The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Stephanie Cavanaugh (Graduated Fall 2016)

PhD Program


Major and Minor Fields:

Major Field: Early Modern Europe, 1400-1600
Minor Fields: Colonial Latin America; Indigenous Histories in North America


Mark Meyerson (with Natalie Rothman and Ken Mills)

Dissertation Title:

“The Morisco Problem and the politics of belonging in sixteenth-century Valladolid”

Description of Dissertation and Research Interests:

My dissertation is about the legal agency of Moriscos in the Castilian city of Valladolid. Moriscos were Spanish Muslims forcibly converted to Catholicism in 1502, as well as their descendants, who were eventually expelled from Spain between 1609 and 1614. The “Morisco problem” — a contemporary concept and historiographical commonplace — was the failure of the Spanish state and Church to assimilate this group into Catholic society. I analyze how the Crown, the Church, and the courts identified and managed these populations, both local Moriscos and those deported to Castile from the Kingdom of Granada after 1570. My critical intervention in this historiography is to focus on the agency of the textual artifacts Moriscos generated through various forms of petitioning, negotiation, and litigation. This methodological and analytical shift allows me to challenge the traditional narrative of the marginalization of the Moriscos: for all the prosecution and prohibitions they faced as suspected heretics and dissidents, these documents tell a tale of significant economic industry, civic integration, and legal agency.

Major Awards and Scholarships:

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2015-2016; 2013-2014)
  • SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholarship (2008-2011)
  • SSHRC CGS Master’s Scholarship (2007-2008)


  • “Untying the Knot.” Review of A History of Marriage, by Elizabeth Abbott (2010). Literary Review of Canada Online, Published June 1, 2010.
  • Review of Un Oriente español. Los moriscos y el Sacromonte en tiempos de Contrarreforma, by Mercedes Garcia-Arenal & Fernando Rodriguez Mediano (2010). Mélanges de la Casa de Vélazquez, Nouvelle série, 44 (1), 2014, online, xxi-xxiii. Published Spring 2014.


  • BA (Honours), History and English with Spanish minor, University of New Brunswick, 2006
  • MA, History, University of Toronto, 2008