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.


Growing up in a bilingual household unable to speak Spanish – common for Mexican-Americans of her generation – Verónica Gutiérrez never imagined she would, in 2012, join the Department of History and Political Science as APU’s first Latin American specialist. Trained as a creative writer and historian, Gutiérrez retains sensitivity to story, narrative arc, character, and unheard voices in her Latin American history courses, which range from pre-contact to modern, and are fueled by her passion for challenging the myths pervading native peoples of the Americas. Director of Undergraduate Research since 2016, she is privy to the impressive breadth of undergraduate scholarship at APU, awarding competitive research grants and travel funds for students to present at academic conferences across the globe.

An active scholar in the field of colonial Mexican history, Gutiérrez retains close ties to Cholula, a city in the modern-day Mexican state of Puebla that has been her research site since 2005. Drawn to the area to examine Franciscan-indigenous partnership in the development of local Christianity, she has lectured widely on the topic in the U.S. and Mexico as well as published along this theme in English and Spanish. To commemorate the quincentennial of European arrival to the Americas, the Conference on Faith and History’s Latin America Initiative commissioned her to co-lead a faculty development tour through central Mexico, “From 1519 to 2019: Indigenous Christianity in Mexico 500 Years after Cortés” (#CFHMexico2019). Later that year she returned to Cholula to speak at a coloquio commemorating the massacre of its people by Hernando Cortés and his indigenous allies in October 1519. Currently, Gutiérrez is engaged in reconstructing the life of María de la Paz, a wealthy Castilian immigrant to colonial-era Cholula known as “la viuda obrajera” (widowed female owner of a textile factory). As part of that project, she is collaborating with the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at UT-Austin to “train” an NEH-funded software tool to automate transcriptions of colonial Mexican script.

In addition to her degrees in history from UCLA, Gutiérrez earned an MFA in Creative Non-fiction from the Pennsylvania State University. She and her husband enjoy an active life near the beach with their children, ages seven, five, and three.


  • 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
  • HIST 393 – Modern Latin America
  • HIST 393 – Ritual and Re-enactment in 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
  • POLI 496 - Senior Seminar in Politics and Religion: Christian Responses to Epidemic Disease