Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
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Martha Few

Martha Few

Professor of Latin American History and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

312 Weaver Building

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 865-2278

Websites:

Curriculum Vitae:

Education:

PhD University of Arizona
Joint MA University of Chicago
BA University of Chicago
Martha Few Headshot

Biography:

Martha Few is Professor of Latin American history and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State University. She is Editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review. Her research concentrates on the histories of Indigenous peoples during Spanish colonial rule in Guatemala, Central America, and southern Mexico through the lenses of medicine and public health, gender and sexuality, environmental history, and human-animal studies.

Professor Few is the author of Baptism Through Incision: The Postmortem Cesarean in the Spanish Empire, with Zeb Tortorici and Adam Warren (2020), For All of Humanity: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala (2015), Centering Animals in Latin American History (2013), and Women Who Live Evil Lives: Gender, Religion, and the Politics of Power in Colonial Guatemala (2002).

Her recent journal articles include “Epidemics, Indigenous Communities, and Public Health in the COVID-19 Era: Views from Smallpox Inoculation Campaigns in Colonial Guatemala,” Journal of Global History (15:3)15, Issue 3 in the Special Issue: Pandemics that Changed the World. Historical Reflections on COVID-19 (2020); “The Lives and Deaths of Caged Birds: Transatlantic Voyages of Wild Creatures from the Americas to Spain, 1740s-1790s” in Ethnohistory (2020), and “Early Modern Insects and Indigenous Mesoamerica,” Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies (Fall 2019).

Professor Few has recently been awarded the Audrey Lumsden-Kouvel Long-Term Fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia (2021-22), and an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Collaborative Research Fellowship (2017-2019). She has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, a Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Newberry Library, and has also held residential research fellowships at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA.

Professor Few is currently working on a new book titled Insects and the Making of the New World, a history of human relationships with five insects — locusts, silkworms, bees, ants, and cochineal. She is co-authoring a monograph, a global history of the rise and spread of the postmortem cesarean operation for fetal baptism in the Spanish and Portuguese empires.

Recent Publications:

“Epidemics, Indigenous Communities, and Public Health in the COVID-19 Era: Views from Smallpox Inoculation Campaigns in Colonial Guatemala,” Journal of Global History, Volume 15, Issue 3 (Special Issue: Pandemics that Changed the World. Historical Reflections on COVID-19), (November, 2020), 380-393.

“The Lives and Deaths of Caged Birds: Transatlantic Voyages of Wild Creatures from the Americas to Spain, 1740s-1790s” in Ethnohistory, special issue “Birds and Feathers in the Ancient and Colonial Mesoamerican World,” 67:1 (July 2020), 481-501.

“Early Modern Insects and Indigenous Mesoamerica,” Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies, invited article, special issue “50th Anniversary Issue,” L:1 (Fall 2019), 156-162.

Baptism through Incision: Through Incision: The Postmortem Cesarean in the Spanish Empire, (co-authored with Zeb Tortorici and Adam Warren) (Penn State University Press, Februrary 2020).

“Early Modern Insects and Indigenous Mesoamerica,” Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies, special issue 50th Anniversary Edition “Taking the Temperature of Early Modern Studies” 50:1 (summer 2019), 156-162.

“‘Speaking with the Fire’: The Inquisition Confronts Mesoamerican Divination to Treat Child Illness in Sixteenth-Century Guatemala,” Early Science and Medicine, special issue “Medicine and the Inquisition, Twenty Years After: Novel Approaches and New Research,” 23 (2018), 159-176.

For All of Humanity: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala (University of Arizona Press, 2015).

Centering Animals in Latin American History, co-editor (with Zeb Tortorici), (Duke University Press, 2013).

“Killing Locusts in Colonial Guatemala,” in Centering Animals in Latin American History, ed. Martha Few and Zeb Tortorici, (Duke University Press, 2013), 62-92.

“Introduction: Writing Animals into Latin American History,” (with Zeb Tortorici) in Centering Animals in Latin American History, ed. Martha Few and Zeb Tortorici, (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013), 1-27.

“Circulating Smallpox Knowledge: Guatemalan Doctors, Maya Indians, and Designing Spain’s Smallpox Vaccination Expedition, 1780-1806” British Journal for the History of Science 43:4 (December 2010), 519-537.

“Atlantic World Monsters: Monstrous Births and the Politics of Pregnancy in Colonial Guatemala,” in Vollendorf and Kostrun, eds., Gender and Religion in the Atlantic World (University of Toronto Press, 2009), 205-222.

“That Monster of Nature’: Gender, Sexuality, and the Medicalization of a ‘Hermaphrodite’ in Late Colonial Guatemala,” Ethnohistory 54:1 (Winter 2007), 159-176.

“Our Lord Entered His Body’: Miraculous Healing and Children’s Bodies in Colonial New Spain.” In Susan Schroeder and Stafford Poole, eds., Religion in New Spain: Varieties of Colonial Religious Experience (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007), 114-124.

“Chocolate, Sex, and Disorderly Women in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Guatemala,” Ethnohistory 52:4 (fall 2005), 673-687.

Awards and Fellowships:

Audrey Lumsden-Kouvel Long-Term Fellowship, Newberry Library, Chicago, 2021.

Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2021.

Humanities Institute Residential Fellowship, Penn State University, 2021.

The Center for Global Studies Research Award, Penn State University, 2021.

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Collaborative Research Fellowship, 2017-19.

Honorable Mention, Bandelier/Lavrin Book Prize in Colonial Latin American History, for For All of Humanity: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala, 2016.

John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellowship, Summer 2016. For in-person collaboration on book project in process On Cesarean Operations and Fetal Baptism: An Eighteenth-Century Guatemalan Treatise in Historical Perspective, co-authored with Zeb Tortorici and Adam Warren; translated by Nina M. Scott.

University of Arizona, Provost’s Author Support Program, 2015.

Harvard University, Visiting Scholar, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, January-June 2009.

Research Professorship, Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute, University of Arizona, 2008-2009.

Newberry Library, Short Term Fellowship for Individual Research, summer 2006.

Huntington Library, Evelyn S. Nation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowships, spring 2006.

John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Ruth and Lincoln Ekstrom Fellowship, fall 2005.

Areas of Specialization: