UNV 101: From Malintzin to Pocahontas

Dominguez Hills
First Year Experience

DHFYE Summer 2019

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Doris Namala

Dr. Doris Namala
History Department
Faculty Information

Course Description:

This course aims to replace the cardboard caricatures that indigenous people, indigenous women in particular, often are reduced to with more complicated and at the same time much more interesting real-life stories. Instead of looking for villains or victims, we seek to explore the lives of two indigenous women in particular, Malintzin and Pocahontas, during the time of the European conquests of their respective homelands, Mexico and the Chesapeake. Indigenous women often had to make tough choices in situations that did not give them many options. Although only very few of them are remembered by name today, this course argues that indigenous women were powerful, if exploited players in all European conquests across the continent. We seek to remember them and re-integrate them back into a history that has been told from European- and male-centered perspectives for too long. Students may meet the General Education (GE) requirement in the Whole Person (Area E).

Faculty Bio:

I received my PhD in Colonial Latin American history from UCLA in 2002. My dissertation is based on the writings of an early 17th-century Nahua from Mexico City and delves into questions of indigenous identity at the center of Spanish rule in the mature colonial period. I have been very fortunate to be able to incorporate native-language driven colonial Mexican research into my teaching here at CSUDH and am thrilled that my students generally have responded with much enthusiasm. I am excited to be bringing this bottom-up approach to history to our freshmen with this seminar. Apart from my teaching, I have also enjoyed co-advising the CSUDH chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honors society, as well as, more recently, the CSUDH history club. It has been great to get to know many of our students in different settings, both academic and more relaxed, and I look forward to many more years of engaged and engaging teaching and learning at CSUDH!

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