Professor David Stark

David Stark, D-1-216 MAK, (616) 331-3174, starkd@gvsu.edu

Professor of History, Coordinator for the Latin American Studies Program.

Fields: Early Latin America, Spanish Caribbean, and Slavery

Degrees: BA, MA, Ph.D., Indiana University

As a historian of colonial Latin America, I am particularly interested in enslaved populations of the Spanish Caribbean. My work focuses on the demography and family life of slaves in eighteenth-century Puerto Rico and draws upon parish baptismal, marriage, and death registers. I am currently working on a study of death and dying in eighteenth-century Puerto Rico.

Research Interests

Spanish Caribbean

Slave demography

Family history

Death and dying


HST 204 World Civilizations since 1500

HST 330 Early Latin America

HST 331 Modern Latin America

HST 334 The Making of the Caribbean

HST 372 From Slavery to Freedom

HST 374 Revolutions in the Americas

HST 375 History of Mexico

HST 495 Cuban Revolution

HST 495 History of Slavery

HST 495 The Caribbean in an International Context

Select Publications

“A Professionalizing Priesthood: The Cathedral Chapter of San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1650-1700.” Catholic Historical Review. 104:3 (2018): 438-474, 2018.

Slave Families and the Hato Economy in Eighteenth-Century Puerto Rico, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2015

"Baptismal Sponsorship of Slaves in Eighteenth-Century Puerto Rico." Slavery & Abolition. 36:1 (2015): 84-110.

"Slavery and the Service Economy in 1673 San Juan." Revista de Ciencias Sociales. 23:2 (2010):  46-67. 

"Una aproximación al clero puertorriqueño del siglo XVIII: El clero y el curato de San Felipe Apóstol de Arecibo (1708-1791." Caribbean Studies. 38:1 (2010): 59-104.

"Making the Most of Their Time: Seasonality of Slave Marriage in Eighteenth-Century Puerto Rico." Colonial Latin American Review. 19:2 (2010): 323-349.

"A New Look at the African Slave Trade in Puerto Rico Through the Use of Parish Registers: 1660 to 1815." Slavery & Abolition. 30:4 (2009): 491-520.

"Parish Registers as a Window to the Past: Reconstructing the Demographic Behavior of the Enslaved Population in Eighteenth-Century Arecibo, Puerto Rico." Colonial Latin American Historical Review. 15:1 (2006): 1-30.

"There Is No City Here, but a Desert: The Contours of City Life in 1673 San Juan." The Journal of Caribbean History. 42:2 (2008): 255-289.

"Rescued from their Invisibility: The Afro-Puerto Ricans of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century San Mateo de Cangrejos, Puerto Rico." The Americas. 63:4 (2007): 551-586.

"Poder politico y vínculos socials en el Puerto Rico del siglo XVIII: La genealogía de Faustino Martínez de Matos, fundador de Mayagüez." La Revista del Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe. 21:1 (2006): 38-47.

"Aprovechándose de las oportunidades: Buscando el momento oportuno para contraer matrimonio entre la población esclava de Puerto Rico a través del siglo XVIII." Caribbean Studies. 33:1 (2005): 177-203.

"The Family Tree Is Not Cut: Marriage among Slaves in Eighteenth-Century Puerto Rico." New West Indian Guide. 76:1&2 (2002): 23-45.

"Surviving Slavery: Marriage Strategies among the Eighteenth Century Puerto Rican Slave Population." In Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, ed. by Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline McLeod,  (1999) 246-81. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

For more information, please see Professor Stark's vitae.