Shawn Michael Austin (B.A., Brigham Young University-Idaho 2006; M.A./Ph.D. University of New Mexico 2014) 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 the Guaraní in the colonial Río de la Plata and is provisionally entitled Beyond the Missions: The Guaraní and the Encomienda Community in Colonial Paraguay. It shows 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 teaches courses on a variety of topics in Latin American history, including indigenous cultures, African slavery, women and gender, frontiers and borderlands, and the Cold War.