PhD Students

Teotihuacan, Mexico, 2013

Teotihuacan, Mexico, 2013


Jennifer Koshatka Seman

PhD Candidate

Educational Background

PhD Candidate, Southern Methodist University, 2013-present
MA, History, Southern Methodist University, 2012
BA, University of North Texas, 2009, graduated Magna Cum Laude

Jennifer Seman CV

Dissertation Title

"Faith Healing in the U.S - Mexico Borderlands at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Santa Teresa Urrea, Don Pedrito Jaramillo, and the Politics of Curanderismo"

I am interested in the histories of race, gender, spirituality, and medicine in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. My dissertation examines borderlands saints Teresa Urrea (1873-1906) and Don Pedrito Jaramillo (1829-1907) who attracted thousands of devout followers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border with their curanderismo practices. My dissertation is a transnational study of curanderismo as a faith healing practice as well as a political tool, and examines the intersection of state power, professionalizing medicine, and spiritual movements that informed the U.S. Gilded Age and Progressive Era as well as the Mexican “Porfiriato.”


  • “‘How do I know…prayers don’t do more good than…pills:’ Don Pedrito Jaramillo, Curanderismo, and the Rise of Professional Medicine in the Rio Grande Valley, 1881-1900.” Journal of the West  Vol. 54, no.1 (Winter 2015), 15-28.
  • “Laying-on Hands: Santa Teresa’s Curanderismo as Medicine and Refuge at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.” (Book chapter). Religion and Medicine in America’s Secular Age, (Forthcoming, 2015).
  • Contributing writer at the Borderlands History Blog:

For more on my research and interests, please visit:

Last updated 08/15