University of South Florida
College of Arts and Sciences
Frances L. Ramos
Office: SOC 215
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2005
I am committed to teaching students how to think critically and write persuasively, but I am also interested in encouraging respect and appreciation for Latin America’s rich history. I was once an undergraduate completely uninterested in the study of history and the history of Latin America rarely, if ever, crossed my mind. It took one class: one class.
I teach a variety of courses focusing on the political and religious culture of colonial and modern Latin America, including "Colonial Latin America," "Latin America in the Age of Revolution," and "Modern Mexico" as well as "Latin American Civilization" (LAH 2020), a broad survey that fulfills the Cultural Diversity component of the Liberals Arts General Education Course Requirements. My courses focus just as much on large transformations (such as conquest, revolution, and military dictatorship) as on the way everyday people responded to political, economic, and social change. In all of my undergraduate courses, students develop critical thinking skills by analyzing an array of primary sources, and in "Latin America in the Age of Revolution" and "Modern Mexico" these might include photographs, cartoons, song lyrics, and even popular films. I also offer a graduate seminar titled "Readings in Colonial Latin America" focusing on a category of analysis central to the historiography of Latin America (such as race, gender, or religion). Students are exposed to an array of subcategories in the historiography and are encouraged to work on individual projects related in some way to their specific research interests. Spring 2016, I will offer a cross-listed research seminar on Imperial Spain for undergraduates and graduate students; this course will fulfill the pro-seminar requirement for undergraduate history majors.
I challenge students, but I nurture their growth every step of the way. In my courses, students stretch, grow, and, in the end, feel proud of all that they accomplished.
I am currently working on a cultural history of the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713). Specifically, I analyze how after almost two centuries of Habsburg rule, royal officials tried to "sell" a new ruling dynasty to Mexico City's diverse population. The early eighteenth century has been woefully understudied among Latin Americanists and, for the most part, historians have taken for granted that New Spain’s subjects accepted easily the transition from Habsburg to Bourbon rule. I ask how royal officials sought to control the circulation of information in New Spain and how they played on historical memory to legitimize the new ruling dynasty. This work is fundamentally about the creation of an overarching imperial identity, an identity that bridged the Atlantic Ocean and highly differentiated social groups as well.
My previous work focused on the political culture of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Puebla de los Ángeles, Mexico, the viceroyalty of New Spain's “second city” in prestige and importance. My book Identity, Ritual and Power in Colonial Puebla (Winner of the Michael C. Meyer Award for Best Book on Mexico, 2008-2012) analyzes how spectacular public ceremonies reinforced allegiances to city, empire, and church, while also forging, testing, and demonstrating understandings regarding power and politics.
I have published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and compilations in both Mexico and the United States. My research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright-Hays Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.