Christina Ramos

​Assistant Professor of History
PhD, Harvard University
MA, Duke University
BA, University of California - Davis
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    Christina Ramos specializes in the history of medicine, especially early modern medicine, with a geographical focus on Latin America. 


    She is especially interested in the complex intermingling of medical, religious, and indigenous cultures; the history of colonial hospitals and the provisioning of public health; the Inquisition as an archive for medical history; and the daily experience and treatment of sickness and disease.

    Her first book, Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment, is forthcoming with UNC Press. A new history of madness during the eighteenth century, this book foregrounds the case of the Hospital de San Hipólito in Mexico City, the first hospital of the Americas to specialize in the care and custody of the mentally disturbed, and its growing alignment with the Inquisition and secular criminal courts, from which it often received patients. Treating San Hipólito as both a microcosm and colonial laboratory of the Hispanic Enlightenment, Ramos argues that the hospital enacted and refracted a complex history of medicalization with religious personnel, including inquisitors, rather than doctors, at the pioneering forefront.

    Ramos’s second book project, tentatively titled Nursing an Empire: Hospitals and Global Health in the Hispanic World, comprises a social history of public health and medical charity in the Spanish Empire with a focus on colonial hospitals and the nursing orders that administered them.  

    She teaches courses on the history of medicine, medicine and empire, and colonial Latin America.


    “Beyond the Columbian Exchange: Medicine and Public Health in Colonial Latin America,” History Compass 19.8 (Aug. 2021): 10-20.  

    “Caring for pobres dementes: Madness, Colonization, and the Hospital de San Hipólito in Mexico City, 1567-1700,” The Americas 77.4 (Oct. 2020): 539-571.

    “Medicalization and its Discontents: Gender, the History of Medicine, and Nora Jaffary’s Reproduction and its Discontents” (peer-reviewed essay for a panel publication for the Ferguson Prize), Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 29.1 (2018): 115-122.


    Fellowships, Grants, & Awards:

    Faculty Fellowship, Center for the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis, 2020.

    Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2018-2019.

    José Amor y Vázquez Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, 2014

    David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Harvard University, 2012-2013

    Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, Harvard University, 2011-2012

    Mellon Summer Institute in Spanish Paleography, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Newberry Library, 2011

    Hiebert Fellowship for Dissertation Research and Technical Training, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, 2010, 2011  

    Term-Time Research Grant, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 2010 

    John Womack Jr. Summer Research Travel Grant, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 2009 

    Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellowship, National Academies of Sciences, 2008-2011

    Duke Endowment Fellowship, Duke University, 2005-2006

    Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Humanistic Studies, 2004-2005


    Health & Disease in World History

    Humors, Pox, & Plague: Medieval and Early Modern Medicine

    History of Madness

    Medicine, Disease, and Empire

    Introduction to Colonial Latin America

    Race and Ethnicity in Latin America