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Bonnie Lucero

Photograph of Bonnie Lucero

Bonnie A. Lucero

Associate Professor

Office: N1038E

Bonnie A. Lucero is a scholar of Latin America and the Caribbean. Thematically, her research centers on the historical intersections of race and gender in colonial and post-colonial contexts, especially in Cuba. She is co-editor of Voices of Crime: Constructing and Contesting Social Control in Modern Latin America (University of Arizona Press, 2016). She is also author of two monographs. Her first book, Revolutionary Masculinity and Racial Inequality: Gendering War and Politics in Cuba, 1895-1902 (University of New Mexico, 2018), explores the ways Cuban soldiers employed ideas about manhood to negotiate racial hierarchy during the Cuban War of Independence and subsequent US military occupation. Her second monograph, A Cuban City, Segregated: Race and Urbanization in the Nineteenth Century (University of Alabama Press, forthcoming, 2019) examines the lived experiences of men and women of African descent in Cienfuegos, a city founded as a white colony, during the long nineteenth century. Her scholarship also appears in journals such as Transnational American Studies, and Atlantic Studies, and in edited volumes such as Emergiendo del silencio. Mujeres negras en la Historia de Cuba, edited by Oilda Hevia Lanier and Human Rights, Race and Resistance in the African Diaspora, edited by Cacee Hoyer and Toyin Falola. Her current project, tentatively titled Malthusian Practices: A History of Pregnancy, Abortion, and Infanticide in Cuba since Colonial Times, interrogates how laws regulating women's reproduction historically perpetuated gender-specific forms of racial inequality since the eighteenth century.


As an educator, Dr. Lucero has dedicated her career to expanding access to high-quality affordable higher education for students from underserved communities. After earning her PhD in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013, Lucero served as an Assistant Professor of Latin American history at the largest Hispanic-serving institution in Texas. There, she founded and directed Global Latin America, an interdisciplinary lecture and engagement series highlighting the diverse cultural, ethnic, and racial heritages of Latinx and Latin American peoples. As Law and Society Post-Doctoral Fellow at Tulane University's Newcomb College Institute, she taught incarcerated women at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in addition to mentoring undergraduate women in hands-on research experiences at home and abroad. Dr. Lucero is thrilled to join the faculty at University of Houston-Downtown, where she serves as Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Latino Studies. Dr. Lucero is a native of Richmond, California.

​Ph.D in History,  2013 
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill   

M.Phil in Latin American Studies, 2009 
University of Cambridge

B.A. in International & Regional Studies and Spanish Language & Literature,  2008
University of the Pacific, School of International Studies

Dr. Lucero is looking forward to developing courses in Latino Studies, Latin American History, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Africana Studies, such as:

Intro to Latino Studies

Black and Brown Feminisms

Women in Latin America

Caribbean & Central American History

Afro-Latin America

History of Cuba

US-Latin America Relations

PUBLICATIONS (last updated September 2018)



Revolutionary Masculinity and Racial Inequality: Gendering War and Politics in Cuba, 1895-1902 (University of New Mexico Press, 2018).

A Cuban City, Segregated: Race and Urbanization in the Nineteenth Century (University of Alabama Press, forthcoming, 2019).


Edited Volumes

Voices of Crime: Constructing and Contesting Social Control in Modern Latin America, Co-edited with Luz Huertas & Gregory Swedberg (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2016).


Refereed Journal Articles

"The Hidden Costs of Serving Our Community: Women Faculty of Color, Racist Sexism, and the False Security of a Hispanic-Serving Institution," Feminist Teacher, forthcoming.

 "Civilization before Citizenship: Education, Racial Order and the Material Culture of Female Domesticity, Cuba (1899-1902)," Atlantic Studies: Global Currents 12: 1 (2015): 26-49.

 "Transcending Race and Nation: Social Networks and Economic Mobility among Cubans of Color, circa 1898," Florida Atlantic Comparative Studies Journal 13 (2012).

"Racial Geographies, Imperial Transitions: Property Ownership and Race Relations in Cienfuegos, Cuba, 1894-1899," Journal of Transnational American Studies 3:2 (December 2011).


Book Chapters

 "Political Violence, Revolution, and US Occupation in Cuba circa the 1905 Elections," in The Oxford Handbook of Revolutionary Elections in the Americas, 1800-1910, edited by Andrew Robertson and Eduardo Posada-Carbó (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

"'In this Matter of Dignity': Black Unionism, Racial Order, and the Struggle for Citizenship in Cienfuegos, Cuba, 1899-1907," in Human Rights, Race and Resistance in the African Diaspora, edited by Cacee Hoyer and Toyín Falola, pp. 126-148 (New York: Routledge, 2016).

"Order in an Occupied City: Police and Antiblack Violence in Cienfuegos, Cuba, circa 1899," in Voices of Crime, op. cit.

"Conclusion: Towards an Intersectional Vision of Crime," in Voices of Crime, op. cit.

"Introduction: Studying the Construction, Negotiation, and Repression of Crime," with Luz Huertas & Gregory Swedberg, in Voices of Crime, op. cit.

"Entre Esclavos y Comerciantes: Mujeres Negras como Intermediarias en la Economía Colonial Cienfueguera" Emergiendo del silencio. Mujeres negras en la Historia de Cuba, edited by Oilda Hevia Lanier (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2016).


Encyclopedia Entries

"Spanish-American War." In 50 Events that Shaped Latino History: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic, 2 volumes (Westport, CT: ABC-CLIO, 2018).

