Skip to main content


BA, Princeton University, 1981
MA, University of Texas, 1984
MA, Harvard University, 1988
PhD, Harvard University, 1993

Research Interests

Kathryn Burns began phased retirement in July 2019. She works on colonial Latin America, especially the history of mestizaje, property, and literacy in the colonial Andes. Her first book examined nuns, production, and reproduction in Cuzco. Her second traces the practices of the Spanish American escribanos who shaped notarial truth and generated vast colonial archives.

Some Notable Publications

  • Into the Archive: Writing and Power in Colonial Peru (Duke University Press, 2010)
  • “Unfixing Race,” in Rereading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Religious and Racial Difference in the Renaissance Empires, eds. Margaret R. Greer, Walter D. Mignolo, and Maureen Quilligan (University of Chicago, 2007), 188–202
  • Colonial Habits: Convents and the Spiritual Economy of Cuzco, Peru (Duke University Press, 1999)
  • “Dentro de la ciudad letrada: La producción de la escritura pública en el Perú colonial,” Histórica [Lima, Peru] 29:1 (July 2005), 43–68
  • “Notaries, Truth, and Consequences,” American Historical Review 110:2 (April 2005), 350–379