Roger L. Martinez, Ph.D.

Roger Martinez

Personal Website


In my role as an assistant professor, I am the primary faculty member responsible for delivering courses on the Middle Ages (Europe and the Mediterranean World), early modern Europe, and the trans-Atlantic world. My active research agenda focuses on Jews, Catholics, and conversos in late medieval and early modern Spain and the Americas. 

During 2011 and 2012, I continued at active research agenda with investigations in the Archivo y Biblioteca Nacionales de Bolivia (Sucre, Bolivia), the Archivo-Biblioteca Arquidiocesanos Monsenor Taborga (Sucre, Bolivia), the Archivo Historico Municipal de Coria (Spain), Archivo Historico Municipal de Bejar (Spain), Archivo Historico Municipal de Ciudad Rodrigo (Spain), and the Archivo de la Catedral de Ciudad Rodrigo (Spain.).

My service contributions include the founding of the UCCS Historical Engineering Society, which is currently developing a historically accurate scale model of a trebuchet, creating the 2011 "Sephardic Memory and Movement" conference, and employing Barnard College's Reacting to the Past pedagogy in the classroom.




2008, Ph.D., History, University of Texas at Austin. Dissertation: "From Sword to Seal: The Ascent of the Carvajal Family in Spain (1390-1516)."

1994, M.P.P., Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California-Berkeley
. Thesis: "Should California Educate Its Undocumented Immigrant Children?: 

A Cost-Benefit Analysis for the 1990 School-Age Population."

1992, B.A., Humanities, University of Texas at Austin. Thesis: "The Moorish Princess Motif in Medieval Spanish Literature."


Current Research and Book Project


In 2012-2013, I plan to deliver my manuscript (under contract), Blood, Faith, and Fate: Jews, Conversos, and Old Christians in Early Modern Spain and Colonial Spanish America to an academic press. The text unravels long-held historical misconceptions about the identities and interrelations of fifteenth and sixteenth century Castilian families that hailed from Old Christian, Jewish, and converso ancestries. It explores the complex familial, political, patronage, religious, and socio-economic networks that bound these families together. Further, it argues that while expansive anti-Jewish initiatives and culturally destructive blood purity laws had a chilling effect on clan and political collaborations, the transformative impact of interreligious marriage and social alliances created an equally powerful counterweight. By tracing the path of the Carvajal, Santa María, Estúñiga, and associated families of Plasencia to colonial Spanish America, the full range of Old Christian, converso, and Jewish outcomes can be fully explored. Cumulatively, the life paths of these families reveal a far more nuanced cultural and religious history than is typically acknowledged in Spanish historiography.


Recent Fellowships and Awards

2011, The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (IIJG) and Paul Jacobi Center Research Grant; National Library of Israel, Givat Ram Campus of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

2011, Program for Cultural Cooperation Research Grant, Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports, Madrid, Spain.

2011, Faculty Assembly Women's Committee Research Grant, UCCS.

2011, Maurice Amado Faculty Incentive Grant for archival research in La Paz, Bolivia, and Sevilla, Spain (sponsored by UCLA's Maurice Amado Program in Sephardic Studies and Center for Jewish Studies).

2010, University of Colorado President's Fund for the Humanities award for the Sephardic Memory and Movement Conference.

2010, University of Colorado Diversity and Excellence Grant award for the Sephardic Memory and Movement Conference.

2008-10, David H. Burton Postdoctoral Fellowship, Saint Joseph's University (PA).


Recent Publications, Papers, and Presentations

 "Journeys to the Spanish Extremadura: An Indelicate Balance of Identity, Family, and Faith." Keynote address at the 9th Annual Anousim Conference, El Paso, Texas, August 3, 2012.

"Sephardic Origins and Transformations in the Spanish Extremadura: Tracing Jewish and Converso Families on the Eve of the Atlantic Diaspora." Unpublished paper presented at the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies 22nd Annual Conference, Albuquerque, NM, July 24, 2012.

"Trans-Atlantic 'Hebrew' and Converso Networks: Conquistadors, Churchmen, and Crypto Jews in the Spanish Extremadura and Colonial Spanish America." Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto-Jews, Volume 4, Spring 2012: 135-166.

 "Finding Spain's Identity:  Américo Castro and His Exploration of Convivencia in Medieval Spain." HaLapid, The Journal of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies (SCJS), Spring/Sumer 2012/5772. 

