Category Archives: Student Research

History APEX Fellowship Info Session Tuesday @11

Phi Alpha Theta invites you to the History APEX Fellowship Info Session on Tuesday, December 3 at 11am in the Kauke Tower!

Come hear from 2019 History APEX Fellows!  Learn about great opportunities in History and how you can apply for an APEX Fellowship.

Featuring 2019 APEX Fellows:

  • Emily Beuter ’20: National First Ladies’ Library
  • Ingrid Buckley ’20: Southeast Ohio History Center
  • Georgina Tierney ’22: Maine Historical Society

We hope to see you there!

Research Project Sources

For my research project, I want to study the conflict between the Mapuche and Spanish/Chileans.  One possible focus point is the role of the Mapuche in the Chilean civil war between 1819-1825.  My primary source (if I can find an English version) is La Guerra a Muerte by Benjamin Vicuna Mackenna.  My secondary sources include Troubled Negotiations: The Mapuche and the Chilean State by Joanna Crow, Between Lof and the Liberators: Mapuche Authority in Chile’s Guerra a Muerte by Jesse Zarley, The Mapuche in Modern Chile: A Cultural History by Joanna Crow, and Monuments, Empires, and Resistance: The Araucanian Polity and Ritual Narratives by Tom D. Dillehay

Revised Research

Although I have not completely narrowed down my selection, I have minor changes in mind for the project. Instead of doing just the native perspective, I could compare and contrast Aztec and European ideas on many things such as opinions of each other, specific events, and ceremonies or rituals.

For my primary sources I could maybe look at excerpts from the Florentine Codex as well as The True History of the Conquest of New Spain. 

Secondary sources may include


Narrowed Research Idea

I would like to focus on how the gastronomy of indigenous Latin American communities were impacted by the enforcement of European norms and ideas surrounding cuisine, health, morality, and other elements of society. I will hone in on a specific area of Latin America to examine a smaller-scale interaction between Spanish colonizers and an indigenous community, potentially by analyzing a specific case in New Spain. I think food can be an extremely meaningful piece of material culture that can show us a lot about colonial influence. While some may think that this was a simple clash of cultures that brought about an equal mixing between indigenous and Iberian techniques and ingredients, what I have learned about in this course shows that the complexities embedded within power dynamics, namely through violence and erasure, result in a far more complicated history and reality. I also may decide to focus on the chili as a specific food item to investigate, but I think I will narrow that down based on what I find to be most prevalent in the literature I encounter.

I can use the Hernán Cortéz passage in the last Victors and Vanquished assigned reading as a primary source to show how colonizers perceived the differences in culture and customs, specifically with regard to food and dress. Another primary source I could use would be Christopher Columbus’ encounter with aji chilli in the reading from Bauer’s Goods, Power, History. 

Below are some secondary sources that I found that will bolster my understanding of indigenous gastronomy and the impact of colonization and internalized sentiments of deviance or inferiority brought about by colonizers on indigenous peoples:

  • Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, by Maricel Presilla (cookbook)
  • “Beyond Culinary Colonialism: Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Liberal Multiculturalism, and the Control of Gastronomic Capital”, by Sam Grey and Lenroe Newman
  • Que vivan los tamales! : Food and the Making of Mexican Identity, by Jeffrey Pilcher
  • “Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition Transition in a Right to Food Perspective”, by Siri Damman, Wenche Barth Eide, and Harriet V. Khnlei

Sources and Ideas

I’m still not 100% decided on my question, however, I know the topic is going to include the use of cartography in this era of colonialism. My list of sources isn’t final, but I’ve been looking at using the following:

My primary source will probably be Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei traditionem et Americi Vespucii aliorumque lustrationes. (Its a mouthful, but it is a map from around 1507, with perhaps the first depiction of the Americas.)

My secondary sources are a little less unique:

Urban Cartography in Latin America during the Colonial Period.

Cartography and Power in the Conquest and Creation of New Spain.

Cartography as a Tool of Colonization.

Theory and the History of Cartography.

Updated Research Question

After looking at sources and briefly discussing my project with Professor Holt, I have decided that I would like to focus on religious women in the Andes. I have found many sources that detail life in convents in Colonial Latin America and sources that detail the lives of women more specifically during this time.

Potential Sources:

Primary sources in Chapter 5: Life in Colonial Convents in Readings on Colonial Latin America and its people

Jaffary, Nora E., 1968. 2007. Gender, Race and Religion in the Colonization of the Americas. Aldershot, England;Burlington, VT;: Ashgate.

Wirzba, Norman. 2003. Neither Saints nor Sinners : Writing the Lives of Women in Spanish America. New York: Oxford University Press USA – OSO. Accessed September 25, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Mónica Díaz. “Native American Women and Religion in the American Colonies: Textual and Visual Traces of an Imagined Community.” Legacy 28, no. 2 (2011): 205-31. doi:10.5250/legacy.28.2.0205.

