Charlene Villaseñor Black


Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1995
Phone 310-267-4816
Office Dodd Hall 200D
On leave during academic year 2021-22.


Charlene Villaseñor Black is Professor of Art History and Chicana/o Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, Associate Director of the Chicano Studies Research Center, editor of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and founding editor-in-chief of Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture (UC Press). Her research focuses on the art of the early modern Ibero-American world as well as contemporary Chicanx visual culture. Winner of the 2016 Gold Shield Faculty Prize and author of the prize-winning and widely-reviewed 2006 book, Creating the Cult of St. Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire, she is finishing her second monograph, Transforming Saints, from Spain to New Spain, under contract with Vanderbilt University Press. Professor Villaseñor Black publishes on a range of topics related to the early modern Iberian world, Chicanx studies, and contemporary Latinx art. Her most recent books include, with Dr. Mari-Tere Álvarez of the Getty Museum, Renaissance Futurities: Art, Science, Invention (UC Press, 2019); the new Chicano Studies Reader (2020); Knowledge for Justice: An Ethnic Studies Reader (2019); and Shifra M. Goldman’s final book, Tradition and Transformation: Chicana/o Art from the 1970s to the 1990s (2015). Several more titles in Art History and Chicanx studies are forthcoming, among them Autobiography without Apology: The Personal Essay in Latino Studies (2020); and Antonio Bernal: Witness to the Chicano Movement (2021). She has held grants from the Fulbright, Mellon, Borchard, Terra, and Woodrow Wilson Foundations, the NEH, the ACLS, and the Getty. Most recently, she is PI of “Critical Mission Studies at California’s Crossroads,” a $1.03 million dollar grant from the University of California’s Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives. Her upbringing as a working class, Catholic Chicana/o from Arizona forged her identity as a border-crossing early modernist and inspirational teacher.



