AHA Member Spotlight: Daisy V. Domínguez

Photo by Charles Diaz

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series. The members featured in this column have been randomly selected and then contacted by AHA staff. If you would you like to nominate a colleague for the AHA Member Spotlight, please contact Nike Nivar.

Daisy V. Domínguez is a reference librarian for History, Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies, and Spanish & Portuguese Literature at the City College of New York (CUNY). She lives in Yonkers, New York, and has been an AHA member since 2009.

Current school or alma mater/s: BA, New York University; MLS, Long Island University; MA, The City College of New York

Fields of interest:indigenous film and video of the Americas; animal studies

When did you first develop an interest in history?
I do not remember a particular moment, but I think my interest was piqued while watching the Little House on the Prairie series on television as a child. Although not historically accurate, it made me want to learn about how people lived in other historical periods and places and led to a love of historical fiction in books and film.

Another driving force in my interest in history is the fact that I am the daughter of immigrants. I am the only one of my siblings born in this country and that yearning to find my roots, as they say, led me to study the colonial Andes and Ecuador, and later, indigenous and Native American cultures.

What projects are you working on currently?
I am currently developing a freshman level service-learning course on animal-human relationships.

What is the last great book or article you have read? 
Animal by Erica Fudge (Reaktion Books, 2002). Fudge asks important questions about our paradoxical relationship with animals and I’m thankful to the H-ANIMAL listserv members for leading me to this great book.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members?
I would like to (humbly) recommend my film blog, Indigenous Film & Video of the Americas: In Review (daisilla.org), because it does not get much traffic and I am curious to hear if anyone is finding it helpful. It would be a happy surprise to someday get a comment from an AHA member who has used one of these films in class.

What do you value most about the history profession?
As a librarian, most of my contact with historians comes in the form of my work with the History Department faculty in my college, whose students drop by for individual consultations or attend the library workshops I teach. It always feels good when I am able to help a student who has been struggling with finding an interesting primary source for their papers. So I guess what I value most is that historical research always involves unearthing new sources and using them in creative ways.

Other than history, what are you passionate about?
Animals. I have several pets, I have done TNR work (a program that consists of trapping, spaying/neutering, and releasing feral and community cats), and I volunteer at local animal shelters. This passion may help explain the interesting turn my research has taken. As an undergraduate, I decided to major in Latin American studies because I wanted to learn about my ethnic identity. Without realizing it, my history master’s degree course work had been preparing me to combine my personal interest in animals with my academic work. In Prof. Andreas Killen’s classes on the history of psychology, I researched the issue of wrongful confinement and read about reform movements that had ties to vegetarianism in the 19th century. Placing my personal interests and concerns in an academic context has been and is important to me and I am looking forward to seeing where this new field of study may lead, especially in terms of making a concrete impact on the humane treatment of animals.

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