Michele M. Stephens, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Latin American History
Latin American Studies Faculty Fellow
Phi Alpha Theta/History Club Faculty Advisor
Eberly College of Arts and Science
Dr. Stephens' research focuses on the relationships between communities in Latin America and how communities form in response to internal and external stressors. In her recently-published book (University of Nebraska Press, 2018), titled In the Lands of Fire and Sun: Resistance and Accommodation in the Huichol Sierra, 1723-1930, she examines the ways in which the Huichols have selectively adapted elements of Spanish and Mexican culture as a way to insulate their indigenous practices from external forces, beliefs, and stressors. Her methodology combines analyses of ethnographic reports, archaeology, anthropological studies, and archival research in order to discover elements of Huichol identity and disunity, use and manipulation of Spanish and Mexican legal systems, and syncretic religious beliefs, among other variables.
Dr. Stephens’ current research explores domestic violence in Yucatán in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. She is attempting to understand why women chose to report domestic violence, in spite of the fact that it was not technically illegal. Her examination of criminal case violence sheds light on slowly-changing attitudes towards violence in the home, as well as providing a backdrop of society and culture in this tumultuous period in Mexican history.