Christina Ramos specializes in the history of medicine, especially early modern medicine, with a geographical focus on Latin America.
She is especially interested in the complex intermingling of medical, religious, and indigenous cultures; the history of colonial hospitals and the provisioning of public health; the Inquisition as an archive for medical history; and the daily experience and treatment of sickness and disease.
Her first book, Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment, is forthcoming with UNC Press. A new history of madness during the eighteenth century, this book foregrounds the case of the Hospital de San Hipólito in Mexico City, the first hospital of the Americas to specialize in the care and custody of the mentally disturbed, and its growing alignment with the Inquisition and secular criminal courts, from which it often received patients. Treating San Hipólito as both a microcosm and colonial laboratory of the Hispanic Enlightenment, Ramos argues that the hospital enacted and refracted a complex history of medicalization with religious personnel, including inquisitors, rather than doctors, at the pioneering forefront.
Ramos’s second book project, tentatively titled Nursing an Empire: Hospitals and Global Health in the Hispanic World, comprises a social history of public health and medical charity in the Spanish Empire with a focus on colonial hospitals and the nursing orders that administered them.
She teaches courses on the history of medicine, medicine and empire, and colonial Latin America.