Verónica Gutiérrez, MFA, Ph.D.

Director of Undergraduate Research
Associate Professor of Latin American History, Department of History and Political Science
Phone: (626) 815-6000, Ext. 3134
Office Location: Ronald Building, Room 120
Photo of Verónica Gutiérrez, MFA, Ph.D.


APU’s first Latin American specialist, Verónica A. Gutiérrez, MFA, Ph.D, joined the Department of History and Political Science in 2012. During her time as an Internationalization Faculty Fellow in APU’s Center for Global Learning and Engagement, she worked toward improving student experience during the Semester in Ecuador. Since 2016 she has served as APU’s Director of Undergraduate Research, responsible for advancing undergraduate scholarship across the disciplines.

Gutiérrez’s research examines the development of indigenous-Christianities in sixteenth-century Mexico, with particular interest in the Franciscan establishment at Cholula, a former Mesoamerican sacred site. She is currently working on her first monograph: Converting Quetzalcoatl’s City: Appropriating the Sacred in Cholula, 1519-1648­. Of her publications, “Quetzalcoatl’s Enlightened City: A Close Reading of Bernard Picart’s Engraving of Cholollan/Cholula,” received the Hubert Herring Award for Best Article from the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies. She has received a variety of institutional research support, including from Fulbright, Ford, Mellon, Spain’s Ministry of Culture, the Academy of American Franciscan History, UCLA’s Latin American Institute, the Graves Award in the Humanities, Notre Dame’s Global Religion Research Initiative, and APU’s Faculty Research Council.

In addition to presenting widely at academic conferences, Gutiérrez has provided keynote addresses in both the U.S. and Mexico and lectured at a variety of venues, including the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion and the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley. In 2014 she founded her department’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the National History Honor Society) and served four years as Faculty Adviser. She was one of seven featured speakers at APU’s 2017 TEDx event; her talk, “Resilience in the Oldest City in the Americas,” details Mexico’s cultural legacy via the Great Pyramid of Cholula, demonstrating how all Mexican history is as complex and multi-layered as this man-made mountain (see Related Links on right). In May 2019, under the auspices of the Conference on Faith and History’s Latin America Initiative, she will lead a tour through central Mexico entitled “From 1519 to 2019: Indigenous Christianity in Mexico 500 Years after Cortés.”

In addition to her degrees in history, Gutiérrez holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. She and her husband enjoy an active life near the beach with their children ages five, three, and one.


  • 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

Academic Area

  • 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
  • HIST 201 – World Civilizations and Geography
  • 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