Faculty Directory

Kristin Huffine

Director of Latino & Latin American Studies and Associate Professor

Fields of Study: Colonial Latin America, Atlantic World, Colonial Empires, Cultural/Intellectual, History of Science, Race and Ethnicity, and Rio de la Plata

E-mail: khuffine@niu.edu
Phone: 815-753-1532 Latino & Latin American Center
Office: Zulauf 716

Education: Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 2006

Current Research: My book manuscript, ‘Producing Christians from Half-Men and Beasts’: Jesuit Ethnography and Guaraní Response in the Paraguayan Jesuit Missions, examines the moral and ethnographic categories of natural philosophical analysis that helped Jesuits proclaim colonial authority over Indians and land in the Society’s province of Paraguay. I argue that the production of Jesuit New World knowledge, articulated by the missionaries and historians of the order, and sanctioned by the pope and Spanish crown, created both a regional identity and hegemonic form of colonial subjectivity that would dominate competing creole attempts to lay claim to the region, and would be challenged and negotiated by indigenous elites for a period of 150 years. While challenges and concessions to regional indigenous authority took place within the material and discursive spheres of Guaraní relocation and reduction, education, work, and daily life, efforts on the part of Jesuits to demarcate territory and colonial subjectivity among potential European and creole rivals were located in the continued publications of Jesuit civil and natural histories. My book examines how the publications of the mid-to-late eighteenth century transformed the terms of this project from a language of natural wonders, miracles, idolatry, and reform, to the late colonial Jesuit formulations of an enlightenment science of race.

Major/Recent Publications:

  • Producing Christians from Half-Men and Beasts: Jesuit Ethnography and Guarani Response in Colonial Rio de la Plata, forthcoming with the Univeristy of Pittsburgh, 2013.
  • Science, Power and the Order of Nature in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, co-edited with Daniela Bleichmar, Paula DeVos, and Kevin Sheehan, Stanford University Press, to be published January 2008.
  • “Raising Paraguay from Decline: Natural History, Ethnography, and the Science of Race in the Eighteenth-Century Accounts of the Paraguayan Jesuit Fathers,” Jesuit Knowledge, Natural History, and the New World, Luis Millones Figueroa and Domingo Ledesma, editors, Iberoamericana / Vervuert, 2005.

Teaching Interests: As a scholar, my research focuses on science, race, and empire in colonial Latin America. My courses reflect these same interests. I offer three undergraduate classes that address all three of these subjects in detail: the History of Science in Latin America, Indigenous Mexico, and Race and Ethnography in Colonial and Modern Mexico.  My graduate classes include Methods of Postcolonial Theory and Science, Race, and Empire in the Atlantic World.  In addition to this, I teach the two introductory surveys on Colonial and Modern Latin American history.

Courses Taught:

  • HIST 381 Colonial Latin American History
  • HIST 382 Modern Latin American History
  • HIST 481 Indigenous Mexico
  • HIST 495 Senior Thesis
  • HIST 520 Race and Ethnography in Colonial and Modern Mexico
  • HSIT 620 & 690 Science, Race, and Empire in the Atlantic World

Interdisciplinary Affiliations:
Center for Latino and Latin American Studies