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Matthew Restall

Matthew Restall

Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Colonial Latin American History

Anthropology and Women's Studies

Director of Latin American Studies

213 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. PhD, University of California, 1992
  2. MA, University of California, 1989
  3. BA, Oxford University, 1986


I am a Colonial Latin American Historian with areas of specialization in Yucatan and Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, Maya history, the Spanish Conquest, and Africans in Spanish America. I have received NEH and Guggenheim Fellowships to study Mexico's indigenous and African past.  My sixty odd articles & essays and twenty books published since 1995 include The Maya World (1997), Maya Conquistador (1998), and Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (2003, and since published in four additional languages).  More recent books include two edited volumes, Beyond Black and Red and Black Mexico (2005 and 2009), and two co-authored volumes—Mesoamerican Voices (2005) and Invading Guatemala(2007), the latter published in Penn State Press’ Latin American Originals series. I edit that series, and co-edit Cambridge University Press's Cambridge Latin American Studies book series. Having edited Ethnohistory journal for ten years, I am now co-editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review. My monograph, The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan (2009), won the Conference on Latin American History prize for best book on Mexican history, and is to be published in Spanish in 2018. I co-authored four books published in 2011 and 2012: 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse (with Amara Solari);The Riddle of Latin America and Latin America in Colonial Times (both with Kris Lane); and The Conquistadors (with Felipe Fernández-Armesto).  My newest book, When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History, on the Spanish-Aztec War, was published in January of 2018 by Ecco/HarperCollins. I am currently writing a book on early Belize.

former editor of Ethnohistory journal; current editor of Hispanic American Historical Review 
series editor for Latin American Originals and for Cambridge Latin American Studies

Recent Publications:

When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History. New York: Ecco, 2018.

The Conquistadors: A Very Short Introduction (with Felipe Fernández-Armesto). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Latin America in Colonial Times (with Kris Lane).  Cambridge: Cambridge: University Press, 2011.

2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse (with Amara Solari).  Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.

The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan.  Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009.

Awards and Service:

Kislak Fellowship, Kluge Center, Library of Congress (2017)

Membership, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; Saunders Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University (2013-14)

Fellowship, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Pennsylvania State University (2011)

Faculty Scholar Award for Outstanding Achievement, Pennsylvania State University (2007)

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2003-2004)

NEH Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University (2001-2002)

Recent Courses:

HIST011 - World History II
HIST197H - The End of the World: The History of Apocalyptic Thought
HIST302W - Undergraduate Seminar
HIST569 - Seminar in Latin-American History

Research Interests:

Colonial Latin America

Areas of Specialization:

Latin America: