Cultural Resilience: What We Can Learn from the Oldest City in the Americas
Verónica A. Gutiérrez, MFA, Ph.D, spent a year researching indigenous-Christianity in Cholula, Puebla, México. During that time she resided in a former Franciscan convento (friary), built upon the remains of a pre-hispanic teocalli (“god-house”). Each time it rained, ancient pottery and obsidian shards would be unearthed in the backyard, examples of the richly-layered history of the area, the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the Americas.
Currently, Gutiérrez is an Associate Professor of Latin American History and the Director of Undergraduate Research at Azusa Pacific University. APU’s first Latin American specialist, she is passionate about challenging myths pervading native peoples of the Americas, ensuring her students understand that complex indigenous cultures did not disappear upon European arrival, but rather adapted and continue to thrive. Cholula, which witnessed several conquests and shifts in the dominant spirituality, today fashions itself as La Ciudad Sagrada, the Sacred City.
Gutiérrez has spoken at numerous academic conferences, providing a keynote at the 30th Biennial Meeting of the Conference on Faith and History, as well as the Conferencia Magistral (Spanish-language keynote) at the 7th Coloquio Internacional de Jóvenes Historiadores in Tlalpujahua, Michoacán, México. Gutiérrez has received a variety of institutional research support, including from Fulbright, Ford, the Mellon Foundation, Spain’s Ministry of Culture, the Academy of American Franciscan History, and the Graves Award in the Humanities. She serves as Faculty Adviser for her department’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the National History Honor Society) and is President-elect of the Western Regional Conference on Faith and History.