Paula S. De Vos

Paula De Vos

Office: AL 534
Phone: (619) 594-4893
Email: [email protected]
Curriculum vitae


Ph.D. History, University of California, Berkely (2001)

M.A. History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1994)

B.A. History and Biology, Kalamazoo College (1990)

Paula S. De Vos teaches Pre-Contact and Colonial Latin American history, Mexican history, World History, and a variety of graduate and undergraduate methodology courses. Her research interests lie in both colonial Mexico and early modern history of science and medicine. Her current book project, which has received fellowship support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Institutes of Health, and an SDSU sabbatical, concerns the history of pharmacy, chemistry, natural history, and medicine in colonial Mexico and is based on her dissertation, “The Art of Pharmacy in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Mexico.”  She has published several articles on the relationship of science and politics in the Spanish Empire in venues that include the Journal of World History, Colonial Latin American Review, Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies.  More recent articles include a study of the development of pharmacology from ancient Greece to nineteenth-century Spain in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology and an article for Isis on the Arabic origins of the western pharmaceutical tradition.  Professor De Vos is also co-editor of Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires (Stanford, 2009).


Compound Remedies: Galenic Pharmacy from the Ancient Mediterranean to New Spain (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020)

Edited Volume

Bleichmar, Daniela, Paula De Vos, Kristin Huffine, and Kevin Sheehan, eds. Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800. 1800. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008)

Journal Articles  

“The Past and Future of Early Modern Pharmacy History” Pharmacy in History, Volume 61, Numbers 304, 2019, pp. 154-159.

“Rosewater and Philosophers’ Oil: Thermo-Chemical Processing in Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Pharmacy” Centaurus, Volume 60, Issue 3, 2018, pp. 159-172.

“Methodological Challenges in Compiling the Nahua Pharmacopoeia” History of Science, Volume 55, Issue 2, 2017, pp. 210-233.

“Apothecaries, Artists, and Artisans: Early Industrial Material Culture in the Biological Old Regime,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Volume 45, Issue 3, Winter 2015, pp. 277-336.

“‘The ‘Prince of Medicine’: Yuhanna ibn Masawaih and the Foundations of the Western Pharmaceutical Tradition” Isis, Volume 104, Number 4, December 2013, pp. 667-712.

“European Materia Medica in Historical Texts: Longevity of a Tradition and Implications for Future Use,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 132, Issue 1, 28 October 2010, pp. 28-47.

“From Herbs to Alchemy: Medical Theory and Pharmaceutical Practice in Seventeenth-Century Mexico,” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, July 2007, pp. 135-167.

“Natural History and the Pursuit of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Spain” Eighteenth-Century Studies, Volume 40, Issue 2, January 2007, pp. 209-239.

“The Science of Spices: Empiricism and Economic Botany in the Early Spanish Empire,” Journal of World History, Volume 17, Issue 4, December 2006, pp. 399-427.

“Research, Development, and Empire: State Support of Science in the Later Spanish Empire,” Colonial Latin American Review, Volume 15, Issue 1, June 2006, pp. 55-79.

“A Taste for Spices: Spanish Efforts at Spice Production in the Philippines,” Mains’l Haul: A Journal of Pacific Maritime History, Volume 41, Issue 4 and Volume 42, Issue 1, Fall2005/Winter 2006, pp. 33-42.

“The Apothecary in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Mexico: Historiography and Case Studies in Medical Regulation, Charity, and Science,” Colonial Latin American Historical Review, Volume 13, Number 3, Summer 2004, pp. 249-285.

Book Chapters

“Medicine and Municipal Rights in Viceregal Mexico City,” in John López and Luis Pelaez, eds. A Companion to Viceregal Mexico City. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2021), pp. 282-300.

“Pharmacopoeias and the Textual Tradition in Galenic Pharmacy” in Joseph Gabriel and Matthew Crawford, eds. Drugs on the Page: Pharmacopoeias in the Early Modern Atlantic World. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), 21-43.

“The Rare, the Singular, and the Extraordinary: Natural History and the Collection of Curiosities in the Spanish Empire” in Daniela Bleichmar, Paula De Vos, Kristin Huffine, and Kevin Sheehan, eds. Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), pp. 271-289.