Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

David S. Parker

Associate Professor
Modern Latin America


Phone: 613-533-6000, ext: 74358
Fax: 613-533-6298
Office: Watson Hall 206


Ph.D. Stanford, History, 1991
M.A. Stanford, Latin American Studies, 1986
B.A. Wesleyan, 1982


Dr. Parker's research on urban South America from 1870 to about 1950 bridges the fields of social, intellectual, and legal history. His 1998 book, The Idea of the Middle Class: White-Collar Workers and Peruvian Society, helped pioneer the once subversive, now commonplace view of class as a social and legal construct. His recently submitted book manuscript on the duel in Uruguay argues that dueling manuals provided a system of customary law that shaped the norms of nineteenth- and twentieth-century journalism and political discourse.  The book explores the tensions, but also the points of convergence, between these parallel "laws of honor" and Uruguay's Criminal Code. Dr. Parker has also written about housing and public health reformers, striking textile workers, social climbers, and urban South Americans’ complex dialogue with Europe.


Survey:  HIST 286: Latin America 1850-Today: the Modern Era.

Undergraduate Seminars:

HIST 315: Modern Latin American History: Sources and Debates.
HIST 353: Revolutions and Civil Wars in 20th Century Latin America.  2018 winner of the Principal's Teaching Award for Promoting Student Inquiry.

Combined Undergraduate/M.A. Seminars:

HIST 461/866: Race and Ethnicity in Latin America.
HIST 462/867: Social History of Modernizing Latin America, 1850-1950.
HIST 463/888: Liberalism, Authoritarianism and Citizenship in Latin America.

HIST 912: Graduate Directed Reading (topics by mutual agreement).

Principal fields for graduate supervision: C19-C20 Urban South America (Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina), middle class, urban social policy, labour, race, law and justice.

Major Publications


With Louise E. Walker, Latin America's Middle Class: Unsettled Debates and New Histories.  Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2013.  Edited Anthology.

The Idea of the Middle Class: White-Collar Workers and Peruvian Society, 1900-1950.  University Park: Penn State University Press, 1998.

In peer review for MQUP:  "The Pen, the Sword, and the Law: Dueling and Democracy in Uruguay, 1860-1992."

Articles and Book Chapters

“Asymmetric Globality and South American Narratives of Bourgeois Failure.”  In Christof Dejung, David Motadel, and Jürgen Osterhammel, eds., The Global Bourgeoisie: The Rise of the Middle Classes in the Age of Empire.  Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2019. 275-294.

“Honor Ideology, Dueling Culture, and Judicial Lies in 1920s Uruguay.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. August 2016.  (2,000-word article in peer-reviewed online publishing platform from Oxford University Press).

The All-Meaning Middle and the Alchemy of Class.” EIAL: Estudios Interdiscipinarios de América Latina y el Caribe, 25 no. 2 (December 2014). 13-29.

“Siúticos, huachafos, cursis, arribistas and gente de medio pelo:  Social Climbers and the Representation of Class in Chile and Peru, 1860-1930.” In A. Ricardo López and Barbara Weinstein, editors, The Making of the Middle Class: Toward a Transnational History.  Durham:  Duke University Press, 2012.  335-354.

“Gentlemanly Responsibility and Insults of a Woman: Dueling and the Unwritten Rules of Public Life in Uruguay, 1860-1920.” In Katherine Bliss and William French, editors, Gender, Sexuality, and Power in Latin America Since Independence. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006. 109-132.

“Middle-Class Mobilization and the Language of Orders in Urban Latin America: From Caste to Category in Early Twentieth-Century Lima.” Journal of Urban History, 31 no. 3 (March 2005). 367-381.

“Los pobres de la clase media: estilo de vida, consumo, e identidad en una ciudad tradicional.”  In Aldo Panfichi H. and Felipe Portocarrero S., editors, Mundos interiores: Lima 1850-1950.  Lima: Centro de Investigación de la Universidad del Pací¬fico, 2004.  First edition 1995.

"Law, Honor, and Impunity in Spanish America: The Debate over Dueling, 1870-1920.” Law and History Review, 19 no. 2 (Summer 2001). 311-341.

“La ley penal y las ‘leyes caballerescas’: hacia el duelo legal en el Uruguay, 1880-1920.” Anuario IEHS 14 (1999). 295-311.

“Civilizing the City of Kings: Hygiene and Housing in Lima.” In Ronn F. Pineo and James A. Baer, editors, Cities of Hope: People, Protests, and Progress in Urbanizing Latin America, 1870-1930.  Boulder: Westview Press, 1998. 153-178.

“Peruvian Politics and the Eight-Hour Day: Rethinking the 1919 General Strike.” Canadian Journal of History 30 no. 3 (December 1995). 417-438.

“White-Collar Lima, 1910-1929: Commercial Employees and the Rise of the Peruvian Middle Class.” Hispanic American Historical Review, 72 no. 1 (February 1992).  47-72.  [Winner of the James Alexander Robertson Memorial Prize from the Conference on Latin American History].

Reprinted or in Translation

“Movilizacion de clase media y el lenguaje de estamentos: de ‘casta’ a ‘categoría’ en la Lima de principios del siglo XX.” In Sergio Visacovsky and Enrique Garguin, editors, Moralidades, economias e identidades de clase media: estudios historicos y etnograficos.  Buenos Aires: Antropofagia, 2009.

Excerpts from The Idea of the Middle Class, reprinted with editors’ introduction and study questions, as chapter 7 of Erik K. Ching, Christina Buckley, and Angélica Lozano-Alonso, editors, Reframing Latin America: A Cultural Reading of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007. 109-116.

Chapter 6 of The Idea of the Middle Class, reprinted as “Laws Against a ‘Working’ Middle Class in Peru,” in Vincent C. Peloso, editor, Work, Protest, and Identity in Twentieth-Century Latin America. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2003. 111-123.

“Civilizando la cuidad de las reyes: higiene y vivienda en Lima, 1870-1920.”  In Diego Armus, editor, Entre médicos y curanderos: cultura, historia y enfermedad en la América Latina moderna.  Buenos Aires: Norma, 2002.  105-150.