Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Monica Diaz


This dissertation explores the relationship between the city of Alcalá de Henares, Spain and Mexico City, Mexico, in terms of the colonization-decolonization processes of the latter. First, Alcalá de Henares and a few years later, Mexico City, suffered profound urban transformations that led to the construction of the so-called City of God (Civitas Dei). The City of God was a utopia: an urban, philosophical and educational model conceived during the first stages of the early modern period. By following Saint Agustine’s precepts, in his book, The City of God Against the Pagans, cardinal Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros created in Alcalá the first planned university city; this project can also be interpreted as the intersection of the Spanish humanist agenda along with the new ideas of the modern state introduced by the Catholic Monarchs in the 15th century. During the conquest and colonization of the Americas, such an urban, educational, and religious model came to be a perfect tool for the indoctrination of indigenous people. Whereas the City of God in Alcalá de Henares and Mexico City will be studied in Chapters One and Two, Chapter Three explores the use of the University of Alcalá’s Renaissance architecture in the Americas, the decolonization process of Mexico’s Royal University when it became the National Autonomous University, and the creation of an outstanding university campus. The final chapter will be devoted to analyzing the use of Renaissance and colonial urbanism, as well as the architectural heritage in both Alcalá and Mexico City in relation with the UNESCO’s World Heritage program, and the role of public history in the creation of national narratives.

Ultimately, by studying the history of Alcalá de Henares and Mexico City, their universities, and their preserved heritage one can understand why both cities have a shared past and a mutual present within the 21st century world-system.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)