"Fidel Castro." In Dictionary of American History, Supplement: America in the World, 1776 to the Present. Edited by Edward J. Blum (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons Press, 2016).

"Elena Burke," "Isidro Acea," "Generoso Campos Marquetti," "Agustín Cebreco," "Flor Crombet," "Dionisio Gil," "José Maceo González," "Silverio Sánchez Figueras," "Rafael Serra y Montalvo," "Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez," and "Nicolás Valverde." In Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Franklin K. Knight (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

"Audiencia Transferred to Cuba: 1801." In Cuba: People, Culture, History. Edited by Alan West-Durán (Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2012).


Bibliographic Essays

"Black Histories in Cuba and its Diaspora," CHOICE, Nov. 2016.


Book Reviews

"Madhouse: Psychiatry and Politics in Cuban History. By Jennifer L. Lambe," Cuba Counterpoints (forthcoming)

"The Grenada Revolution: Reflections and Lessons. Edited by Wendy C. Grenade," Journal of African American History 102:2 (2017): 282-285.

"Prostitution, Modernity, and the Making of the Cuban Republic, 1840-1920. By Tiffany A. Sippial," Cuban Studies 45 (2017): 377-379.

"Beyond the Walled City: Colonial Exclusion in Havana. By Guadalupe García," Cuba Counterpoints (2017).

 "Conceiving Freedom: Women of Color, Gender, and the Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro. By Camilla Cowling," North Carolina Association of Historians 23 (2016).

"¡Oye Loca! From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Miami. By Susana Peña," Oral History Review 43, No. 1 (2016): 238-240.

"Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba during slavery and Jim Crow. By Gerald Horne," Bulletin of Latin American Research 35, No. 2 (2016): 246-247.

 "Exile and Revolution: José D. Poyo, Key West, and Cuban Independence. By Gerald E. Poyo," Bulletin of Spanish Studies (2016).

"Afro-Cuban Religious Arts: Popular Expressions of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo & Santería. By Kristine Juncker," Hispanic American Historical Review 95:2 (2015): 392-394.

"Shade-Grown Slavery: The Lives of Slaves on Cuban Coffee Plantations. By William C. Van Norman," Journal of African American History 100:1 (2015): 316-318.

 "Ever-Faithful: Race, Loyalty, and the Ends of Empire in Spanish Cuba. By David Sartorius," The Latin Americanist 58:3 (2014): 74-76.

"Afro-Cuban Diasporas in the Atlantic World. By Solimar Otero," history.transnational 14:9 (2012).

 "Black Political Activism and the Early Cuban Republic. By Melina Pappademos," History: Reviews of New Books 40:3 (2012): 73-74.

"Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow. By Frank Andre Guridy," Essays in History (August 2011).


Web-Based Publications

"Guantánamo en EE.UU.: ¿Problema de Pedagogía?" in OnCuba's online exhibition Scanning Guantánamo: Retrato De La Base Militar Estadounidense en Cuba:



"Bandidos, Patriots or Delinquents?: Social Protest in Rural Cuba (1878-1902). By Imilcy Balboa," International Journal of Cuban Studies 7:1 (2015): 79-98. (Spanish to English)

"Police Imagination: The Construction of Drug Users and Drug Trafficking in Chile, 1900–1950. By Marcos Fernández Labbé" in Voices of Crime. (Spanish to English)

"Traveling Criminals and Transnational Police Cooperation in South America, 1890–1920," by Diego Galeano in Voices of Crime. (From Spanish and Portuguese to English)

"The Chilean-Irishman Bernardo O'Higgins and the Independence of Peru," by Scarlett O'Phelan Godoy, conference proceeding, Cambridge, UK, 2010. (Spanish to English)

My current project is a new book manuscript, tentatively titled Malthusian Practices: A History of Pregnancy, Abortion, and Infanticide in Cuba. In that study, I explore how fertility control, including abortion, infanticide, and infant abandonment, was criminalized over the span of three centuries in Cuba. Within this context, I examine the evolving ways legal theorists, medical practitioners, and philanthropists attempted to regulate women's reproductive potential, often in ways specific to their race and legal status. I argue that the racially-specific treatment of unwanted pregnancy reinforced the subordination of poor women of color within patriarchal family structures, while permitting expanded public roles for white women.

The book begins in the early eighteenth century, when colonial officials established the island's first foundling asylum to care for abandoned infants. I draw on that asylum's institutional records to examine the increasing exclusion of women of African descent from maternal and infant services during the first half of the nineteenth century. Next, I examine medical curriculum and obstetric data to interrogate how medical professionalization impacted pregnancy outcomes in race- and class-specific ways in the late nineteenth century. Then, I discuss the rise of eugenic abortion and sterilization in the early twentieth century. Moving to the early years of the Cuban Revolution, I analyze over three hundred criminal abortion cases, mainly involving poor women of color. During that period, a pro-natalist state intensified its policing of women's reproduction as men and women pushed against patriarchal gender norms. The book ends with the decriminalization of abortion in 1965, as the Cuban government joined Soviet bloc countries in granting women a modicum of reproductive autonomy. Overall, this project demonstrates how the regulation of women's reproduction served as a persisting pillar of racial hierarchy, even during moments of revolutionary social change. This project is funded by a post-doctoral research fellowship from Tulane University's Newcomb College Institute.


Last updated 11/6/2020 3:22 AM