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Class Acts - John Paul Paniagua

John Paul Paniagua Cal PolyJohn Paul Paniagua / History Department

Specialty Area: Colonial Americas and Atlantic World/Indigenous histories

What is/has been your favorite class to teach?
I’m looking forward to teaching early modern world history courses at Cal Poly. Exploring the processes that made globalization possible are avenues to understanding some of the world’s most pressing problems today. I look forward to working through these longstanding issues with students over the coming year. 

If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring one book, what would it be?
"The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.

What are your research/scholarly pursuits?
I’m a historian of American colonization and the Atlantic World with particular focus on Indigenous responses to colonization. I’m currently working on a book examining Indigenous survival patterns in the colonial Caribbean from 1400-1800. 

What is your favorite class/student moment?
It’s very rewarding when students connect things they observe in their everyday lives to our material and when they bring those thoughts to our class discussions. 

Are there any scholars or individuals that have inspired you? 
My approaches to teaching and mentorship are inspired by the historians at Whittier College who gave me a foundational undergraduate training. In particular, Laura McEnaney (now at the Newberry Library) and Nat Zappia (now at CSU Northridge) were invaluable teachers and mentors.  

What are your hobbies/extracurricular activities?
I like cycling and hiking. I’m looking forward to exploring the beautiful trails and peaks of the Central Coast.  

Do you have a favorite getaway location?
My dissertation research was based in Seville, Spain — where the main imperial archive for the Spanish empire is located. The world’s history is everywhere you walk in that city. The names of the neighborhoods, the locations of the markets and churches. The archive itself. I enjoy it more every time I go back. 

What is your guilty pleasure?
Cooking in general but making a really good cacio e pepe ranks pretty high. 


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