The University of Sheffield
Department of History
Photo of Caroline Dodds Pennock

Dr Caroline Dodds Pennock

B.A., M.St., D.Phil. (Oxon)

Lecturer in International History

Aztec, Spanish American and Atlantic history, cultural encounters

Office Hours: Spring 2013-14 - Thurs 11am-1pm or other times by appointment


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Major Publications

Caroline Dodds Pennock Bonds of Blood book cover




HST2028: Tenochtitlan, City of Blood and Flowers: Aztec Society in the Early Sixteenth Century


HST6043: Burying the White Gods: Indigenous People in the Early Modern Colonial World


HST3120/3121: Cannibals and Christians: Mexico and Spain, c.1492-1600







To Follow.




Caroline Pennock joined the History Department in September 2010. She was educated at Corpus Christi College Oxford, where she received her D.Phil. in 2004. Having been a temporary lecturer and then Research Fellow in Cambridge, she spent three years at the University of Leicester as a Lecturer in Early Modern History, where she was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship in 2010, related to her interests in innovative teaching, learning and assessment, particularly in the field of e-learning.

Caroline is keen on communicating history to a broad audience, having written articles for BBC History Magazine and worked on children's books and TV projects, including The Beauty of Maps and Heroes and Villains: Cortés for the BBC. She recently collaborated with colleagues to set up the Network for Indigenous Mexican Studies (NIMS), which aims to bring together academics from across the disciplines with a shared interest in the indigenous cultures of Mexico.

Caroline is the co-ordinator of the Department’s History Matters blog. You can see her blogs here.

Membership of Professional Bodies




Current Research

My research has increasingly progressed toward the history of the Atlantic world, and I am just starting a major new research project on Aztecs Abroad, following indigenous Central and South Americans who travelled to Europe and beyond in the sixteenth century. By examining this neglected dimension of Atlantic movement, I hope to develop our understanding of the transcontinental networks which shaped early modern society and reintegrate indigenous history into this traditionally Eurocentric context. I am also in the process of completing several articles, including one on `Women of Discord´ in Aztec society.


Research Interests

My research focuses on Aztec and Spanish American history and the Atlantic world, with a particular interest in issues of gender, violence, and cultural exchange.

As part of my research on the Aztecs, I studied the role of ritual violence, exploring how human sacrifice can be a comprehensible part of everyday life and existence. My first book Bonds of Blood: Gender, Lifecycle and Sacrifice in Aztec Culture (which came out in paperback in 2011), integrates the study of sacrifice with a reinterpretation of Aztec gender and daily life, and won the Royal Historical Society´s Gladstone Prize for 2008.


Research Supervision and Teaching

I am keen to supervise research students in Aztec, Spanish American and Atlantic history, particular those interested in cultural history, including gender, violence and the use of early colonial sources. I would also be happy to discuss projects related to cultural exchange, imperial and indigenous histories and Amerindian cultures.


Administrative Roles and Responsibilities


  • Social Media Co-ordinator

Selected Publications



- Bonds of Blood: Gender, lifecycle, and sacrifice in Aztec culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008; paperback 2011). [RHS Gladstone Prize 2008]


Articles and Essays

-‘Mass Murder or Religious Homicide?: Rethinking Human Sacrifice and Interpersonal Violence in Aztec Culture’, HSR: Historische Sozialforschung/Historical Social Research 37.3 (2012), pp. 276-302.

- ‘“A Remarkably Patterned Life”: Domestic and Public in the Aztec Household City’, Gender & History, 23.3 (November 2011), pp. 528-46. Reprinted in Lin Foxhall and Gabriele Neher, Gender and the City Before Modernity (Blackwell, Oxford, 2013), pp.38-56.

- 'Insights from the Ancient Word: The use of colonial sources in the study of Aztec society', in Ricardo Roque and Kim Wagner (eds), Engaging Colonial Knowledge: Imperial Archives in World History (Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke, 2012), pp. 115-34.

- 'Sexuality and Gender in Mexico', in Merril D. Smith (ed.), The Greenwood Encyclopaedia of Love, Courtship, & Sexuality through History, Volume 4, The Colonial and Revolutionary Age (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2008), pp.150-1.

- 'Earth Women and Eagle Warriors: Revealing Aztec gender roles through ritual violence', in Katherine D. Watson (ed.), Assaulting the Past: Violence and Civilization in Historical Context (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007), pp.162-78.

- 'Female Dismemberment and Decapitation: Gendered Understandings of Power in Aztec Ritual', in Stuart Carroll (ed.), Cultures of Violence: Interpersonal Violence in Historical Perspective (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), pp.47-63.


Popular Publications

- ‘The 2012 Apocalypse, or Why The World Won’t End This Week’, Scientific American guest blog (18 December 2012).

- ‘El Día de los Muertos’, sidebar for BBC News and BBC Food websites (1 November 2012).

- ‘Fall of the Aztecs – Moctezuma: Collaborator or victim?’, BBC Knowledge Magazine, 21 (Jan/Feb 2012), pp. 66-71.

- 'Moctezuma: Collaborator or victim?', BBC History Magazine, 10.10 (October 2009), pp.50-1.

- 'Cortés and Montezuma', BBC History Magazine, 8.11 (November 2007), pp.34-8.