012, with Marcos Cueto), and, as co-editor, Desarrollo, desigualdades y conflictos sociales: una perspectiva desde los países andinos (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2011), as well as articles about urbanization, public health, human rights, populism, and gender in Perú.

Valeria López Fadul is a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of History at the University of Chicago.  She earned her Ph.D. in History from Princeton University in  2015 and holds a B.A. from Yale University. Her research interests include colonial Latin American and early modern Spanish intellectual and cultural history, philosophy of language, and history of science. Her book project is entitled The Cradle of Words: Languages, Knowledge, and Governance in the Spanish Empire.

Santiago Muñoz Arbeláez is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Yale University. His dissertation examines the efforts of the Spanish empire to create a centralized kingdom among the diverse peoples and landscapes of northern South America during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He is especially interested in the production and circulation of natural histories, cartography, and descriptions of the Indies, as well as in the interactions between colonial and indigenous literacies and forms of knowledge. More broadly, his work focuses on Indians and empires in the early modern Atlantic world and is informed by scholarship on comparative frontiers and borderlands, environmental history, history of cartography, and agrarian studies.

José Ragas is the Andrew A. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Davis in 2015. He investigates the emergence of the global biometric system in post-colonial societies and the current implementation of ID cards as a mechanism designed to grant citizenship and curb the legacy of gender, age, and racial discrimination imposed by similar technologies in the past. In his dissertation he examined the genealogy of the identification system in post-colonial Peru, arguing that the implementation of certain techniques and devices (fingerprints, mug shots, and identity cards) reinforced archaic social structures that enabled policy makers and technocrats to extract resources from citizens via the imposition of individual identities. His research also shows how citizens turned those technologies into generators of social and political rights, empowering citizens and allowing them to gain official recognition.

David Sartorius is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland and the author of Ever Faithful: Race, Loyalty, and the Ends of Empire in Spanish Cuba (Duke, 2013). His current research examines the racial politics of passports and mobility to and from Cuba and the persistence of Cuba’s last two Indian pueblos in the nineteenth century.

Liz Shesko is Assistant Professor of History at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. After receiving her Ph.D. in History from Duke University in 2012, she was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in History and Latin American Studies at Bowdoin College. Her research focuses on the role of obligatory military service in state formation and ethnic identity in 20th-Century Bolivia. She is currently revising a book manuscript entitled Conscript Nation: Negotiating Authority and Belonging in the Bolivian Barracks and has published articles in an edited volume on the Chaco War and in the journals Hispanic American Historical Review and International Labor and Working-Class History.

Ana María Silva is a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Michigan. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Roots in Stone and Slavery: Permanence, Mobility and Empire in 17th Century Cartagena de Indias,” studies the formation of urban systems of inclusion and exclusion, and the ambiguous relationships between rootedness, mobility, and empire in a slave society. She examines these relationships by looking at how ideas about racial and religious difference intersected with local policies aimed at regulating urban growth, ultimately shaping the possibilities for people such as African captives, church and state officials, merchants, missionaries, women, and families to become rooted in the city. Her academic interests also include Museum Studies and Digital Humanities.

Rachel Stein recently defended her dissertation, Re-composing the Global Iberian Monarchy through the Lisbon Press of Pedro Craesbeeck (1597-1632), in the Department of Latin American & Iberian Cultures of Columbia University. Her research explores the intersections of early modern Iberian empire and the history of the book. Rachel currently teaches courses on the literature, cultures, and history of medieval and early modern Spain for the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, a nonprofit organization offering community-based education in the humanities and social sciences to the general public. She is a recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon-Rare Book School Fellowship in Critical Bibliography.

Corinna Zeltsman is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Wesleyan University. She received her Ph.D. in History from Duke University in 2016, and is currently a Mellon Fellow in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School. Her research examines how printers shaped the emergence of liberalism in Mexico City, exploring the conflicts, material processes, and social dimensions of print production that defined intellectual life and urban politics across the long nineteenth century. Trained as a letterpress printer, she incorporates her knowledge of craft and design into her teaching and research.

Juan Cobo Betancourt is Assistant Professor of Latin American History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on questions of religion, language, race, and law in the New Kingdom of Granada. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in 2014 with a thesis that examined the evangelisation of the indigenous population of the central highlands of New Granada in the context of broader trends that were transforming global Catholicism, and later worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History. He also co-founded Neogranadina, a non-profit foundation devoted to digitising the holdings of endangered archives and libraries in Colombia and making them freely available online.

Mark Healey is Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut and the author of The Ruins of the New Argentina (Duke, 2011). His work is particularly concerned with the politics of expertise, landscape, and state-building.  He is currently writing a book on the political and environmental history of water in the drylands of Argentina, with funding from the American Council of Learned Societies and Fulbright.

Diana Lynn Schwartz is a historian of Mexico and Latin America with a special interest in indigenous politics, social science, and natural resource management. She is currently Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Latin American Studies at Wesleyan University. Her current book project explores the entwined social, political, and environmental effects of a hydroelectric dam project carried out in mid twentieth-century Mexico, with a particular focus on the politics of indigenous displacement and its relationship to ideas and practice in Mexican anthropology. Her publications include “Displacement, Development, and the Creation of the Modern Indígena in the Papaloapan, 1940s-1970s” in Ariadna Acevedo & Paula López Caballero, eds. Beyond Alterity: Producing Indigeneity in Modern Mexico (Spring 2018) and a review article on Latin American indigenous policies in Latin American Perspectives (2012).

Kirsten Weld is a historian of modern Latin America and is currently the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of History at Harvard University. Her first book, Paper Cadavers: The Archives of Dictatorship in Guatemala, analyzes the last half-century of Guatemalan history by focusing on the politics of archival access and knowledge production; it won the 2015 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award and the 2016 Best Book Prize from the Latin American Studies Association’s Recent History and Memory Section. Her new book project, for which she was a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies in 2014-2015, examines the impact and afterlives of the Spanish Civil War in Latin America.