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Edward Anthony Polanco

Edward Polanco, Assistant Professor

Edward Polanco, Assistant Professor
Edward Polanco, Assistant Professor

Department of History
220 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Edward Polanco is an assistant professor of history at Virginia Tech. His current research consists of a book manuscript titled Healers, Defenders, and Uplifters: Gender, Religion, and Curing in Central Mexico; 1535-1660. This project examines 16th and 17th-century Nahua (an indigenous group of Mexico) healing ritual specialists in Central Mexico. Dr. Polanco carefully analyzes the different ritual tasks women and men had in their communities, and how Spanish authorities dealt with indigenous practitioners as they attempted to convert indigenous populations in New Spain. Polanco has published on indigenous healing knowledge, and gendered understandings of the human body. For further information, please visit Professor Polanco's personal website.

Polanco’s teaching interests include Latin America, indigenous empires, sorcery, race, gender, and class. He has introduced various new courses to Virginia Tech that challenge students to think about the past in complex ways.

  • Ethnohistory
  • Colonial Mexico
  • Latin America
  • Colonialism
  • Native History
  • PhD in History with a minor in Anthropology, The University of Arizona
  • MA in History, University of California, Riverside
  • BA in History, University of California, Riverside
  • Department of History Diversity Committee
  • Department of History Undergraduate Committee
  • Dr. Maria Teresa Velez Diversity Leadership Scholarship, The University of Arizona


Journal Articles

Polanco, Edward. “Tiçiyotl and Titiçih: Late Postclassic and Early Colonial Nahua Healing, Diagnosis, and Prognosis.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Oxford University Press. Article published October 2019. doi:  

Polanco, Edward Anthony. "“I Am Just a Tiçitl”: Decolonizing Central Mexican Nahua Female Healers, 1535–1635." Ethnohistory 65, no. 3 (2018): 441-463.doi:

Polanco, Edward Anthony. “‘The Chamber of Your Virginity does not have a Price’: The Scientific Construction of the Hymen as an Indicator of Sexual Initiation in Eighteenth-Century Spain.” Footnotes: A Journal of History 1, 2017: 67-88.

  • International Initiative Small Grant, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, 2018 & 2019
  • International Travel Grant for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, 2019
  • Fulbright-García Robles Research Grant for Mexico (2015-16)
  • “Making Medicine out of Tiçiyotl”, Medical Humanities Research Group – University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, November 29, 2018
  • I teach Latin American history, indigenous history, and Historical Methods.
Dr. Polanco invites all students interested in working on Latin America, Colonialism, or Native History to contact him.

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