Recent Press and photos

In July 2021, I was interviewed about my research on smallpox vaccination by With Good Reason entitled Pandemics Past. Listen here:

In May 2020, I presented my recent research on vaccination in the Spanish Empire to the Immunization Services Division of the Center for Disease Control. You can watch/listen here

Gendered Crossings: Women and Migration in the Spanish Empire

Winner of the 2016 Best Book Prize from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women

“The award committee particularly appreciated how your book complicates our understandings of masculinity, femininity, honor, and sexual norms in showing how Spain tried to use families and migration to advance its imperial goals. They praised it as a careful study of many different historical subjects – women as well as men, poor and rich, and enslaved and free – that offers a powerful example of how histories of the early modern Atlantic world are enriched by weaving gender together with class, race, and European and Colonial politics.”

Allyson Poska Awarded Book Prize

Review of Gendered Crossings in the Denver Post 3/20/2016

Gendered Crossings: Women and Migration in the Spanish Empire

By Allyson M. Poska (University of New Mexico)

From the academic title, you might think this is a book for scholars. Not so. “Gendered Crossings” is an absorbing story about women who were recruited to colonize Patagonia in the 1770s.

Spain wanted young families and fecund women who would populate the new world. The volunteers — nearly 2,000 in all — were shipped to Patagonia, where they found inadequate water and soil so bad that they couldn’t grow crops. Most of them left Patagonia for land near Buenos Aires. Life was hard even there as promised supplies lagged, and the settlers had to contend with Indians and disease.

Virtually all of them stayed, however, and became part of colonial society. While most remained peasants, a few became wealthy enough to purchase slaves.

This heavily researched book gives details about the women who made the crossing, about the roles they played and their family and sex lives. Although promiscuity was hardly unknown among the Spanish, most young girls were married off as young as 13 for their protection from sexual predators. Their husbands generally were 10 years older.

Author Allyson M. Poska’s figures about the deaths of children, wives and husbands tell better than any narrative of how heartbreaking life in the new world could be.

From the University of Mary Washington Magazine


Giving the SSEMW plenary in San Juan, Puerto Rico  2013

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Giving the plenary at the Qualicum Graduate History Conference  Parksville, British Columbia, January 2014

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