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 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 by funding student conference travel and faculty-student research dyads and organizing Undergraduate Research Showcases.

Gutiérrez’s own research examines the development of indigenous-Christianity in sixteenth-century Mexico, especially by native peoples ministered by Franciscans. This work finds voice in her book project, Converting a Sacred City: Franciscans, Nahuas, and Spaniards in San Pedro Cholula, 1528-1648. Of her publications, “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. She has received a variety of institutional research support, including from Fulbright, 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 Graves Award in the Humanities to fund the development of a new specialty course examining the Christianization of amantecayotl (indigenous feather art) during Mexico’s colonial period, with student coursework centering on research at Occidental College’s Moore Lab of Zoology.

Gutiérrez has presented at numerous academic conferences and 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 gave a keynote address at the 30th Biennial Meeting of the Conference on Faith and History in 2016 and a Ponencia Magistral (Spanish-language keynote address) at the 7th Coloquio Internacional de Jóvenes Historiadores in Tlalpujahua, Michoacán, México in 2017. She serves as Faculty Adviser for her department’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the National History Honor Society) and is President-elect of the Western Regional Conference on Faith and History.

In addition to her degrees in history, Gutiérrez holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and infuses all her history courses with creativity. She and her family enjoy an active life near the beach, with her two toddler children eagerly awaiting the arrival of their newest sibling this summer.


  • 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
  • HITS 393 – Modern 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