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
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.

Specializing in Colonial Mexico, Mesoamerican Cultures, Franciscan Evangelization in New Spain, and the Early Modern Catholic World, 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 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, the Graves Award in the Humanities, the Global Religion Research Initiative at Notre Dame, and the Faculty Research Council at APU.

Gutiérrez has presented widely at academic conferences, 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, the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, the San Gabriel Mission, and APU’s Juan Bruce-Novoa Series on the Chicano/Latino Experience. She founded her department’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the National History Honor Society), serving four years as Faculty Adviser and briefly as President of the Western Regional Conference on Faith and History. She was one of seven featured faculty speakers for 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 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 three children under the age of five.


  • 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