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Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez

Rivaya-MartinezJones Professor of Southwestern Studies

Office: TMH-218

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests:
Ethnohistory, Borderlands, Captivity

Dr. Rivaya-Martínez specializes in the indigenous peoples of the U.S. Southwest and the Great Plains during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His training in anthropology and history, along with his ability to read Spanish, French, and English, permit him to approach the subject with a broad perspective. He has conducted extensive archival research in Mexico, Spain, France, and the United States, accessing a massive corpus of non-English-language original sources, some previously untapped. His analyses of the documentary record and his interpretations of the past incorporate ethnographic, archaeological, linguistic, and environmental evidence, as well as interviews with contemporary consultants. Dr. Rivaya-Martínez uses qualitative and quantitative analyses to cement his theories, paying attention to indigenous voices and perspectives from the past and from the present. His scholarship focuses primarily on the Comanches, whose actions influenced decisively the history of a vast expanse on both sides of the Rio Grande. He has conducted his research in close contact with members of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. His ongoing book manuscript explores pre-reservation Comanche practices of captivity, slavery, and incorporation in an attempt to ascertain how such practices have influenced the history of Comanches and their neighbors, paying particular attention to the experiences of captives themselves. The book will offer an explanation of Comanche history that diverges significantly from some of the interpretations currently in vogue. It will also contribute to the theoretical debates on captivity and slavery in indigenous societies by presenting a longue durée case study rich in quantitative data, and by incorporating analyses of the findings in cross-cultural perspective. Dr. Rivaya-Martínez's future scholarship will retain a multidisciplinary and comparative approach.


Refereed Publications

Journal Articles

“A Different Look at Native American Depopulation: Comanche Raiding, Captive Taking, and Population Decline.” Ethnohistory 61 (3; Summer 2014): 391-418.

“The Captivity of Macario Leal: A Tejano among the Comanches, 1847-1854.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 117 (4; April 2014): 372-402.

“Diplomacia interétnica en la frontera norte de Nueva España. Un análisis de los tratados hispano-comanches de 1785 y 1786 y sus consecuencias desde una perspectiva etnohistórica.” Nuevo Mundo, Mundos Nuevos, Debates, 2011 [published online on November 30, 2011]. URL:

“San Carlos de los Jupes. Une tentative avortée de sédentarisation des bárbaros dans les territoires frontaliers du nord de la Nouvelle-Espagne en 1787-1788.” Recherches amérindiennes au Québec, 41 (2-3; 2011): 29-42.

Book Chapters

“La expansión comanche en la frontera norte de Nueva España durante el siglo XVIII.” Chapter submitted for the book La frontera en el mundo hispánico: Tierras de convivencia y espacios de confrontación (siglos XV-XVIII), edited by Porfirio Sanz Camañes and David Rex Galindo, pp. 339-369. Quito: Abya Yala, 2014.

“Reflexión historiográfica sobre los genízaros de Nuevo México, una comunidad pluriétnica del septentrión novohispano.” In Familias pluriétnicas y mestizaje en la Nueva España y el Río de la Plata, edited by David Carbajal López, pp. 271-308. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara, 2014.

“De la civilización a la barbarie. La indianización de cautivos euroamericanos entre los indios comanches, 1820-1875.” In La indianización. Cautivos, renegados, «hommes libres» y misioneros en los confines de las Américas, s. XVI-XIX, edited by Salvador Berbnabéu Albert, Chritophe Giudicelli, and Gilles Havard, pp. 107-136. Seville: Doce Calles and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 2013.

“Becoming Comanches: Patterns of Captive Incorporation into Comanche Kinship Networks, 1820-1875.” In On the Borders of Love and Power: Families and Kinship in the Intercultural American West, edited by David Wallace Adams and Crista DeLuzio, pp. 47-70. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

“Incidencia de la viruela y otras enfermedades epidémicas en la trayectoria histórico-demográfica de los indios comanches, 1706-1875.” In El impacto demográfico de la viruela en México de la época colonial al siglo XX, edited by Chantal Cramaussel, vol. 3, pp. 63-80. Zamora, Michoacán: El Colegio de Michoacán, 2010.

Courses Taught

Graduate Seminars

History 5314, Ethnohistory

History 5353, Greater Southwestern History

History 5350, The Frontier in American History

History 5309D, Early Modern Spain

Undergraduate Courses

History 4371, American Indian History

History 3368, Introduction to Ethnohistory

History 3329, Spanish Borderlands

History 4318Q, Early Modern Spain

History 4318O, History of Modern Spain

History 1310, History of the U.S. to 1877

History 4318R, Ancient and Medieval Spain (developed; not yet taught)

Selected Awards

Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies (2015-present)

Research Enhancement Grant, Texas State University (2008-2009)

Bill and Rita Clements Research Fellowship for the Study of Southwestern America (2007-2008)

UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship (2005-2006)

Wenner-Gren Foundation Research Grant (2004-2005)

UC MEXUS Dissertation Research Grant (2004-2005)

American Philosophical Society - Philips Fund Grant (2004-2005)

American Philosophical Society Library Research Fellowship (2004-2005)

Newberry Library Research Fellowship (2004-2005)

American Philosophical Society - Philips Fund Grant (2003-2004)

UCLA Institute of American Cultures Predoctoral Fellowship (2002-2003)

Smithsonian Institution Visiting Student at the National Museum of Natural History Award (2000-2001)