Felicia Rhapsody Lopez: Curriculum Vitae


University of California, Santa Barbara

Ph.D. Chican@ Studies 2016

Dissertation Title: Mayahuel and Tlahuizcalpanteuctli in the Nahua Codices:Indigenous Readings of Nahuatl Pictorial and Alphabetic Texts

Committee: Inés Talamantez, Chela Sandoval, Gerardo Aldana (chair)

Masters degree Chican@ Studies 2012

Qualifying Paper Title: Mayahuel and Maguey as Teotl in the Codex Borgia: Establishing a Visual Grammar for Reading Directional Tree Panels

University of California, Berkeley

Bachelor of Arts Rhetoric 2000



UC Santa Barbara areas of research include:

Current research on innovating methods of decipherment of Indigenous Mexican iconographic texts, using logographic, phonographic, and Nahua cultural and linguistic analyses.

Current research on ancient and contemporary Indigenous Mesoamerican identity, religion, linguistics, gender, science, and other elements of culture.

Current research in ancient cross-cultural, Aztec/Mayan, presentations of astronomical and calendric knowledge, specifically related to Venus calendars and associated religious beliefs and practices.

Revitalization of Indigenous culture and language among contemporary Mexican, Chicana/o/x, and Latina/o/x populations.

Deconstructing contemporary media representations of sexism and racism against Indigenous Mesoamericans and their diverse descendants.


Nahua Rhetorical Speech in Glyphic and Alphabetic Codices of Precontact and Colonial Central Mexico. Anthology of Native American Rhetoric. University of New Mexico Press (Anthology accepted for publication pending revisions), 2019.

Review of Creating Aztlán: Chicano Art, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Lowriding Across Turtle Island, by Dylan A.T. Miner. Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, 2018.

“Case Study for Development of a Visual Grammar: Mayahuel and Maguey as Teotl in the Directional Tree Panels of the Codex Borgia.” rEvista: A Multi-media, Multi-genre e-Journal for Social Justice, Volume 5, Issue 2. Edited by Gerardo Aldana, Salvador Guerena, and Felicia Lopez (Peer-reviewed), 2017.

“Assessment of Computer Scienc Learning in a Scratch-Based Outreach Program” (Co-author) Association for Computing Machinery, 2013.

“Animal Tlatoque: Attracting Middle School Students to Computing through Culturally-Relevant Themes” (Co-author) Association for Computing Machinery, 2011.




UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow UC Davis 2018-2019

 Department: Native American Studies

Mentor: Ines Hernandez-Avila


Research Associate- DECLINED Harvard University 2018-2019

Women’s Studies in Religion, Harvard Divinity School


Postdoctoral Scholar of American Indian/Indigenous Studies

 UC Santa Barbara, CA 2016 – Jan. 2018

Courses Taught in American Indian/Indigenous Studies

UC Santa Barbara, CA 2009 – Present

Chican@ Studies 191N: Introductory Nahuatl with Language Lab.

Religious Studies 594A, American Indian and Indigenous Colloquium.

English 134NM, Native American Memoir.

Religious Studies 190AR, Aztec Religion.

Independent studies courses in Native American Theory (graduate course) and Nahuatl Language.

Chican@ Studies 113, Ancient Mesoamerica.

Chican@ Studies 13, A Critical Introduction to Ancient Mesoamerica.

Guest lecturer

Religious Studies 14, Introduction to Native American Religious Traditions

Religious Studies 247, Indigenous Religious traditions

Linguistics 50: Language and Power

Chican@ Studies 1C, Chican@ Culture

Chican@ Studies 158, SWAPA

Teaching Assistant UC Santa Barbara, CA 2009 – 2016

Head TA twice for Chican@ Studies 1C, Culture, taught by Dr. Tara Yosso.

TA three times for Chicana Studies 1B, Gender, taught by Professor Edwina Barvosa.

TA twice for Chican@ Studies 1A, History, taught by Professor Mario Garcia.

TA for Chican@ Studies 1C, Culture, taught by Professor Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval.

TA twice Chican@ Studies 13, taught by Professor Gerardo Aldana. Co-wrote exams.


Animal Tlatoque UCSB Summer Camp: Co-Head of Curriculum/Instruction UC Santa Barbara, CA Summers 2010, 2011, 2012




Served as primary mentor for two students in their creation of Individual Majors in American Indian and Indigenous Studies—the first two such majors in over 30 year at UCSB, and two of only three students with approved Individual Majors on the UCSB campus. Mentored numerous undergraduate students in the American Indian and Chicanx communities, including in applying to graduate schools.

Community Engagement:

Founding member of multiple campus organizations, including the American Indian Collective Academic Council, where we have revised and expanded the American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS) minor, gained funding from administration for AIIS, and increased campus support for AII students. Continued organization and publicizing of biweekly colloquia for scholars, students, and communities members interested in and working in AIIS. Active collaborator with local native Chumash.



