Arlene Díaz

Associate Professor, Department of History

Department of History

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

Professor Díaz has published articles on the history of Venezuela, the Spanish Caribbean, and Brazil. Her book, Female Citizens, Patriarchs, and the Law in Venezuela, 1786-1904 was published by Nebraska University Press in 2004. She is now working on a book project, entitled “Espionage, Media Manipulation, and the Forging of the US Empire: A Backstage History of the Spanish-Cuban-American War,” which is under contract with University of North Carolina Press. This research weaves together the disparate and complex interactions between knowledge, representation, and empire at the moment they came together in the United States. The book project is significant in its use and analysis of a large quantity of untapped reports from secret agents—effectively a spy archive—and in its use of digital humanities methods to uncover key narratives, issues, and information that have not yet received the attention they warrant in histories of the Spanish-Cuban-American War. In addition to her publications in history, she has co-authored articles in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Honors and Awards

  • Ford Foundation Senior Fellowship, 2021-22.
  • IUB, IU Presidential Arts and Humanities Research, Creative Activity, and Scholarship of Teaching Grant, 2021-22.
  • IUB, Inclusive Excellence Award, Bloomington Faculty Council Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, 2021.
  • IUB, Trustees Teaching Award, 2021.
  • Massachusetts Historical Society Short-Term Fellowship, 2020.
  • IUB, Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities (IDAH), Faculty Fellowship, 2017.
  • IUB College of Arts and Sciences, College Arts and Humanities Institute (CAHI) Fellow in Residence, 2017.

Research Interests

  • Spanish-Cuban-American War
  • Empire
  • Coloniality
  • Race and Gender in Latin America
  • Slavery
  • Caribbean History
  • Digital Humanities
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


  • B.A. at Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, 1987
  • M.A. at University of Minnesota, 1997
  • Ph.D. at University of Minnesota, 1997

Courses Taught


  • Caribbean History
  • Gender in Latin American History
  • Decolonizing Academia?
  • Teaching College History


  • Latin American Culture and Civilization I
  • History of Cuba and Puerto Rico
  • US Imperialism and the Spanish Caribbean
  • Microhistories of the Spanish Caribbean
  • Gender in Latin American History
  • Slavery in the Americas



  • Female Citizens, Patriarchs, and the Law in Caracas, Venezuela, 1786-1904. Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press, 2004.

Manuscript in Progress

  • "Espionage, Media Manipulation, and the Forging of the US Empire: A Backstage History of the Spanish-Cuban-American War," (Under contract with University of North Carolina Press).

Article under Review

  • "A Diachronic Conversation with 19th Century War Correspondents and 21st Century Historians: Digital History, Archival Deep-Dives, and US Imperialism in Cuba's Second War of Independence." Co-Authors: Kalani Craig and David Kloster.

Published Articles

  • “Lo invisible en la guerra hispano-cubano-americana” in Laura Muñoz, José Abreu and Maria del Rosario Rodríguez (eds.), Guerras irregulares en el Caribe. Mexico City: Instituto Mora and Universidad Michoacana, 2019.

  • “Visualidad y modernidad: José Martí en la ciudad de Nueva York, 1880–1887.” In Un pueblo disperso: Dimensiones sociales y culturales de la diáspora cubana, edited by Jorge Duany. Valencia: Editorial Aduana Vieja, 2014.

  • “Vicenta Ochoa, Dead Many Times: Gender, Politics, and a Death Sentence in Early Republican Caracas, Venezuela.” In Gender and Sexuality in Latin America, 1760-Present, edited by Katherine Bliss and William French. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.
  • “Women, Order, and Progress in Guzmán Blanco’s Venezuela, 1870-1888.”  In Crime, and Punishment in Latin America: Law and Society since Colonial Times, edited by Ricardo D. Salvatore, Carlos Aguirre and Gilbert Joseph, 56-82. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.
  • “Gender Conflicts in the Courts of the Early Venezuelan Republic, Caracas, 1811-1840” Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies 2, no. 2 (1998): 35-53.
  • “'Necesidad hizo parir mulatas': liberalismo, nacionalidad e ideas sobre las mujeres en la Cuba del siglo XIX.” In Familia, género y mentalidades en América Latina, edited by Pilar Gonzalbo, 199-226. Río Piedras: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1997.
  • “Occupational Class and Female-Headed Households in Santiago Maior do Iguape, Brazil, 1835,” Journal of Family History 16, no.3 (Fall, 1991): 299-313. Co-author: Jeff Stewart.