Raphael Folsom

Assistant Professor


Professor Folsom is a scholar of colonial Latin America, focusing on native peoples and imperial borderlands in New Spain. His first book, The Yaquis & The Empire: Violence, Spanish Imperial Power, and Native Resilience in Colonial Mexico (Yale University Press, 2014), deals with the history of one of Mexico’s most famous native peoples and their negotiations with Jesuit missionaries, Spanish officials, and their indigenous neighbors in colonial Sonora. He is currently at work on two new books: Mestizo Empire, A New History of the Chichimeca War, 1540-1610, and Frontiers of Mexican History, A New History of Mexico from Earliest Times (under contract with Oxford University Press). The first of these deals with an extremely violent and consequential war on Mexico’s northern frontier that, over time, led to the formation of new mixed-race political identities in New Spain and the independent Mexican Republic. The second book is a narrative of Mexican history focusing on three frontiers: the political frontiers, north and south, that Mexican governments have struggled to control; the intellectual frontiers of Mexican thinkers and scientists as they have striven to understand their country and their world; and the scholarly frontiers of today’s historians as they have worked to plumb Mexico’s unique and fascinating past. Professor Folsom received his doctorate from Yale University.