Native Americans, Ethnohistory, Spanish Borderlands
Born and raised in Asturias, in northern Spain, I began my undergraduate studies in Geography and History at the Unviersidad de Oviedo, concluding my Licenciatura (B.A. degree) with a major in Ancient History at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. I continued my studies at UCLA, where I obtained my M.A and Ph.D. degrees in Socio-cultural Anthropology. My primary area of specialization is the ethnohistory of the indigenous peoples of the southern Great Plains and the so-called Spanish Borderlands. My main ongoing project is a book provisionally entitled Captivity, Slavery, and Adoption among the Comanche Indians, 1700-1875. In this work, based on archival sources, ethnographic data, native oral traditions, linguistic evidence, and information obtained through personal interviews with contemporary Comanches, I trace the evolution of Comanche patterns of captivity, slavery, and adoption during the pre-reservation period (1700-1875). Through qualitative and quantitative analyses, I discuss Comanche motivations for seizing, enslaving, and incorporating outsiders, the personal characteristics of Comanche captives and their captors, the ways in which captives could be integrated into Comanche kinship and social networks, and the roles and statuses accessible to them. I also explain the overall importance of captives, slaves, and adoptees in pre-reservation Comanche society and political economy, as well as their relevance in the rise and fall of the Comanche Indians as a formidable indigenous power on the southern Plains.
Research and Teaching Interests
Ethnohistory. Plains Indians. Spanish Borderlands. Comparative Indigenous Studies. Culture Contact. Political Economy. Identity. Violence and Warfare. Spain. Colonial Latin America. US West.
HIST 4371 - American Indian History
This course explores the roles played by indigenous people(s) in the historical evolution of North America since prehistoric times. We deal with native sociocultural developments, the impact of European and US expansionism, and the assimilation, acculturation, and adaptation processes that it spurred, as well as conflicts, removal and assimilation policies, reservation life, recent adjustments, and current issues.
HIST 3368 - Introduction to Ethnohistory
Through this course I seek to familiarize students with the ethnohistorical method, a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the historical, social, and cultural processes undergone by so-called indigenous peoples before, during, and after contact (Western) states. Ethnohistorians draw extensively from history and sociocultural anthropology, as well as from archaeology, linguistics, geography, ecology, historical demography, and other disciplines.
HIST 3329 - Spanish Borderlands
This course explores the roles played by people of Hispanic background in the historical evolution of North America between the 16th and the early 19th centuries, including: (1) the exploration of a vast portion of the continent; (2) the conquest and colonization of parts of it, inluding areas of the present-day states of Florida, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and the neighboring regions of northern Mexico, as well as the region once known as the Louisiana Territory; (3) the development of a number of distinct Hispanic communities in those regions; and (4) the impact of those processes on the indigenous peoples of North America.
HIST 4318O - History of Modern Spain [soon to become two separate courses]
This course covers the history of Spain since the late 15th Century. We explore the economic, social, cultural, and political dimensions of the most significant processes and events involving Spaniards within the context of world history, such as the rise and fall of Spain as a hegemonic nation-state in Early Modern Europe, Spanish expansion overseas, Spain's role in the Counterreformation movement, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, and the transition to democracy after Franco’s dictatorial regime.
HIST 1310 - U.S. History to 1877
A general survey of the history of the U.S. from prehistoric times to approximately 1877. In this course I seek to promote an understanding of the people from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds and social conditions whose actions and ideas were fundamental in shaping the course of North American history and the nature of American society over time.
HIST 5350 - The Frontier in American History
This is a graduate reading seminar in which students become familiar with the recent literature on the American frontier. When I teach this seminar we focus on issues dealing with Native Americans (e.g. captivity).
HIST 5353 - Greater Southwestern History
This is a graduate reading seminar in which students become familiar with the recent literature on the Greater Southwest, which includes the present-day states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as the neighboring regions of the U.S. and northern Mexico. When I teach this seminar we focus on works that explore interethnic relations in that region until ca. 1900.
HIST 5309D - Early Modern Spain
This is a graduate reading seminar in which students become familiar with the recent literature on the early modern Spanish world (ca.1465 - ca. 1808), including both Spain itself and the so-called Spanish Empire.
SPAN 3371 - Spanish American Civilization [I no longer teach this class]
This is a survey of the cultural history of the Spanish-speaking regions of the Americas, from Prehispanic times to the present.