Non-Senate Faculty Professional Development Grant UC Santa Barbara 2017-2018

MALCS Institute Scholarship MALCS 2016

Doctoral Student Travel Grant UC Santa Barbara 2016

CSI Dissertation Research Grant UC Santa Barbara 2015-2016

Conference Travel Grant, Dept. of Chican@ Studies UC Santa Barbara 2015-2016

Graduate Division Dissertation Fellowship Award UC Santa Barbara 2015

Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies Scholarship Yale University 2015

Dean’s Advancement Fellowship Award UC Santa Barbara 2014

Department Block Grant Fellowship Award UC Santa Barbara 2013



Native American Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) in Los Angeles, CA in May, 2018

Paper title: “Decolonizing the Readings of Our Ancestors’ Texts and Sacred Narratives.”

American Academy of Religion in Boston, MA in November, 2017

Paper Title: “Nahua Rhetorical Speech in the Glyphic and Alphabetic Codices of Precontact and Colonial Central Mexico.”

American Literature Association: Regionalism and Place in New Orleans, LA in September, 2017

Paper Title: “Pyramids, Altepemeh, and Other Mountains: Sacred Geography Among Nahua People of Central Mexico.”

Workshop on American Indigenous Languages (WAIL) in Santa Barbara, CA in May, 2017

Co-presenter: “Nahuatl Language Recovery: A Case Study of a First Generation Nahua-American Family.”

Mountains and Sacred Landscape Conference in New York City, NY in April, 2017

Paper Title: “When the Lord of the Dawn was Seen from the Mountain: Tlahuizcalpanteuctli Among Precontact Nahua of Mexico.”

National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies in Irvine, CA in March, 2017

Paper Title: “Challenging the Stereotype of the Aztec Warrior: Ancient Nahua Accounts of War.”

Presented as part of roundtable, “Love and War: Conversations and Perspectives By and For Chicanxs, About Soldiers and Warriors.”

Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) in Laramie, WY in August, 2016

Paper Title: “Setting the Record Straight about Tlahuizcalpanteuctli: Using Nahuatl Texts to Challenge Western Misrepresentations of Indigenous Culture.”

Native American Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) in Honolulu, HI in  May, 2016

Paper Title: “The Planet Venus in Ancient Mesoamerica: Recovering the Science and Sacred Narratives of Tlahuizcalpanteuctli.”

Workshop on American Indigenous Languages (WAIL) in Santa Barbara, CA in May, 2016

Paper Title “Reading the Sacred Narratives of Tlahuizcalpanteuctli.”

American Indian and Indigenous Collective Symposium in Santa Barbara, CA in February, 2016

Panel Title: “American Indian and Indigenous Responses—Language Revitalization and Exploration.”

National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies in San Francisco, CA in April, 2015

Paper Title: “Challenging Western Science with Indigenous Science Stories: Nahua Knowledge of Hummingbird Hibernation.”

Mesoamerica Symposium in Los Angeles, CA in April, 2015

Paper Title: “Mayahuel and Maguey as Teotl: Establishing a Visual Grammar for Reading Directional Tree Panels in the Codex Borgia.”

Womyn of Color Conference at UCSB Santa Barbara, CA in May, 2014

Workshop Title: “Redefining and Reconsidering Spirituality as a Means for Healing.”

National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies in Salt Lake City, UT in April, 2014

Paper Title: “Mayahuel in Her Changing Forms: Fertility, Ritual, and Direction in the Codex Borgia and other Divinatory Texts of Mesoamerica.”


Nahuatl Language Distance Course (IDIEZ) September 2015 to June 2016

Language training, with Skype meetings for 4 hours per week, in spoken Modern Huastecan Nahuatl under the direction of Nahuatl Native-speakers. Advanced level, spoken Huastecan Nahuatl.

Nahuatl Language Institute (IDIEZ) Yale University, CT Summer, 2015

Six-week intensive language program focusing on spoken Modern Huastecan Nahuatl under the instruction of Nahuatl Native-speakers and scholars, and decipherment of Classical Nahuatl texts. Intermediate level ability in Modern Nahuatl and Advanced level in Classical Nahuatl.

Classic Nahuatl Course Santa Barbara, CA October-December 2013

Participated in customized, 10-week Nahuatl course, under the instruction of Dr. Fermín Herrera.

Introductory Classical Nahuatl Northridge, CA September-December, 2011

Audited a semester of Beginning Classical Nahuatl at University of California, Northridge, under Dr. Fermín Herrera, where I received special instruction on translating classical documents.

CSULA Mixtec Codex Workshop Los Angeles, CA April, 2011

In a three-day intensive workshop, renowned expert Dr. John Pohl examined how Mixtec codices are currently read despite their apparent lack of a written phonetic language system. Specifically focused on current understandings of the Codex Nuttall, with some attention paid to the Codex Borgia.



Classical Nahuatl—Fluent written knowledge (including glyphic forms)

Modern Huastecan Nahuatl—Fluent written, Proficient spoken knowledge

Spanish—Fluent written, spoken knowledge

English—Native speaker