Dr. John F. Chuchiak



Role: Faculty
Campus: Springfield

Postal mail

Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897


Dr. John F. Chuchiak is a specialist on colonial Latin American history with a research emphasis on the history of Mexico and Maya ethnohistory. He teaches a variety of history courses, ranging from introductory courses on Western and world civilizations, upper level undergraduate courses on Latin American civilization and pre-Columbian cultures, and graduate courses on the history of Mexico, Mesoamerican ethnohistory, and the history of the Inquisition in Spain and the New World.

Dr. Chuchiak's general research focuses on the history of the colonial church in México with a special emphasis on the Franciscan Missions, the Inquisition and the Catholic Church in colonial Yucatán. His most recent publications have examined the contact and colonial transformation of the indigenous cultures of México, most notably the Maya of Yucatan. He is especially interested in researching the realms of Christian mission history, religion, ethnic conflict, gender and social change in the wider Atlantic world.



  • PhD, Latin American Studies/Latin American History, 2000, Tulane University
  • MA, Latin American Studies/Latin American History, 1994, Tulane University
  • BA, History/Chemistry, Cum Laude, 1992, Virginia Polytechnic and State University


  • HST 350: Latin American Civilization
  • HST 383: A Global History of the Inquisition, 1478-1834
  • HST 397: History of Piracy in the Americas, 1492-1820
  • HST 598: Senior Seminar: Comparative Colonialism - European Empires in the Americas, 1492-1800
  • HST 760: Proseminar in Latin American History
  • HST 792: Graduate Primary Source Proseminar
  • UHC 410: Honors Seminar on Mesoamerican Ethnohistory
  • UHC 410: Honors Seminar on Spanish Conquest & Colonization

Professional experience

Selected Publications


Research and professional interests

My credentials, numerous international awards, and research affiliations all testify to my international reputation as a leading Global scholar of both Maya Culture and the history of the Mexican Inquisition, as well as my status as a recognized scholar in general of the history of Spanish Conquest & Colonization and its impact on Mesoamerica’s indigenous peoples.

My scholarship focuses on understanding mechanisms of both religious repression and cultural resistance to European colonization by the New World’s Indigenous Peoples. This task requires intensive archival research in dozens of international archives in Mexico, Spain, Germany, and the U.S.

I have become recently more active in the field of digital humanities, including topics on the use of VR Technology for historical simulations.

Selected topics I am currently researching in this new field include:
• The Potentials of Digital Simulations in the field of History
• Strategies for the Creation of Digital Projects for the Humanities
• Using historical simulations and games in intensive research undergraduate courses
• Mentoring Active Undergraduate Research
• Creation of research tools in the digital humanities.

Awards and honors

  • Nominated for induction as a Corresponding Member in the prestigious Guatemalan Society for Geography and History, 2017
  • University Foundation Award for Teaching, Missouri State University, 2015 
  • International collaborator in GERM (Groupe d’enseignement et de recherche sur les Mayas et la Mésoamérique), Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, France, 2013
  • Recipient of an prestigious International Research Recognition (Homenaje) for research contributions to the study of Maya culture from the Universidad Autónoma de Campeche in cooperation with the National Council of the Culture and Arts (CONACULTA) and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico, 2013
  • Selected as International member of the Research and Scientific Committee for the annual organization of the Mesa Redonda del Mayab academic meetings as part of the International Festival of Maya Culture (FICMAYA), selected by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the Ministry of Culture in the Mexican State of Yucatán, and the National Ministry of Culture of Mexico, 2014-Present
  • University Foundation Award for Research, Missouri State University. 2010
  • Student Government Association (SGA) Commendation for Excellent Service on the Organization and Implementation of Hispanic Heritage Month, 2008
  • Rich & Doris Young Honors College Endowed Professorship, Missouri State University, 2007
  • College of Humanities and Public Affairs Service Award, Missouri State University, 2005
  • College of Humanities and Public Affairs Grant Writing Award, Missouri State University, 2005
  • University Faculty Summer Fellowship Award, Missouri State University, 2005
  • College of Humanities and Public Affairs Research Award, Missouri State University, 2004
  • College of Humanities and Public Affairs Teaching Award, Missouri State University, 2003