Photo of Verónica Gutiérrez, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Verónica Gutiérrez, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Director of Undergraduate Research
Associate Professor of Latin American History, Department of History and Political Science
Phone: (626) 815-6000, Ext. 3134
Verónica A. Gutiérrez, MFA, Ph.D, joined the Department of History and Political Science in the Fall of 2012. The first Latin American specialist at APU, her training in Colonial Mexico, Mesoamerican Cultures, Medieval Castile, Franciscan Spirituality, and the Early Modern Catholic World landed her a position as an Internationalization Faculty Fellow in APU’s Center for Global Learning and Engagement. In that capacity she worked toward improving student experience in various study abroad and outreach programs, particularly the Semester in Ecuador. She is currently serving as APU’s Director of Undergraduate Research, responsible for advancing undergraduate scholarship across the disciplines, in part by funding student conference travel and faculty-student summer research dyads.

Gutiérrez’s own research traces the transmission of Early Modern Mediterranean Catholicism to sixteenth-century Mexico and the development of indigenous Christian identity, especially by native peoples ministered by Franciscans. She has several publications, one of which, “Quetzalcoatl’s Enlightened City: A Close Reading of Bernard Picart’s Engraving of Cholollan/Cholula,” received the Hubert Herring Award from the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies. Her book project, Converting a Sacred City: Franciscans, Nahuas, and Spaniards in San Pedro Cholula, 1528-1648, contradicts long-held scholarly understandings of Cholula as an indigenous city overshadowed by the neighboring Spanish city of Puebla, examines Franciscan influence on the formation of native spirituality, and demonstrates how Franciscan-indigenous partnership solidified Cholula as Puebla’s spiritual and economical rival. Gutiérrez has received support from a variety of institutions and fellowships, including the Fulbright Program, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Spain’s Ministry of Culture, the Academy of American Franciscan History, the Latin American Institute at UCLA, and the Faculty Research Council at APU. In 2016 she won the prestigious Graves Award in the Humanities for her project, “A Quetzal Feather for St. Gregory: Understanding Religious Feather Art in Colonial Mexico via the Bird Specimens in Occidental College’s Moore Lab of Zoology”; the award will fund the development of a new Latin American specialty course examining the Christianization of amantecayotl (indigenous feather art) during Mexico’s colonial period with coursework centering around research at the lab.

Gutiérrez has presented at various national and international conferences and has lectured at the San Gabriel Mission, the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, Our Neighborhood Homework House in Azusa, and for APU’s Juan Bruce-Novoa Series on the Chicano/Latino Experience. She is Faculty Mentor for Alpha-Omicron-Tau, the department’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the National History Honor Society), which launched in the Fall of 2014, and is slated as keynote speaker for the 30th Biennial Meeting of the Conference on Faith and History, whose 2016 theme is “Christian Historians and the Challenges of Race, Gender, and Identity.”

In addition to her degrees in history, Gutiérrez holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction; pedagogically affected by her twelve years in creative writing classrooms, she infuses all her history courses with creativity. She and her husband enjoy an active life near the beach with their two young children.


  • Ph.D., Colonial Mexican History, UCLA
  • C.Phil., Colonial Latin American History, UCLA
  • M.A., Latin American History, UCLA
  • M.F.A., Creative Nonfiction, Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A., Creative Writing, University of San Francisco


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Department of History and Political Science


  • Early Modern Catholicism
  • Latin American History
  • Mesoamerican Cultures

Courses Taught

  • HIST 120 – World Civilizations to 1648
  • POLI 300 – Research and Writing
  • HIST 300 – Introduction to Historical Studies
  • HIST 392 – Colonial Latin America
  • HIST 484 – Historical Themes: Native Peoples Before and After the Spanish Conquest
  • HIST 484 – Historical Themes: Gods and Demons in Sixteenth-Century Mexico: Franciscan Evangelization of Native Peoples in New Spain
  • POLI 496 – Senior Seminar in Politics and Religion: Encounters with Christ