Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

James Boyden

Associate Professor - History

Contact Info

Department Affiliation


I am an historian of Spain, with research concentration on the Castilian court and aristocracy in the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries. My monograph, The Courtier and the King: Ruy Gómez de Silva, Philip II, and the Court of Spain (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995; paperback reissue, 2017), surveyed the life and career of Philip II’s favorite the Prince of Eboli to illuminate the Prudent King’s manner of government, the dynamics and rivalries of his court, and the ambitions of noblemen and their possibilities for social ascent through royal favor. Subsequently I have published shorter works on subjects such as the fall (and afterlife) of the notorious seventeenth-century courtier Rodrigo Calderón, and on suicide in early modern Spain. For several years I have been at work on a book-length study tentatively entitled ‘An Apostle and a Roman’: Aristocracy, Counter-Reformation Piety, and the Cult of Honor in Habsburg Spain, which traces the shifting noble ethos of the period and argues that the characteristic conservative mentality of secular and clerical elites in later periods of Spanish history was largely a legacy of noble self-fashioning in the early modern centuries. My duties at Tulane extend also to regular teaching of medieval and modern Spanish history; I have directed three PhDs and co-directed two others, and have served on examination and dissertation committees of many colonial Latin Americanists as well as Europeanists. Outside of my principal research field, I have published on the Spanish military in the period of the transition to democracy, 1975-1982, and on providential interpretations of Hurricane Katrina.

  • B.A., Southern Oregon State College, History, 1977
  • M.A., University of Texas, History, 1982
  • Ph.D., University of Texas, History, 1988
Academic Experience
  • Associate Professor, Tulane University, 1994-
  • Visiting Associate Professor of History, The University of Texas at Austin, 2000-2001
  • Assistant Professor, Tulane University, 1991-1994
  • Assistant Professor of History, Yale University, 1988-1991

Research & Teaching Specializations: Spain; History; Hapsburg Spain; Renaissance and Reformation; Early Modern Atlantic World

Related Experience
  • Department chair, Department of History, Tulane University, 2004-2007
  • Graduate Director, Department of History, Tulane University, 1996-99
  • Associate Chair, Department of History, Tulane University, 1994-1996
  • School of Liberal Arts Award for Outstanding Teaching, Tulane University, 2011
  • Morse Fellowship, Yale University (declined), 1991-1992
  • Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, University of Texas, 1988-1989
  • Barnes Lathrop Prize (departmental dissertation prize), University of Texas, 1988-1989
  • Fulbright Fellowship (declined), 1983-1984
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Catalán
  • Portuguese
  • French
Overseas Experience
  • Spain
Selected Publications
  • 2014. “‘Wilt thou judge the bloody city? Yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations’: Hurricane Katrina as a Providential Catastrophe,” Edited by Randy Sparks and Romain Huret. Hurricane Katrina in Transatlantic Perspective. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press: 70-80.
  • 2013. “The Historian of an Age of Decline, 1963-2013,” in “BSPHS Forum. Golden Anniversaries: Sir John Elliott’s Imperial Spain and The Revolt of the Catalans after Fifty Years,” Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, 38(1): 214-218.
  • 2002. “Honor on the Scaffold in the Spanish Monarchy.” Acta Histriae. 8.
  • 2002. “Renaissance Exploration.” In Encyclopedia of the Renaissance. Paul F. Grendler, editor. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  • 2000. “The Worst Death Becomes a Good Death: The Passion of Don Rodrigo Calderón.” In The Place of the Dead in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Bruce Gordon and Peter Marshall, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1999. “Fortune Has Stripped You of Your Splendor: Favourites and Their Fates in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Spain.” In The World of the Favourite. J. H. Elliott and L. W. B. Brockliss, eds. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • 1995. The Courtier and the King: Ruy Gómez de Silva, Philip II, and the Court of Spain. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Recently-Taught Latin American-Related Courses: HISE 2410: Spain, 1369-1716, HISE 3190: Spanish Civil War, HISE-6330-01: Imperial Spain 1469-1659

Number of Dissertations or Theses Supervised in the Past 5 Years: 2

Full CV or Website
Departmental Biography