Kristin Huffine

Current Research

My book, "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 (forthcoming with the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2020) 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 Publications

  • Producing Christians from Half-Men and Beasts: Jesuit Ethnography and Guarani Response in Colonial Rio de la Plata, forthcoming with the University of Pittsburgh.
  • "Thinking at the Margins: Subalterns and the Spanish American Past," in Imagining Histories of Colonial Latin America: Synoptic Methods and Practices, eds. Karen Melvin and Sylvia Sellers-Garcia. University of New Mexico Press, 2017.
  • 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, 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 and 690 Science, Race and Empire in the Atlantic World

Interdisciplinary affiliations

  • Center for Latino and Latin American Studies


Kristin Huffine

Kristin Huffine
Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor
Zulauf 615B

Colonial Latin America

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

Office Hours

3:30-5 p.m. (online) and by appointment