Socolow, Susan Migden, 1941. 2015. The Women of Colonial Latin America. Second ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Revised Research Idea

Research question : How did music shape the development of culture in Latin America?

Primary Source:

I found an example of Colonial Latin American Music but I had trouble finding any other type of primary source to work with but I would like more.

Secondary Sources:


I would like to explore the craftsmanship of Colonial Latin America by the development of Empire. I am also interested in how cultural diffusion from Europe effected music development in the region.

Revised Research Idea

Since my last post, I have not changed my research question. It remains: “How did French and Spanish colonizers in Colonial Hispaniola create differing conceptions of race?” This question is significant because it has had a lasting affect on interstate relations on the island, and because it emphasizes the importance of the creation racial hierarchies is Latin America.  I’m particularly interested in learning about how each colonial entity viewed mixed-race children, as this question is important to understanding colonialism throughout the world at large.


Moreau de Saint-Méry, Médéric-Louis-Élie. “Description…of the French Part of the Island of Saint-Domingue.” Slave Revolutions in the Caribbean 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents, edited by Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006, pp. 57-62.

Raimond, Julien. “Observations on the Origin and Progression of the White Colonists’ Prejudice against Men of Color.” Slave Revolutions in the Caribbean 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents, edited by Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006, pp. 78-82.


Eller, Anne. We Dream Together: Dominican Independence, Haiti, and the Fight for Caribbean Freedom. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2016.

Gates, Henry Louis. “The Dominican Republic: ‘Black behind the Ears.’” In Black in Latin America. New York: NYU Press, 2011, pp. 119-145.

Howard, David. Coloring the Nation: Race and Ethnicity in the Dominican Republic. Oxford: L. Rienner Publishers, 2001.

Matibag, Eugenio. Hatian-Dominican Counterpoint: Nation, State, and Race on Hispaniola. New York: Palgrave, 2003.

Revised Research Idea

I have revised my research idea to encompass the general history of yerba maté in colonial Latin America, rather than just in Argentina because I think that might have been too specific (I was struggling to find good sources). It seems to be something that was adopted by the colonizers and I think that will lead to interesting accounts and findings on the role of maté in colonial society.

Primary source:

I can not find the actual letter, but according to Adalberto López, in “The Economics of Yerba Mate in Seventeenth-Century South America”,

Alonso de la Madrid to Governor Hernandarias, Asuncion, 10 February 1596, cited by Aguirre, Diario, 2: pt. 2, p. 359.

had written a letter about mate (a written account of mate in colonial Latin America).

If you could give me some guidance on how to find primary sources that would be really helpful; I tried for a while with no luck.

Secondary Sources:

Folch, Christine. “Stimulating Consumption: Yerba Mate Myths, Markets, and Meanings from Conquest to Present.” Comparative Studies in Society and History52, no. 1 (2009): 6–36.

Joyce, T. A. “Use and Origin of Yerba Maté.” Nature134, no. 3394 (1934): 760–62.

López, Adalberto. “The Economics of Yerba Mate in Seventeenth-Century South America.” Agricultural History 48, no. 4 (1974): 493-509.

Rodríguez‐Alegría, Enrique. “Eating Like an Indian.” Current Anthropology46, no. 4 (2005): 551–73.


The Truth of the Aztec Religion

Often when reading the Europeans reports of the Aztecs, they are betrayed as kind people. Until the idea of religion is brought in to play, where the Aztecs are viewed as “horrible and abominable” people. Often the view of what truly happened is lost about the new world, with the Europeans reports. I am interested in researching the Aztec religion and how they worshiped their gods or god. I think it is very fascinating learning more about the religions of the indigenous group’s religion and how it compares to modern-day catholicism. With bringing the idea of sacrificial practices and the idea of cannibalism can’t help but spark my entrance.

Primary Source:
An Image of human sacrifice from the Aztec codex, 16th century from Victors and Vanquished

Secondary Source:
Bošković, Aleksandar. “In the Age of the Fifth Sun: Jacques Soustelle’s Studies of Aztec Religion.” Anthropos, vol. 87, no. 4/6, 1992, pp. 533–537. JSTOR,, Kay A. “The Fleeting Moment: Cosmogony,

Eschatology, and Ethics in Aztec Religion and Society.” The Journal of Religious Ethics, vol. 14, no. 1, 1986, pp. 113–138. JSTOR,

Brumfiel, Elizabeth M. “Aztec Religion and Warfare: Past and Present Perspectives.” Latin American Research Review, vol. 25, no. 2, 1990, pp. 248–259. JSTOR,

HIGGINS, LILY. “Sculpting Nature: An Aztec Rattlesnake in Stone.” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, 2017, pp. 78–83. JSTOR,

BARRERA, JOEL ANDRÉS. “Aztec Civilization: Second Prize, Adler Book Collecting Contest, 1985.” The Princeton University Library Chronicle, vol. 47, no. 1, 1985, pp. 79–80. JSTOR,

Sanders, William T. American Antiquity, vol. 31, no. 5, 1966, pp. 759–760. JSTOR,