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Verónica Gutiérrez, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Assistant 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 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, especially the Semester in Ecuador.

Gutiérrez’s research traces the transmission of Early Modern Mediterranean Catholicism to sixteenth-century Mexico and the consequent development of indigenous Christian identity, especially by native peoples associated with 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, illustrates the extent to which the Franciscan order contributed, hindered, or complemented the formation of native spiritual identity, and demonstrates how Franciscan-indigenous partnership solidified Cholula as a spiritual – and in some cases economical – rival to its Spanish neighbor. 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. She has presented her research 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 currently serving as Faculty Mentor to Alpha-Omicron-Tau, the department’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the National History Honor Society), initiated in the Fall of 2014.

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 toddler daughter, who is eagerly awaiting her new role as a big sister.


  • 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

  • History and Political Science


  • Early Modern Catholicism
    The Mendicant Church and the Origins of Mexican Catholicism
  • Latin American History
    Franciscan Evangelization of Native Peoples in 16th-Century Mexico
  • Mesoamerican Cultures
    Native Peoples in Colonial Mexico

Courses Taught

  • HIST 120 – World Civilizations to 1648
  • HIST 300 - Introduction to Historical Studies
  • HIST 484 – Historical Themes
  • POLI 300 – Research and Writing