Emily Berquist Soule (Ph.D., 2007, University of Texas at Austin) is Associate Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach. Her first book, The Bishop’s Utopia: Envisioning Improvement in Colonial Peru, was published in 2014 from the University of Pennsylvania Press as part of the “Early Modern Americas” series edited by Peter Mancall. She completed her book with two years of research leave funded by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Dibner program in the History of Science at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. For the 2014-2015 academic year, Dr. Berquist will be on research leave working on her second book project, The Politics of Slavery in the Late Spanish Empire, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Bishop’s Utopia is based on the extraordinary 1,372 watercolor images of the people, plants and animals that Spanish Bishop Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón commissioned from indigenous artisans in Northern Peru in the 1780s. It reads these unique pieces of visual data as historical documentation that further our understanding of natural history, art, and the politics of empire in the Atlantic world. The book recreates the intellectual, cultural, and political universe Martínez Compañón inhabited, paying special attention to his reform agenda in the mining industry and in indigenous education. It locates the Bishop and his work with the local Indians in the broader contemporary debate over the supposed inferiority of the American people and natural world, demonstrating how through his scientific research and his reform activities, Martínez Compañón positioned the Indians as intelligent, productive subjects of the Spanish Crown.
Dr. Berquist has also published on her second book project, The Politics of Slavery in the Late Spanish Empire (see corresponding article in Slavery & Abolition, June 2010). This work investigates the global politics of early antislavery sentiment and the politics of slavery in the late Spanish Empire, with a special focus on the disastrous Spanish attempts to establish a slave-trading depot off the West Coast of Africa in the late-eighteenth century.
A former Fulbright scholar, Dr. Berquist has also been awarded funding from the American Historical Association, the Atlantic History Seminar at Harvard University, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the Spanish Ministry of Culture (among others.) She has worked extensively in historical archives throughout Spain, Colombia, and Peru. At Long Beach, she teaches the history of Colonial Latin America and the Spanish Empire at the advanced undergraduate and Master’s levels, including courses on the history of religion, slavery, and visual culture. She has served as Advisor for several Master’s Theses, including Amy Peters’ “The Mark of Gender: Depicting Power and the Female Body in Colonial Peru,” which won the 2009 Best Thesis Award in the College of Liberal Arts.
In 2013, Dr. Berquist appeared as a historical expert on the Travel Channel historical artifact hunting show, “Dig Fellas.” She lives with her family and dog Leo in Los Angeles.
301: Methodologies of History
362: Colonial Latin America Survey
460/560: Slavery in Latin America
465: Seeing Latin America: Visual Culture and History in the Latin American World
466: Gods, Saints, and Sinners: The Culture of Religion in Colonial Latin America
499: Senior Research Seminar
510: (graduate seminar) Historiography of Colonial Latin America
590: (graduate seminar) The Idea of the Indian in the Americas
592: (graduate seminar) Cultures of Nature: The Science of Empire in the Early Modern Atlantic World
663: (graduate seminar) Advanced Research Methodologies in Latin American History
Please click here to view Dr. Berquist’s Curriculum Vitae