Dr Caroline Dodds Pennock

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

Department of History

Senior Lecturer in International History

Employability and Careers

Caroline Dodds
c.pennock@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 22 22579

Full contact details

Dr Caroline Dodds Pennock
Department of History
2.05
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield
S3 7RA
Profile

I have been at Sheffield since 2010, and am probably best known as the UK’s only Aztec historian, though my current research has branched out across the Atlantic, bringing Indigenous histories into a global framework. 

I am currently working on a major trade book, telling the story of the Indigenous Americans who ‘discovered’ Europe in the sixteenth century. Provisionally entitled On Savage Shores: The American Discovery of Europe, the book will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson and Pantheon, helping to bring these fascinating, and often-forgotten, stories to a wider audience.

As well as pestering people on twitter @carolinepennock, I also work sometimes as a popular history writer, consultant, and 'talking head' expert for TV and radio. 

My first degree was Ancient and Modern History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where I stayed on to read Women's Studies (MSt) before receiving my D.Phil. in Aztec history in 2004. Having been a Temporary Lecturer and then Research Fellow in Cambridge, I spent three years as Lecturer in Early Modern History at Leicester before moving to the lovely city of Sheffield, where I’ve been happily settled ever since.

Research interests

Having started out as an Aztec-Mexica historian, the scope of my work has broadened in recent years and I am currently writing a book about the thousands of Indigenous Americans who travelled to Europe before the founding of Jamestown in 1607. When we think of the early modern period, we imagine Christopher Columbus ‘discovering’ America. But, at the same instant, the great civilisations of the Americas discovered Europe. Tens of thousands of Native Americans made the journey across the Atlantic from the very moment of that first encounter, and these Indigenous pioneers forged the course of European civilisation, just as surely as Europe changed America. Some of the findings from this research were recently published in American Historical Review (free access through this link). 

My first book Bonds of Blood: Gender, Lifecycle and Sacrifice in Aztec Culture (which came out in paperback in 2011) won the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone Prize for 2008. The book explored how human sacrifice could be a comprehensible part of everyday life and existence, and violence has remained a major theme of my work, forming the focus of several international collaborations, including co-editing a volume of the new Cambridge World History of Violence

Pursuing my wider interest in global history, I have also recently completed an article about 'Globalising Cosmologies' with my colleague Amanda Power, and am part of several international networks focusing on topics ranging from Global Middle Ages to Human Sacrifice & Value

Publications

Books

  • Pennock CD (2011) Bonds of Blood: Gender, Lifecycle and Sacrifice in Aztec Culture. Palgrave MacMillan. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Bonds of Blood: Gender, Lifecycle and Sacrifice in Aztec Culture. Palgrave MacMillan. RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) Bonds of Blood. Palgrave Macmillan UK. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Antony R, Carroll S & Pennock CD (2020) Introduction to Volume iii, The Cambridge World History of Violence (pp. 1-14). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2016) Gender and Aztec Life Cycles In Nichols DL & Rodríguez-Alegría E (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Aztecs (pp. 387-398). Oxford University Press View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2012) 'A remarkably patterned life': Domestic and public in the aztec household city In Foxhall L & Neher G (Ed.), Gender and the City Before Modernity (pp. 38-56). John Wiley & Sons RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2011) Insights from the Ancient Word: The use of colonial sources in the study of Aztec society In Roque R & Wagner KA (Ed.), Engaging Colonial Knowledge: Imperial Archives in World History (pp. 115-134). Palgrave Macmillan View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Introduction, Bonds of Blood (pp. 1-13). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Marriage and Partnership, Bonds of Blood (pp. 103-132). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Living with Death, Bonds of Blood (pp. 14-40). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Birth and Blood, Bonds of Blood (pp. 41-65). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Tying the Knot, Bonds of Blood (pp. 89-102). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Outside the Norm, Bonds of Blood (pp. 133-154). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Conclusion, Bonds of Blood (pp. 178-182). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Growing Up, Bonds of Blood (pp. 66-88). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2008) Aging and Mortality, Bonds of Blood (pp. 155-177). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds C (2008) Sexuality and Gender in Mexico In Smith MD (Ed.), The Greenwood encyclopedia of love, courtship, and sexuality through history (pp. 150-1). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds C (2007) Female Dismemberment and Decapitation: Gendered Understandings of Power in Aztec Ritual In Carroll S (Ed.), Cultures of Violence: Interpersonal Violence in Historical Perspective (pp. 47-63). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2007) Earth Women and Eagle Warriors: Revealing Aztec gender roles through ritual violence In Watson KD (Ed.), Assaulting the Past: Violence and Civilization in Historical Context (pp. 162-178). Cambridge Scholars Press View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews

