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Mark A. Burkholder, Ph.D.
Curators' Professor
Curriculum Vitae

Mark Burkholder grew up in Boise, Idaho. He received a B.A. from Muskingum College, a liberal arts college in Ohio, and then moved to the University of Oregon for graduate study in History. As a M.A. candidate, he was able to spend a summer in the archives of Spain collecting material for a thesis. Working primarily in the General Archives of the Indies in Seville, he quickly discovered the pleasure of engaging in the detective work known as historical research. Enjoying life in Spain as well, he committed to the study of Spain and colonial Spanish America, completed a M.A. in History at Oregon and moved to Duke University where, following the usual coursework and exams and seven more months in the Spanish archives, he received a Ph.D. in History. Burkholder joined the Department of History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1970 as a specialist in Colonial Latin American History. Since that time he has taught a variety of courses, but his mainstays are undergraduate and graduate courses on Spanish American History from Columbus to Independence and Spain from Ferdinand and Isabella to the loss of the American mainland colonies. He became  Professor of History in 1981 and a Curators’ Professor in 2013.

Burkholder has worked in archives of Peru and Chile and repeatedly in national, regional, and university archives of Spain. His principal research focus is the ministers of the high courts (audiencias and chancelleries) of Spain and its American colonies from 1660 to 1833. His best known books about these ministers are From Impotence to Authority: The Spanish Crown and the American Audiencias, 1687-1808 (University of Missouri Press, 1977; Spanish edition, 1984; co-author, D.S. Chandler of Miami University of Ohio), and the award-winning Politics of a Colonial Career: José Baquíjano and the Audiencia of Lima (University of New Mexico Press, 1981; paperback edition by Scholarly Resources, 1989). He has also published biographical dictionaries about the ministers on the American courts (with D.S. Chandler) and the councilors of the Indies in the eighteenth century. Burkholder’s most recent book is Spaniards in the Colonial Empire:  Creoles vs. Peninsulars? (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). 

Students across the United States and Canada know Burkholder best for Colonial Latin America (Oxford University Press, first edition 1990; eighth edition 2012) a widely used, award-winning textbook he co-authors with Professor Emeritus Lyman L. Johnson of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. In addition to his teaching and research as an historian, Burkholder has held a number of administrative positions. These include serving as Chair of the Department of History, Assistant and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UM-St. Louis, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of Missouri System and, from 2001 to 2008, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UM-St. Louis

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