Faculty Bio

Leslie Scott Offutt

Associate Professor of History and Director of Latin American and Latino/a Studies

Originally from southern California, Leslie S. Offutt earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of California, Riverside, and her Ph.D. degree in colonial Latin American history from the University of California, Los Angeles (1982). She has taught Latin American history at Vassar College since 1983, where in addition to being a member and former chair of the History Department she serves on the steering committee of the International Studies program and is a participating faculty member and acting director of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies program. She is the author of numerous articles on Hispanic society on the North Mexican frontier in the eighteenth century and on Indian/Spanish relations in that region. Her book Saltillo 1770–1810: Town and Region in the Mexican North was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2001. Her recent work with a collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century Nahuatl-language wills from San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala is part of a larger project dealing with community formation on New Spain's northern frontier.  She is also co-authoring a video book with Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies/Environmental Studies) and Colleen Cohen (Anthropology/Women's Studies/Media Studies) on "Cuban Transitions:  Cultural Transformations in the 21st Century," a project that grows out of their spring 2012 INTL 110 course/study trip Cuban Transitions:  Heritage, Ecotourism, and Cultural Transformation in the 21st Century.

Her course offerings include History 162 (Envisioning Latin America), History 164 (Latin American History "Through the Lens"); History 262 (Early Latin America to 1790), History 263 (From Colony to Nation: Latin America in the Nineteenth Century), History 264 (The Revolutionary Option? Latin America 1898-2014), and advanced seminars on the indigenous experience in Latin America and Latin American revolutions, including a course on The Cuban Revolutions. Her multidisciplinary teaching has included the introductory Latin American and Latino/A Studies (LALS) course Conceptualizing Latin and Latino/a America and several iterations of the International Studies 110 course and study trip, including Cuba in Transition (co-taught with colleagues in the Anthropology department, spring 2002), Visions of Brazil (co-taught with colleagues in Geography and Anthropology, spring 2004), Indigenous Commodfication and Resistance in Mexico:  Oaxaca, Chiapas and Yucatan (co-taught with colleagues from the Anthropology Department, spring 2010), the aforementioned Cuban Transitions:  Heritage, Ecotourism, and Cultural Transformation in the Twenty-First Century (co-taught with colleagues in Anthropology/Women's Studies/Media Studies and Hispanic Studies/Environmental Studies), Cubanidad:  Patrimony, Expressive Culture, and Revolutionary Spaces in Today's Cuba (co-taught with two colleagues in Anthropology/Women's Studies, spring 2013), and Cuba: After the Revolution (spring 2017) (co-taught with colleagues in Anthropology/Women's Studies, Geography, and Economics).  In the spring semester 2018 she will co-teach another INTL 110 course Mexico Today:  An Exploration Through Expressive, Material, and Culinary Cultures" with an Anthropology/Women's Studies colleague.