I am a social and cultural historian of early modern Europe, specializing in the history of the former Spanish empire and the Iberian Atlantic. As a departure point, I have examined horse breeding and horsemanship across cultural divides in the early modern period, using archives in Spain, Italy, Mexico and Peru. This research incorporates innovative areas of environmental and animal studies into traditional analyses of the nobility, court, and military in European political formation, connect the Atlantic and Mediterranean worlds.
Using sources from national and municipal archives in Spain, Mexico and Peru, I demonstrate how practices of horse breeding contributed to the vocabulary of race (raza) and caste (casta). Studying race as construct in the Iberian Atlantic world through the ecology of animal-human-environment interactions presents an alternative derivation for racial terminology and critically assesses taxonomies that develop within the spaces of social interaction between humans and animals. My book manuscript will develop additional environmental history case studies from my archival research to the narrative arc of laws and customary horse breeding practices that shaped frontier settlements in the Spanish empire.