Tikal, Guatemala

Martha Few is Associate Professor of Latin American history at the University of Arizona. Her research and teaching focus on Guatemala and Mexico, Mesoamerican ethnohistory, the history of medicine, and human-animal studies.


Prof. Few is co-editor with Zeb Tortorici of Centering Animals in Latin American History (Duke University Press, 2013). Centering Animals writes animals back into the history of colonial and postcolonial Latin America. This collection reveals how interactions between humans and other animals have significantly shaped narratives of Latin American histories and cultures. She is also author of Women Who Live Evil Lives: Gender, Religion and the Politics of Power in Colonial Guatemala (University of Texas Press, 2002).


Prof. Few is finishing up a new book Signs of Life: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala. Signs of Life examines through the lens of cultural history the first public health campaigns in Guatemala, southern Mexico, and Central America, and local medical knowledge produced there in the eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-centuries. She weaves into her analysis of Enlightenment-era colonial public health campaigns a study of the important, but mostly overlooked, contribution of indigenous Mesoamerican medical cultures, which not only influenced the shape and scope of these campaigns but also influenced New World medical cultures more broadly.


Among her next projects are a new book, Shapeshifting and Other Human-Animal Transformations from the Edges of Empire, and a translation and annotation, in collaboration with Zeb Tortorici, Adam Warren, and Nina Scott, of Pedro de Arrese's postmortem cesarean manual On The Baptism of Miscarried Fetuses and the Cesarean Procedure (Guatemala, 1786).


Prof. Few has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. She has also held research fellowships at the Newberry Library in Chicago, the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, and the Huntington Library in Pasadena.


Journal articles and book chapters that Prof. Few has published include "Killing Locusts in Colonial Guatemala," in Few and Tortorici, eds., Centering Animals in Latin American History (2013); "Circulating Smallpox Knowledges: Guatemalan Doctors, Maya Indians, and Designing Spain's Royal Vaccination Expedition, 1780-1806," British Journal for the History of Science (2010); "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 (2009); "'That Monster of Nature': Gender, Sexuality, and the Medicalization of a 'Hermaphrodite' in Late Colonial Guatemala," special issue "Sexual Encounters/Sexual Collisions: Alternative Sexualities in Colonial Mesoamerica," Ethnohistory 54:1 (Winter 2007), pp. 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 (University of New Mexico Press, 2007), pp. 114-124; and "Chocolate, Sex, and Disorderly Women in Late-Seventeenth and Early-Eighteenth-Century Guatemala," Ethnohistory 52:4 (fall 2005), pp. 673-687.


During fall semester 2014, Prof. Few teaches History/LAS 465Z/565Z, a co-convened undergraduate and graduate course on the history of Central America. During spring semester 2015, she teaches a graduate colloquium on new approaches to the history of colonial Latin America.


< University of Arizona  ::  History Department