Joan C. Bristol

Joan C. Bristol

Joan C. Bristol

Associate Professor

Latin America, African Diaspora, history of commodities

Joan C. Bristol is the author of Christians, Blasphemers, and Witches: Afro-Mexican Ritual Practice in the Seventeenth Century (University of New Mexico Press, Diálogos series). Her articles appear in the Boletín del Archivo General de la Nación (Mexico), the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, the Journal of Africana Religions, and other publications. Her research interests include the intersection of gender and racial ideologies in colonial Spanish America, Mexican crypto-Judaism, and the history of pulque and mezcal in Mexico.

Current Research

Distilling Identities: From Pulque to Tequila in Mexico, 1428-Present

Selected Publications

“Fetishizing the Past to Imagine the Present: Mesoamerican Chocolate and Pulque in the World," LOCUS: Revista de Historia, vol. 29, no. 1, 2023

“Blackness and Blurred Boundaries in Mexico City,” A Companion to Viceregal Mexico City, edited by John López, Brill, 2021

“Colonial Community Life,” Oxford Handbook of Mexican History, edited by William Beezley, Oxford, 2020

“Health Food and Diabolic Vice: Pulque Discourse in New Spain,” in Substance and Seduction: Ingested Commodities in Colonial Mesoamerica, the Atlantic World, and Beyond, edited by Stacy Schwarzkopf and Kathryn Sampeck, University of Texas Press, 2017

"Creole Civic Pride and Positioning 'Exceptional' Black Women,” with Tamara Harvey, in Women’s Narratives of the Early Americas and the Formation of Empire, eds. Mary McAleer Balkun and Susan C. Imbarrato, Palgrave, 2016

“Black Catholicism in Mexico,” Journal of Africana Religions, vol. 2, no. 2, 2014

“A Trail of Precious Goods: Colonial Latin American Commodity History,” History Compass, volume 11, issue 11, November, 2013

“Ana de Vega: Seventeenth-Century Afro-Mexican Healer,” in Human Tradition in Latin America, ed. Kenneth Andrien, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2013

Courses Taught

History 125:  Global History

History 271:  Survey of Colonial Latin America

History 365:  Conquest and Colonization in Latin America

History 510:  Approaches to Modern World History

History 525:  The Atlantic World

History 610:  Study and Writing of History


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania

M.A. San Francisco State University

A.B. Bryn Mawr College

Recent Presentations

“Alienation and Belonging in Two Diasporas: An African-Descent Crypto-Jew Navigates the Seventeenth-Century Spanish Empire,” Atlantic History Workshop at NYU, April 2023

“Ethno-Environmental Fetishization: Pulque, Cochineal, and Cacao in Colonial Mexico,” Southeastern Conference on Latin American Studies, April 2021

“Moving through Community: Examining the Travels of Esperanza Rodriguez in Seventeenth-Century Mexico,” Society for the Study of American Women Writers, November 2018

“Pulque y el fetichismo de mercancía en la época colonial,” Reunión de Historiadores de México, October 2018

“Fetishizing Health and Power: Chocolate and Pulque in Colonial Mexico,” American Society for Ethnohistory, October 2018

“Ritual and Recreation: Pulque as Metaphor in the Sixteenth Century,” Southeastern Conference on Latin American Studies, March 2018

“Focusing Different Lenses on Esperanza Rodriguez, a mulata Jew in Seventeenth-Century Mexico,” November 2017, Future(s) of Microhistory Symposium (University of Rochester)

“Globe-Trotting and Coming ‘Home’ in Jewish Mexico," April 2017, Latin American Studies Association

“Mixing Pulque and Drinking Coyotes in Colonial Mexico, “ March 2017, Library of Congress, Colloquium: Mestizaje, Hybridity, and Cultural Entanglements in Colonial Latin America

Society for the Study of American Women Writers, November 2015, “Creole Civic Pride and ‘Exceptional’ Black Women,” with Tamara Harvey

Dissertations Supervised

David McKenzie, Racing Ahead of Manifest Destiny: U.S. Migration, Citizenship, and Commercial Expansion in Mexico's Interior, 1821-53 (2021)

John Rodriguez, A City of Chameleons: Spanish New Orleans And The Transition Of Empires, 1767-1803 (2018)