Shawn M. Austin

Shawn M. Austin

Assistant Professor

Colonial Latin America, Ethnohistory, Gender

(ARSC)-Arts & Sciences


Phone: 479-575-5893

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Shawn Michael Austin is a historian of colonial Latin America, with a focus on the social lives of indigenous peoples, African slaves, and women in South America. His current book project is an ethnohistory of Guaraní in the colonial Río de la Plata and is entitled Colonial Kinship: Guaraní, Spaniards, and Africans in Paraguay. It demonstrates that Spanish conquistadors acquired Indian servants by becoming the Guaraní’s kin and that kinship and reciprocity shaped interethnic relations throughout the colonial period. This study also analyzes groups typically excluded from the colonial histories of the Río de la Plata: African slaves and Guaraní women.

Austin is working towards two separate book projects. The first is a study of Guaraní-Christianity in the Jesuit missions through the use of Guaraní-language sources and the second is a study of Africans and slavery in Paraguay from the colonial period to independence.

Austin teaches courses on a variety of topics in Latin American history, including indigenous cultures, African slavery, gender and sexuality, and the Cold War. He also teaches the third sequence in the Honors Humanities Project and leads the Honors Passport Peru study abroad course.

Ph.D. University of New Mexico (2014)

"Guaraní Kinship and the Encomienda in Colonial Paraguay, Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries." Colonial Latin American Review 24:4 (2015): 545-71

“Aproximaciones al estudio de africanos y afro-paraguayos en el Paraguay colonial, siglos XVI-XVIII,” Revista Paraguaya de Sociología 49:143 (Jan.-July 2013): 229-43

“Embodied Borders: Colonial Guairá 1570-1640.” In Big Water: the Making of the Borderlands between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, edited by Jacob Blac and Frederico Freitas. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2018

Robert C. and Sandra Connor Endowed Faculty Fellowship, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas (2018)

Franklin Pease G.Y. Memorial Prize for the best article published in the journal Colonial Latin American Review (2015-2016): “Guaraní Kinship and the Encomienda in Colonial Paraguay”