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.
María Margarita Tascón González is currently looking for a position as an assistant professor. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and has been a member since 2012.
PhD in history, University of León, Spain, 2011. Specialty: medieval European history, focus in Iberia. University specialty in protocol and ceremonial of the state and international, University of Oviedo, Asturias (Spain) and Diplomatic School of Madrid (Spain), 1998. University expert in protocol and ceremonial studies, University of Oviedo, Asturias (Spain), 1997.
Fields of interest:
I love to research the field of history, but particularly those parts in the antiquity, arriving to the medieval period and modern time. I am focusing my research in Europe, mainly in the Iberian Peninsula because I was born and raised in Spain.
When did you first develop an interest in history?
I have always possessed a passion for the field of history. I was born and raised in León, Spain, a city immersed in history. León was founded as a Roman military encampment. Specifically, it was named “Legio Victrix” around the year 29 BC. The settlement of Legio VII Gemina consolidated the city in 74 AD. In the medieval period it became a kingdom, the kingdom of León. This city gave to history several kings and queens and numerous historic buildings, including the Cathedral of León and the Basilica of San Isidoro. In 1188, León hosted the first Parliament of Europe under Alfonso IX. Amongst all of these historical places, I felt the influence of history every day from the moment that I was born in León. Therefore, the University of León was my choice as the school where I attained my PhD in history.
What projects are you working on currently?
Currently, I am working on several, exciting projects. Since my PhD focused on nutrition and food in the medieval period in the Hispanic territory, I am writing an article about the different rules and norms that the medieval monastic orders had established in their regimen alimentary. My second project is about disease and how people’s ailments were healed using food. Finally, I am focusing on the protocol and ceremonies that were followed in different European courts in the late medieval and early modern time.
Have your interest changed since graduate school? If so, how?
My interests have been changing in response to the changes that have been occurring in technology. Social networks are impacting our lives in education, and I am trying to utilize new technologies to show how history is a living science. I believe that the students can increase their learning and love for history by using these technological breakthroughs. History is now available for everyone to learn about and enjoy, not only for people who are experts in this science. Social media is the most effective tool to reach everyone’s hearts with the lessons of history.
Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members?
I recommend the publications by two amazing historians who have led the way to a new understanding of this science: Teofilo F. Ruiz and Gregoria Cavero Dominguez. I could recommend all their works but I will suggest the following two books from Dr. Ruiz: A King Travels: Festive Traditions in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain and The Terror of History. Both books were published by Princeton University Press, the first one in 2012 and the second in 2011. My endorsement of Dr. Cavero’s work includes Inclusa Intra Parietes: La Reclusión Voluntary en la España Medieval, a book published by Ed. Meridiennes, Université de Toulouse, in 2010. My favorite article is“Obispos y Sínodos Hispanos Ante El Emparedamiento Bajomedieval,” published in the journal Medievalismo 22 (2012): 57-74.
What do you value most about the history profession?
I chose to be a historian because I wanted my students to realize that history is not only a set of dates and facts, decision-making, wars, battles, defeats, and victories. It is so much more, and I try to inspire my students to see that behind every historical fact, there are people who faced life’s daily challenges, just as my students do today. Each of my students has the advantage of learning from the lessons of history, and they are free to choose to either learn and benefit from the lessons of history or just repeat the mistakes. I believe that deep down, every student loves history, but it all depends on to what extent, and I believe this is the most significant challenge to every historian.
Why did you join the AHA?
I believe the AHA is one of the best, if not the best, historical associations. The AHA continually is updating me about the most important historical events: new books, articles, meetings, congresses, and jobs. Also, being an AHA member allows me to meet and remain in contact with professional historians, while sharing knowledge and new ideas with them.
Other than history, what are you passionate about?
Currently, my passion for history has been temporarily set aside to focus on, with my husband, the upbringing and education of our two sons. Thanks to our children, I see the importance that parents and educators have to help the next generation understand and learn from history. When I have time for myself, I love to spend my time either swimming or running. My future goals include becoming a certified scuba diver and running my first marathon.
Any final thoughts?
My current focus is to network with my fellow historians and secure my first assistant professor position so I may continue with and publish my research. As researchers, we know that understanding history will help to break the cycle of repeating past mistakes. We do not want to fall into the same mistakes as our forefathers.