  • Pennock CD (2013) Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World, ed. Ilona Katzew. The English Historical Review, 128(534), 1213-1214. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pennock CD (2013) Pete sigal, the flower and the scorpion: Sexuality and ritual in early nahua culture (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011), pp. xvi + 361. ISBN 978 082235138 (hb); 978 082235151 (pb).. Gender and History, 25(2), 376-377. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2012) Catherine R. DiCesare, Sweeping the Way: Divine Transformation in the Aztec Festival of Ochpaniztli. H-LatAm. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2012) Matthew Restall and Felipe Fernández-Armesto: The Conquistadors: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012). BBC History Magazine, 6(13), 71-71. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2012) Matthew Restall and Felipe Fernández-Armesto: The Conquistadors: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). BBC History Magazine, 71-71. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2010) Massimo Livi Bacci, El Dorado in the Marshes: Gold, Slaves and Souls Between the Andes and the Amazon, tr. Carl Ipsen (Cambridge, 2010). Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies, 2(27), 36-37. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2010) Michael E. Smith, Aztec City-State Capitals (Gainsville, 2008). Urban History(1), 185-186. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2009) Another Face of Empire: Bartolomé de Las Casas, Indigenous Rights, and Ecclesiastical Imperialism (2007). Canadian Journal of History/Annales Canadiennes D’Histoire, 2(44), 347-347. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2008) Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (2006). Journal of Latin American Studies, 1(40), 135-136. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds C (2006) Jane E. Mangan, Trading Roles: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Urban Economy in Colonial Potosí (2005). The Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies, 4(37), 1134-1136. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds C (2005) Kathleen Ann Myers, Neither Saints Nor Sinners: Writing the Lives of Women in Spanish America (2003). Itinerario: International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction, 2(29), 141-141. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds C (2005) Ricardo Padron, The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain (2004). Canadian Journal of History/Annales Canadiennes D’Histoire(XL), 306-307. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds C (2004) Aztecs exhibition, catalogue and conference. Renaissance Studies11, 3(18), 475-478. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C, Fisher LD, Earle R, Zacek N & Weaver J () ROUNDTABLE - Jace Weaver, The Red Atlantic: American Indigenes and the Making of the Modern World, 1000-1927 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press Press, 2014, £29.95). Pp. 360. ISBN 978-1-4696-1438-0.. Journal of American Studies. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download

Website content

  • Dodds Pennock C Women of Discord – the power of women in Aztec thought. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C Have scientists really found the germ responsible for killing 15m Aztecs?. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C Top 10 Books on the History of Latin America. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C Did the Aztecs have coming of age rituals?. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C Did the Aztecs allow divorce?. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C History Matters: Public History and the Value of the Humanities. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C Please Stop Telling Me Margaret Thatcher is a Style Icon: Gender and the Media. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C El Día de los Muertos. RIS download Bibtex download

Theses / Dissertations

  • Dodds C (2004) Warriors and Workers: Duality and Complementarity in Aztec Gender Roles and Relations. University of Oxford. RIS download Bibtex download

Other

  • Dodds Pennock C (2019) Head to Head: Are Empires Always Bad? The Aztec Empire. History Today, 69(7). View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C & Ashton B (2019) Freedom Begins With Respect. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2018) When Moctezuma Met Cortés. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2017) In Search of the Real Aztecs. BBC World Histories Magazine. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2012) Fall of the Aztecs: Moctezuma: Collaborator or victim?. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2009) Moctezuma: Collaborator or victim?. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C (2007) Cortés and Montezuma. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dodds Pennock C () Harpooning Ducks: Indigenous Americans, Immigration, and Multicultural Identity. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Research supervision

I am keen to supervise research students in Indigenous American (particularly Mexican), Spanish American, colonial and Atlantic history, particularly those interested in Native travellers, gender, violence and early colonial sources. I would also be happy to discuss projects related to cultural exchange, imperial and Indigenous histories and Native American cultures.

