Professor Premo is a Latin American historian whose interests encompass law, childhood, gender, and, most recently, medicine. Her book The Enlightenment on Trial (Oxford, 2017) reveals how ordinary, often unlettered litigants made law modern in the courtrooms of vast regions of the 18th-century Spanish empire. Her first book, Children of the Father King (UNC, 2005), explores how children in Lima, Peru were socialized into colonial hierarchies and how adults viewed and practiced their roles as authority figures over them in a legal culture that favored elite fathers and distant kings. She also co-edited Raising an Empire (New Mexico, 2007) a volume of historical scholarship about children and childhood in early modern Iberia and colonial Latin America. She has authored over a dozen articles and multiple book chapters on colonial Peru and Mexico, and early modern Spain in the fields of legal studies, Indigenous history, gender studies and the history of enslavement. She is currently expanding her research on childhood, particularly girls, into the twentieth century, with the support of a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Professor Premo enjoys learning about Latin America's dynamic past alongside undergraduates in large introductory courses, as well as offering specialized upper-level courses about the region on themes such childhood and youth, and the history of women. At the graduate level, she also shares expertise on the law and the rise of “modernity” in the Atlantic world, and she loves to create courses from time to time to match student interest, such as on nature and knowledge. These days, one of her favorite courses is a seminar about how we think about and teach Latin American History in the US.