  • Co-editor and author with Chon Noriega et al., The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlán, vol. 4, “VI. Generations against Exclusion,” “Introduction,” (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2020), 565-68 (Introduction), 563-684 (part VI).
  • Co-editor with David Yoo, et al., Knowledge for Justice: An Ethnic Studies Reader (UCLA American Indian Studies Center Publications, Asian American Studies Center Press, Chicano Studies Research Center Press, and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, 2019).
  • Co-editor and author with Mari-Tere Álvarez, Renaissance Futurities: Science, Art, Invention; co-author of Introduction, “The Future Is Now: Reflections on Art, Science, Futurity,” 1-8 (UC Press, 2019).
  • Editor and author of Preface and Introduction; Shifra M. Goldman, Tradition and Transformation: Chicana/o Art from the 1970s to the 1990, Chicano Studies Research Center/University of Washington Press, February 2015.
  • Co-editor and co-author of Introduction with Maite Álvarez, Trade Networks and Materiality: Art in the Age of Global Encounters, 1492-1800, special edition, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, February 2015.
  • Editor of Dossier, Teaching Chicana/o and Latina/o Art History in the Twenty-first Century; author, “Introduction: Teaching Chicana/o and Latina/o Art History in the Twenty-first Century: P’adelante, P’atrás;” co-author with Alicia Gaspar de Alba, “Protest and Praxis in the Arts;” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, February 2015.
  • Creating the Cult of St. Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire, Princeton University Press, 2006.
  • “The Iridescent Enconchado,” Iberian Empires and the Roots of Globalization, eds. Ivonne del Valle, Anna More, Rachel O’Toole (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2019), 233-69.
  • “The Half-Life of Blue,” in Renaissance Futurities: Science, Art, Invention (UC Press, 2019), 118-129.
  • Co-author with Mari-Tere Álvarez, “Tortoiseshell and the Edge of Empire: Artistic Materials, Imperial Politics, and Global Domination,” in Stacey Sloboda and Michael Yonan, eds., Eighteenth-Century Art Worlds: Local and Global Geographies of Art (Bloomsbury, 2019), 133-152.
  • The Virgin of Guadalupe as Iconic Image in Mexican Culture,” The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History (Oxford University Press, 2018), print and online.
  • “Miguel Cabrera’s Portrait of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and the Dangers of Intellectual Desire,” Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: The Collected Works, trans. Edith Grossmann; ed. Anna More (Norton Critical Edition, June 2016), 213-230.
  • “Sor Juana as Feminist Icon in Contemporary Mexican and Chicana/o Art,” Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: The Collected Works, trans. Edith Grossmann; ed. Anna More (Norton Critical Edition, June 2016), 292-303.
  • “Race and the Historiography of Colonial Art,” Envisioning Others:  Race, Color, and the Visual in Iberia and Latin America, ed. Pamela A. Patton (Brill, 2015), 303-322.
  • “Gender and Representation in the Early Modern Hispanic World, 16th-18th Centuries,” Mapping Gendered Routes and Spaces in the Early Modern World, ed. Merry Wiesner-Hanks (Ashgate, 2015), 75-97.
  • Co-author with Maite Álvarez, “Diego Rivera’s California Miners Sketchbook (1931): New Research on the Artist in California during the Great Depression,” Getty Research Journal, February 2015.
  • “Paintings of the Education of the Virgin Mary and the Lives of Girls in Early Modern Spain,” The Formation of the Child in Early Modern Spain, ed. Grace Coolidge (Ashgate, 2014), 93-119.
  • “Inquisitorial Practices Past and Present: Artistic Censorship, the Virgin Mary, and St. Anne,” in Virginia Raguin, ed., Art, Piety, and Destruction in the Christian West, 1500-1700 (Ashgate, 2010), 173-200.
  • “Pacheco, Velázquez, and the Legacy of Leonardo in Spain,” Claire Farago ed., The Historical Reception of Leonardo da Vinci’s Treatise on Painting: Art as Institution, (Ashgate, 2009), 412-431.
  • “Love and Marriage in the Spanish Empire: Depictions of Holy Matrimony and Gender Discourses in the Seventeenth Century,” The Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies, XXXII, 2001, 637-667.
  • “Sacred Cults, Subversive Icons: Chicanas and the Pictorial Language of Catholicism,” in D. Leticia Galindo and María Dolores Gonzales, eds., Speaking Chicana: Voice, Power, and Identity (University of Arizona Press, 1999), 134-174.



  • Art of Early Modern Spain
  • Colonial Latin American Art and Architecture
  • Baroque Art and Architecture
  • Mexico in the Modern Age
  • Chicana/o Art



  • Hemispheric Approaches to Latin American and Latinx Art
  • New Directions in Chicanx and Latinx Art
  • Theories and Practices of the Global Hispanic Baroque
  • Trade Networks and Materiality: Art in the Age of Global Encounters (co-taught with Dr. Maite Alvarez, Getty)
  • New Approaches to Religious Art in Spain and the Americas
  • Art and Activism in Latin America
  • Protest and Praxis in Mexican and Chicana/o Art (co-taught with Prof. Alicia Gaspar de Alba, UCLA)



  • Distinguished Scholar, Young Scholar Symposium, Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame, Spring 2020 (deferred due to Covid-19).
  • University of California Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives, “Critical Mission Studies at California’s Crossroads,” PI with Co-PIs Jennifer Hughes (UCR), Renya Ramirez (UCSC), and Ross Frank (UCSD), $1.03 million, 2019-2021.
  • Terra Foundation for American Art Grant for Academic Symposium/Workshop, “‘American’ Art and the Legacy of Conquest: Art at California’s Missions in the Global 18th-20th Centuries,” Fall 2019, UCLA, $25,000.
  • Excellence in Diversity Award, College Art Association, awarded to UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center (serving as Associate Director), 2019.
  • Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation, International Education Center Colloquium Grant, Chateau de la Bretesche, Missilac, France, Summer 2017 (“Renaissance Futurities: Science, Art Invention”), $75,000.