Completed students:

  • Harriet Smart - Choreography, Flexibility and Conformity in Postclassic Nahua Rituals.

All current students

PhD study in History

Teaching interests

I see teaching as central to my work, and I have received teaching awards from Leicester and Sheffield, related to my interests in innovative teaching, learning and assessment, particularly in the field of e-learning.

I teach on a range of early modern, Indigenous, American and colonial topics, as well as on public history and questions of decolonisation. I particularly enjoy encouraging students to engage with the relevance of history in the contemporary world.

Teaching activities

Undergraduate:

  • HST2028 - Tenochtitlan, City of Blood and Flowers: Aztec Society in the Early Sixteenth Century
  • HST2502 Understanding the Aztecs: Life and Death in Early Sixteenth-Century MExico
  • HST3120/21 - Cannibals and Christians: Mexico and Spain c. 1492-1600

Postgraduate:

  • HST6043 - Burying the White Gods: Indigenous People in the Early Modern Colonial World
Professional activities
Public engagement

I am keen on communicating history to a broad audience, and am currently writing a major new trade book for W&N and Pantheon. As well as giving public lectures and school talks, I have media experience as a historical writer, consultant and expert 'talking head' for TV, radio, websites, publishers and popular magazines. I have also worked with the educational group Mexicolore, who regularly feature my research on their website. You can find me on twitter @carolinepennock.

In the media:

History Today put me ‘On The Spot’ with their probing questions in July 2017, and in January 2018, I responded to media reports of the possible discovery of cocoliztli: the germ responsible for killing 15 million Aztecs. As well as writing for The Conversation, I was interviewed by both Inside Science and Making History on Radio 4. You can also hear me talking about the Aztecs on the BBC Civilisations podcast, shedding light on the history featured in the TV series, and on the acclaimed BBC podcast, You’re Dead to Me, which brings together historians and comedians to learn and laugh about the past

I have appeared on TV programmes for global broadcasters including the BBC, Science Channel and the Smithsonian Channel and have featured on In Our Time on Radio 4. Most recently, I went in search of the Lost Pyramids of the Aztecs, which was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK. I have also acted as a historical consultant for several TV projects, including Heroes and Villains: Cortés for the BBC and Mankind: The Story of All of Us for the History Channel.

You can see me talking about early modern Dutch map-making in the BBC's The Beauty of Maps [at c.0.58 and 2.24] or hear me talking about the siege of Tenochtitlan on In Our Time. I was also interviewed for BBC History Magazine's History Extra podcast about the 'last Aztec ruler' Moctezuma [October 2009, Part 2, from 13.55].

My other TV appearances include: Secrets: The Golden Raft of El Dorado and Secrets: A Viking Map?; Ancient Black Ops: Aztec Eagle Warriors; and Masterpieces of the British Museum: The Aztec Double-Headed Serpent [Part 1 and Part 2].

You can also hear me on the acclaimed history and comedy podcast You’re Dead To Me, as well as on the BBC Civilisations podcast, shedding light on the Aztec history featured in the TV series.

1/2 The Aztec Double Headed Serpent - Masterpieces of the British Museum

 

2/2 The Aztec Double Headed Serpent - Masterpieces of the British Museum

Popular History Writing

As well as writing articles for popular publications such as History Today and BBC History Magazine, I have also consulted on a number of fiction and children’s books.

I blog regularly for History Matters and was also invited to be a guest blogger for Scientific American on 'The 2012 Apocalypse, or Why the World Won’t End This Week'.

My popular publications include:

  • ‘Head to Head: Are Empires Always Bad? The Aztec Empire’, History Today (July 2019)
  • ‘When Moctezuma Met Cortés’, BBC World Histories Magazine (December 2018)
  • ‘Have scientists really found the germ responsible for killing 15m Aztecs?’, The Conversation (January 2018)
  • 'In Search of the Real Aztecs', BBC World Histories Magazine (November 2017)
  • 'Fall of the Aztecs: Moctezuma: Collaborator or victim?', BBC Knowledge Magazine (April 2012)
  • 'Moctezuma: Collaborator or victim?', BBC History Magazine (October 2009)
  • 'Cortés and Montezuma', BBC History Magazine (November 2007)

A collection of my blog posts