Juan  José Ponce-Vázquez

Juan José Ponce-Vázquez

Assistant Professor


  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2011

Research Areas

  • Latin American History
  • Spanish Caribbean History
  • Race and Slavery in Spanish America
  • Atlantic History


Current Projects

My research focuses on Spanish Caribbean societies during the seventeenth century. I am interested in the role that Spanish societies played in the forging of a Caribbean world caught in between the competing imperial agendas of the expanding European powers of the day, namely England, France, and the United Provinces. My current book project is provisionally entitled “Smuggling in Hispaniola: Social and Political Defiance at the Edge of Empire, 1580-1697,” and it is under contract with Cambridge University Press. In this project, I analyze how the residents of the Spanish colony of Hispaniola used smuggling to transcend their marginal location and status within the Spanish colonial world and took advantage of the intense imperial competition that engulfed the Caribbean during the seventeenth century. The study of a colonial periphery such as Hispaniola demonstrates how local peoples actively negotiated and transformed the meaning and reach of imperial bureaucracies and institutions for their own benefit. In Santo Domingo, local actors managed to undermine and co-opt the powers of imperial bureaucracies, either by absorbing them into their own patronage networks or by confronting them with the strength that their colonial isolation granted them.

Courses Taught

  • Colonial Latin America (HY 111)
  • Indians, Nuns, and Rogues. Cities in Colonial Latin America (HY 473)
  • Imperial Spain during its ‘Golden Age’ (HY-477)
  • Race and Slavery in Spanish America (HY-665)
  • Latin American Literature (HY-605)
  • Caribbean Pirates in History and Popular Culture (HY-307)
  • US-Latin American Relations (HY-430)

Conference Presentations

  • “Suppressing Smugglers: The Depopulations and Reshaping of Colonial Hispaniola, 1604-1606,” pre-circulated paper for the Southwest Seminar, Utah Valley University, Heber City, UT, November 2018.
  • ““The Only Remedy Is Doing with These People What It Was Done with the Moriscos”: The Depopulation of Española, 1604-1606” Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies, Nashville, TN, 2018.
  • Invitation to participate in the XII Congreso de Historia Dominicana (12th Congress of Dominican History) with a paper titled “Delito, poder y transformación de la esclavitud en Santo Domingo, c. 1600-1650.” Santo Domingo, November 15-18, 2017.
  • “Contraband Trade and the Moral Economy of Hispaniola.” SECOLAS 2017, Chapel Hill, NC.

Selected Publications