Claudia Rogers

Claudia Rogers

WRoCAH PhD Student in History

Summary: First encounter between Europeans and Indigenous groups in the Caribbean & Mesoamerica; comparative history; Indigenous histories; subaltern voices; identity; cultural intermediaries; space



Before beginning my research degree at the University of Leeds, I studied at the University of Sheffield: I graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) degree in History (2013), and gained a Distinction for my MA in Historical Research (2014). I was awarded a White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH) Doctoral Studentship for my PhD research project, which I began in September 2014 (expected completion October 2018).

Doctoral Project 

My doctoral project comparatively explores how Indigenous groups and individuals responded to and identified Europeans in moments of first encounter in the Caribbean and Mesoamerica. In particular, the project focuses on methodological issues arising from the uncovering and 'reading' of Indigenous voices and actions in the (ethno)historical record. 

Whilst European views of natives during first encounter have received extensive attention by historians, Indigenous perceptions of Europeans have been comparatively neglected, except for the well-trodden but relatively narrow issue of whether Mesoamericans viewed the arriving Europeans as 'White Gods'. Although the 'White Gods' are now generally agreed to be a post-conquest invention, a polarised assessment of 'gods' or 'humans' still dominates approaches to Indigenous views of Europeans, ignoring the diversity and complexity of pre-Columbian belief systems. My project seeks to depart from this simplistic framework in order to reach a fuller, more nuanced understanding of Indigenous perceptions of 'difference' and strangeness during early encounter, reflecting the diverse spectrum of Indigenous responses to the Christian strangers.

Supervisors: Dr Anyaa Anim-Addo & Prof Manuel Barcia Paz.

Wider Research Interests 

My wider research interests surround cultural encounter, Indigenous histories, space, and identity (especially cultural intermediaries and the notion of 'in-betweenness'). I'm also very interested in digital history and methodology. 


I was awarded First Prize for the PhD poster competition at the inaugural WRoCAH conference (15 October 2015: University of York). The poster - titled 'Christopher Who?' - explored the ways in which the Taíno may have identified Christopher Columbus and his crew upon their arrival in the Caribbean in 1492.

For my MA dissertation, 'Lost at Sea: Translating the Virgin Mary in the Atlantic World, 1392-1594', I was jointly awarded the George Richard Potter MA Dissertation Prize in History by the University of Sheffield (October 2014). The dissertation was given 86 marks.

I was awarded the Sir Ian Kershaw Prize for Best Dissertation Outside of British History by the University of Sheffield for my BA dissertation, 'The Devil in Gregory of Tours: Spirit Intercession and the Human Body' (July 2013). The dissertation was given 82 marks.


'Lost in Battle: Malintzin as a Warrior Woman in the Lienzo de Tlaxcala' – forthcoming, 2018.

McKeown, Jane & Claudia J Rogers, ‘Connecting with people with dementia through local history,’ Journal of Dementia Care 23:2 (2015), 10-11.

'The Devil in Gregory of Tours: Spirit Intercession and the Human Body,' Networks and Neighbours 2:2 (2014), 347-77.

Papers & Posters 

'Sharing Spaces, Sharing Symbols: the Creation of 'Inbetween' Identities in Moments of First Encounter in the New World,' presented as part of the Connecting Medieval Worlds seminar series (15 June 2017: University of Manchester) – invited paper.

'Giving Gifts & Starting Skirmishes: Understanding In/securities during the First Taíno-European Encounter, 1492-3,' presented at the 'Reading' Caribbean In/securites for Creativity, CARISCC Postgraduate conference (8 March 2017: University of Leeds).

'Lost in Battle: Identifying Malintzin as a Warrior Woman in the Lienzo de Tlaxcala,' presented at the Indigenous Languages and Cultures: Then and Now conference (12 September 2016: Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield).

'Sharing the Beach: Understanding the Mutual Space of Indigenous-European Encounter in the New World (1492-c.1530),' presented at the Sharing Space in the Early Modern World conference (25 June 2016: Faculty of History, University of Oxford).

'Imag(in)ing Mesoamerican Pictorial Manuscripts: the Experience of Digitising Sixteenth-Century, Indigenous-Authored Histories,' presented as part of the Leeds Digital Humanities Research Series (25 April 2016: University of Leeds) – invited paper.

'The Armchair Approach: Encountering Digitised Pictorial Manuscripts in Early American Studies,' presented at IBAAS conference as part of the 'Digital Scholarship in American Studies' panel (8 April 2016: Queen's University Belfast).

'Christopher Who?' poster, awarded First Prize for the PhD poster competition at the inaugural White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities conference (15 October 2015: University of York).

‘Escaping the Cannibal: Caribbean Encounters in Christopher Columbus’ Diario, 1492-3,’ presented at the Identity, Power & Protest colloquium (27 May 2015: School of History, University of Leeds).

Teaching & Mentoring

PG Tutor for 'HIST1300: Primary Sources for the Historian' (UG Level 1 History module), strand title 'Of Monsters and Men: Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of Mankind' (Spring 2016; Spring 2017). 

'Students as Scholars' PGT mentor (October 2016 – May 2017).

Roles & Responsibilities  

Postgraduate representative for the Identity, Power & Protest research cluster, School of History, University of Leeds (December 2015 – present).
Student representative for WRoCAH Partnerships Advisory Board (October 2014 – present). 
Co-director of the Ideas & Identities in the Atlantic World LHRI research group (October 2015 – June 2016). 
Postgraduate representative for the Institute of Colonial & Postcolonial Studies (April 2015 – September 2016).
Co-founder and co-director of the Wider World History Network (December 2014 – June 2017).

Conference Organisation

Co-organiser of 'Communication, Correspondence & Transmission in the Early Modern World', a Northern Renaissance Seminar Conference (12 - 13 May 2016: University of Leeds). 

Public Engagement 

Curious about what the Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean may have thought of Columbus? I've written a feature piece for History Today magazine on Indigenous perceptions of the Christian strangers they encountered in 1492:

'Christopher Who?', History Today 67:8 (August 2017), pp. 38-49, and cover story.


'The Road to El Dorado? Understanding sixteenth-century Indigenous perceptions of Europeans': talk given as part of the PubhD Leeds series (BAHT'AP, Leeds: 30 November 2016). This short talk discussed the historical debate over whether the Aztecs viewed the arriving Europeans as 'White Gods', and questioned how this debate affects contemporary understandings of the 'discovery' and conquest of America. 

Warrior Treasures

For my WRoCAH Researcher Employability Project I worked part-time (February - June 2016) across the Collections, Interpretation, and Education departments at the Royal Armouries Leeds to research and stage the Warrior Treasures: Saxon Gold of the Staffordshire Hoard temporary exhibition (27 May - 2 October 2016) – supervised by Dr Alex Woodall. 

Potted Histories 

During my MA I worked with the ‘Potted Histories’ project in coordination with Told in South Yorkshire and Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Trust to design bite-size resources exploring Sheffield's local history, with the aim of helping younger generations connect with older people with dementia through their memories of Sheffield's past.

  • McKeown, Jane & Claudia J Rogers, ‘Connecting with people with dementia through local history,’ Journal of Dementia Care 23:2 (2015), 10-11.

See also my page.
You can find me on Twitter @claudiajrogers (all views my own).