Dr. Christoph RosenmüllerDr. Christoph Rosenmuller


E-mail: christoph.rosenmuller@mtsu.edu
Phone: (615) 898-2638
Office Location and Mailing Address: Peck Hall, Room 277
MTSU Box 23
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Link to Personal Website: christophrosenmuller.wordpress.com

FIELDS: Latin American, U.S., World History

BIOGRAPHY: I am a historian of Latin America with an emphasis on colonial Mexico within the Atlantic World. I am currently conducting research in seven languages on colonial corruption. Corruption is clearly an important challenge for most of the world, and so it is for Latin America. Less is known about early modern practices. Much of what is now illegal was not considered as such, yet in some ways early modern and current notions overlap. Bribing judges to change a sentencing was overwhelmingly seen as illegal, just as today. Traditional social groups also argued that "men...shamed by their blood," that is, those folks who did not come from old families and had mixed with people of non-Spanish descent, were corrupt. This argument sought to exclude upwardly mobile groups from jobs and resources. Corruption was therefore a struggle over the sovereignty of interpreting legitimacy. Only a detailed approach can unearth the fine lines between illicit conduct and legitimate "wine flagoning," that is giving gifts as part of a family or friendship obligation.

The Spanish Empire could only function and reform by allying with local social groups. Corruption was therefore not only a top-down modernizing discourse of princes to gain more control, but also an initiative "from below." Some social groups in Mexico sought to gain by changing the political landscape. I am writing an Atlantic history of corruption by pulling together various perspectives that are perhaps too often treated as discreet: the views of diverse ethnic communities and elites, as well as the imperial agenda. My previous work focused on patronage. This give and take between clients and patrons sustained the social fabric of early modern societies. In particular, I focused on the court of a Mexican viceroy called the Duke of Alburquerque (1702–1710)–who lent his name to the city in New Mexico. He steered New Spain, as colonial Mexico was known, through the rocky times of the War of Succession (1702-1713/15). At the same time he took bribes so liberally that he fell from grace. The duke paid just under 700,000 silver pesos to the king to be absolved. This unheard-of indemnity portended larger changes in the imperial framework.


  • History 1110, World Civilization I
  • History 1120, World Civilization II
  • History 2010, Survey U.S. History I
  • History 4490, Mexico and the Caribbean
  • History 4520, Modern Latin America
  • History 4480, South America
  • History 4510: Colonial Latin America


  • History 6304, Topics in Global History (Graduate Seminar on Latin America)


Patrons, Partisans, and Palace Intrigues: The Court Society of Colonial Mexico, 1702-1710. Latin American and Caribbean Series, No. 6. Christon Archer, series editor. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2008.

Peer-Reviewed Articles:
"'The Indians...long for change:' The Secularization of Regular Parishes in New Spain, 1749–1755." In Spanish America in the Early 18th Century: New Perspectives on a Forgotten Era. Edited by Ainara Vazquez, and Frank Barroso. The Hague: Brill, 2013. 143–164.

"The Power of Transatlantic Ties: A Game-Theoretical Analysis of Mexico's Social Networks, 1700–1755." Latin American Research Review. 44:2 (2009): 8–36.

"Friends, Followers, Countrymen: Viceregal Patronage in Mid-Eighteenth Century New Spain." Estudios de Historia Novohispana (Mexico City). 34 (2006): 47–72.

"Assayers and Silver Merchants: The visita of 1729/1730 and the Reform of Mexican Coinage." The American Journal of Numismatics. Second Series 16–17 (2005): 179–193.

Other Article:
"La Sociedad Cortesana y los Precursores de las Reformas Borbónicas, 1700–1755: Estudio Preliminar" (A Preliminary Study on the Court Society and the Precursors of the Bourbon Reforms, 1700–1755). XIV Congreso Internacional de AHILA, Castellón, Spain, 20–24 Septiembre 2006 (Proceedings of the XIV Congress of the Association of European Historians of Latin America). Panel 1: Los Borbones en las rocas: la construcción y el naufragio de las reformas borbónicas, edited by Manuel Chust and Ivana Frasquet Miguel, 1–8. Madrid: Fundación Mapfre, 2008.

Articles in Progress:
"'Decayed by Avarice:' Justice, Patronage, and Corruption in Atlantic New Spain, ca. 1674–1755." An article-length manuscript under review.

"'El grave delito de...corrupción.' Justicia, la visita de la audiencia de México (1715–1727), y las repercusiones internas de Utrecht ['The Serious Crime of...Corruption.' Justice, the Visita of the Audiencia of Mexico (1715-27), and the Internal Repercussions of Utrecht]." An article-length manuscript under review for a collection on the Treaty of Utrecht with the National Autonomous University, Mexico (UNAM), and the Mora Institute.


MTSU Faculty Research and Creative Activity Grants for archival research in Mexico City, Puebla, Guadalajara,
Oaxaca, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Madrid, Seville. Summers 2005–2009, 2011, 2013.

Selley Grant, for dissertation research and writing. 2002–2003.


Ph.D., Tulane University
M.A., Universität Hamburg, Germany
Study abroad at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

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