Stephanie Kirk

Stephanie Kirk

Professor of Spanish, Comparative Literature, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
PhD, New York University
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    contact info:

    office hours:

    • Monday and Wednesday: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
      CB 1077
      One Brookings Drive
      St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    ​Professor Kirk's main teaching and research interests include the literature and culture of colonial Latin America with a focus on gender studies and religion. 

    Stephanie Kirk is the author of two books: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and the Gender Politics of Knowledge in Colonial Mexico (Routledge, 2016) and Convent Life in Colonial Mexico: A Tale of Two Communities (Florida UP, 2007).  She has also published numerous articles and essays on gender and religious culture in colonial Mexico, and on the life and work of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. She has edited two collected volumes: Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas (Penn Press, 2014) and Estudios coloniales en el siglo XXI: Nuevos itinerarios (IILI, 2011). She is currently preparing a translation and critical edition of Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora’s convent chronicle Paraíso occidental. Stephanie Kirk is the editor of the Revista de Estudios Hispánicos.

    Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas

    Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas

    Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas explores the impact of colonial encounters in the Atlantic world on the history of Christianity. Essays from across disciplines examine religious history from a spatial perspective, tracing geographical movements and population dispersals as they were shaped by the millennial designs and evangelizing impulses of European empires. At the same time, religion provides a provocative lens through which to view patterns of social restriction, exclusion, and tension, as well as those of acculturation, accommodation, and resistance in a comparative colonial context. Through nuanced attention to the particularities of faith, especially Anglo-Protestant settlements in North America and the Ibero-Catholic missions in Latin America, Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas illuminates the complexity and variety of the colonial world as it transformed a range of Christian beliefs.

    Convent Life in Colonial Mexico: A Tale of Two Communities

    Convent Life in Colonial Mexico: A Tale of Two Communities

    The Catholic Church produced an enormous volume of written material designed to ensure the servility of nuns. Reading this body of proscriptive literature alongside nuns’ own writings, Kirk finds that practice often diverged from theory. She analyzes how seventeenth- and eighteenth-century nuns formed alliances and friendships in defiance of Church authorities’ efforts to contain and control them. In the Mexican convents that form the basis of Kirk's study, nuns developed a powerful, counterhegemonic spirit of female solidarity, establishing communities that made possible a surprising degree of productive autonomy, despite official promotion of oppressive ideas about gender and religiosity. Kirk also examines the motivations and discursive structures behind the Church’s desire to regulate all aspects of convent life.