After completing a BA and MA in theology, I spent a year in Lisbon studying the religious history of the early modern Portuguese empire. In 2008 I began my PhD in History at the University of Notre Dame, focusing on colonial Brazil. I will defend in August 2013. My dissertation, ‘The Atlantic Reformation: How Confessional Conflict Altered Brazilian Society, 1554-1654’, asks how the European Reformation resonated in Brazil and how confessional tensions in Brazil contributed to mounting strife in Europe. I seek to explain Protestant zeal among the native peoples after more than a century of Catholic ‘spiritual conquest.’ I show how a legacy of what I call ‘exported confessional conflict’ altered the way Brazilian society was constructed. My work revises current historiography, which focuses on a purely Catholic evangelization of colonial Latin America.
In my post-doctoral project, ‘Global Reformation: Protestant and Catholic tensions in the East’, I aim to examine how faith worked out differently in various Portuguese territories taken over by the Dutch. What pre-existing structures for conversion, established by the Portuguese, did the Dutch take advantage of, and did they have to compromise as a result of it?
My research interests include colonial Latin America, early modern Portuguese empire, Reformation era, and Jesuits. Diverse teaching experiences intersect with my interest in Latin America, as I taught theology courses at the Universidade Católica Boliviana. I was also a teaching assistant for Global History and the History of Latin America through Film.