"Framing a New Museum Exhibition on Sephardic Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews: Collaborative Efforts with the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico." HaLapid, The Journal of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies (SCJS), Spring/Sumer 2012/5772. 

Book Review of Howard J. Erlichman's Conquest, Tribute, and Trade: the Quest for Precious Metals and the Birth of Globalization (2010), The Sixteenth Century Journal, forthcoming.

"Blood, Faith, and Fate: Jews, Conversos, and Old Christians in Early Modern Spain and Colonial Spanish America." Unpublished paper presented at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference at Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, October 28, 2011.

"Conference Proceedings from the Sephardic Memory and Movement Conference, March 10-11, 2011 at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs." HaLapid, The Journal of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies (SCJS), Volume XIX/XX, Issues 2 and 3, Spring/Sumer 2011/5771.

"An Introduction to the Sephardim, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews." Unpublished paper presented at the Sephardic Memory and Movement Conference, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado, March 10, 2011.

Book Review of Fernando González de León's The Road to Rocroi: Class, Culture, and Command in the Spanish Army of Flanders, 1567-1659 (2009), The Sixteenth Century Journal, Volume XLI, No. 4, Winter 2009: 1162-63.

"Disparate Identities, Failures in Unity: The Complicated Social Realm of DoÑa Gracia Mendes Nasi." HaLapid, The Journal of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies (SCJS), Volume XVII, Issue 2, Spring 2010.

"Finding Tolerance, Accommodation, and Authority: Reflections on Medieval Islamic al-Andalus and Christian Spain." David H. Burton Postdoctoral Fellowship Lecture, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 21, 2010.

"New Archival Evidence on the Family Relations of Luis de Carvajal and his Mexican Inquisitors." Unpublished paper presented at the Third Annual Crypto-Jewish Symposium, Texas A&M Hillel, College Station, Texas, April 9, 2010.

Book Review of J.H. Elliot's Spain, Europe, and the Wider World, 1500-1700 (2009), The Americas, Volume 66, No. 4, April 2010: 563-564.

"Jews, Catholics, and Converts: Reassessing the Resilience of Convivencia in Fifteenth Century Plasencia, Spain."Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto-Jews, Volume 1, Spring 2009: 95-119.

"Abraham's Cathedral: Jewish, Muslim, and Catholic Co-existence in Late Medieval Spain."
David H. Burton Postdoctoral Fellowship Lecture, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 16, 2009.

"Becoming a Part of the Society." HaLapid, The Journal of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies (SCJS), Volume XV, Issue 4, Fall 2008.

"Promoting Family Piety and Nobility: Creating Cardinal Juan de Carvajal of Plasencia, Spain 1440s-1470s." Unpublished paper presented at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, September 23-26, 2008.

Book Review of Vincent Barletta's A Memorandum for the President of the Royal Audiencia and Chancery Court of the City and Kingdom of Granada (2007), The Sixteenth Century Journal, Volume XL, No. 2, Summer 2009: 615.

"Before the Collapse of Co-existence: The Collaboration of the Catholic Carvajal Family and the Jewish Ha-Levi Family in the Bishopric of Plasencia, Spain 1400-1440." HaLapid, The Journal of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies (SCJS), Volume XIV, Issue 1, Winter 2007. Paper presented at the SCJS 16th Annual Conference, El Paso, TX, August 6-8, 2006.

Book Review of John Martin's Myths of Renaissance Individualism (2004), The Sixteenth Century Journal, Volume XXXVII, No. 1, Spring 2006: 1173-1174.


Course Offerings


HIST 1020: The Medieval World

HIST 1030: The Rise of Modern Europe

HIST 3480: Ideas, Identities, and Indiscretions: Transformations in Early Modern Europe (1400-1800 c.e.)

HIST 4130: From Baghdad to Burgos: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Medieval Mediterranean World (600 - 1500 c.e.)

HIST 4150: Astrolabes, Arms, and Azulejos (Tiles): Medieval Science, Technology, and Material Culture (600 - 1500 c.e.)

HIST 4160: A Crossroads of Civilizations: Medieval Spain and North Africa (600 - 1500 c.e.)

HIST 4280: Beyond The Pillars of Hercules: The Trans-Atlantic Empires of Spain and Portugal (1450 - 1750 c.e.)

HIST 6110, 7110: Readings and Research in Medieval European History