Interim Associate Dean, Director - SHPR

Office: 541-737-9564

Milam Hall

Milam Hall 324

2520 SW Campus Way

2520 SW Campus Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
Ph.D. in History (University of California Berkeley, 2003)
  • Cultural and Historical Awareness

History of Race, Religion, Gender, Sexuality

Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
Liberal Arts Admin
Research/Career Interests: 


Currently as Interim Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and previously as Director of the School of History, Philosophy and Religion since 2017, Nicole von Germeten works hard to increase outreach, access to OSU’s degree programs, and innovate OSU’s curriculum. She inaugurated an African Diaspora-focused speaker series in Fall of 2020. She also led the creation of two new degrees: Applied Humanities which has been recognized by OSU’s 2022 Office of Institutional Diversity State of Diversity Address for Creating an Inclusive University Climate to Support the Retention and Success of All Students and Employees. The second degree program that Prof. von Germeten organized is a Master’s Degree in History which welcomed its first cohort in the Fall of 2021. Lastly, Prof. von Germeten won an OSU E-Campus Research Grant to create a highly interactive class called Crime in History, based on archival case studies from her scholarship, which will first be taught in Fall of 2022.

A specialist in Latin American History, Prof. von Germeten has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Fulbright Garcia Robles Scholarship and the Muriel McKevitt Sonne Endowment for her doctoral studies at Berkeley. She was a Fellow at the Princeton Center for the Study of Religion in 2004 (Theme: Women and Religion in the African Diaspora) and was affiliated with the Stanford University Center for Latin American Studies in 2008 and 2009.  She has written nearly 100 books, essays, reviews, and articles for edited volumes, online resources, and articles in academic journals. She has published four single-authored books and two edited book-length translations since 2006. Cambridge University Press will publish her fifth book in 2023, and she is also co-editing (with Nina Kushner) a Bloomsbury Global History of Sexuality, and has recently co-submitted a new book proposal (with Theodore Cohen) for an essay collection on Afro-Mexican History in the Nineteenth Century.


Select Publications

NEW BOOK: One night in 1789, three men used machetes to slaughter 11 innocent people in their home. The killers then stole a fortune in silver. This book translates a fictionalization of what the classic nineteenth-century novelist José de Cuéllar viewed as The Sin of the Century



In 2023, Cambridge University Press will publish Death in Mexico: The 1789 Dongo Murders and How they Shaped the History of a Nation. Click here to learn more and preorder this book: 

This book recreates a paper trail of Enlightenment-era greed and savagery which began with a brutal massacre of eleven men and women by three killers armed with machetes on the night of October 23, 1789. Investigators immediately rushed to the scene and worked night and day to find the perpetrators, who were publicly garrotted two weeks after committing their crimes. This book highlights how the violence of the Mexican judiciary echoes the acts of the murderers. The Spanish government carried out dozens of executions in Mexico City’s central plaza in this era, but rejected the Tenochtitlán legacy of human sacrifice when it literally rose up from the mud underneath their own gallows in the early 1790s. The history of violent law enforcement continues to affect Mexico’s present. We can still learn from this “crime of the century.”

The Enlightened Patrolman: Early Law Enforcement in Mexico City tells the story of the night watchmen who walked their beats on the streets of eighteenth-century Mexico City. Their key duties were maintaining the new street lighting, and arresting men and women for public drunkenness. These plebeian patrolmen functioned as street level enforcers of late colonial racial policies, while at the same time facing frequent violent resistance from the populace.

Profit and Passion: Transactional Sex in Colonial Mexico (University of California Press, 2018), investigates transactional sex in Spain and Mexico from the medieval era to the nineteenth century through the theoretical lens of recent sex work activism. Listen to an interview about this book on New Books Network.
 Violent Delights, Violent Ends: Sex, Honor, and Witchcraft in Colonial Colombia came out with University of New Mexico Press in 2013 and brings to life the dangers of women exerting their sexual agency in Colombia from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. This book tells archival-based stories of erotic magic, honor killings, and both satisfied and frustrated desires.

Her second book is a translation of Alonso de Sandoval's 1627 guide for missionaries working with African slaves in colonial Colombia, titled De Instauranda Aethiopum Salute (Hackett, 2008). The original source is one of the first book-length accounts of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Black Blood Brothers, based on work in more than 20 Mexican archives, describes the social and religious life of Africans in Mexico, using documentation from more than 60 Afro-Mexican brotherhoods (University Press of Florida, 2006)

Imagining Histories of Colonial Latin America: Synoptic Methods and Practices (Religions of the Americas Series)

University of New Mexico Press (December 1, 2017)

Essay: Making Sense of Geographies - Regionalism in the Study of Latin American History

The Black Urban Atlantic in the Age of the Slave Trade

University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013

Essay: Black Brotherhoods in Mexico City

Redes de Nación y Espacios de poder: La comunidad irlandesa en España y la América Española, 1600-1825

Ministerio de Defensa; Edición: 1 (December 1, 2012)

Essay: Who was Captain Cornelio Cornelius? Dying for honor on the old Spanish Main


Afro-Latino Voices: Narratives from the Early Modern Ibero-Atlantic World, 1550-1812

Hackett (November 15, 2009)

Essay: Juan Roque’s Donation of a House to the Zape Confraternity, Mexico City, 1623

Black Mexico: Race and Society from Colonial to Modern Times (Diálogos Series)

University of New Mexico Press (September 1, 2009)

Essay: Colonial Middle Men? Mulatto Identities in New Spain’s Confraternities

Local Religion in Colonial Mexico (Diálogos Series)

University of New Mexico Press (May 1, 2006)

Essay: Routes to Respectability Confraternities and Men of African Descent in New Spain