Welcoming Daniel P. Gámez, “Race in the Global Past through Native Lenses” University of California Presidential Postdoctoral Scholar

Published: May 29, 2024

Daniel P. Gámez has been chosen as the incoming University of California Presidential Postdoctoral Scholar for the project “Race in the Global Past through Native Lenses.” This project, supported by a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to highlight Native American, Pacific Islander, and other Indigenous scholarship on the historical concepts of “race” and “Indigeneity” across the globe. It also seeks to increase the recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty at UCLA. Gámez will be working collaboratively on the grant project, focusing specifically on the issues of race and racialization in Indigenous contexts during the “pre-colonial/early colonial era.”

Gámez will earn his Ph.D. in Geography from The University of British Columbia in July, following the successful defense of his dissertation, Republic of Atlapulco: The Politics of Autonomy in the Mexican Metropolis. His research delves into the construction of Nahua political autonomy in the pueblo of Atlapulco, emphasizing racialized environmental violence and the construction of extractive infrastructure from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.

In August, he will begin his project, Memories of Chinampameca: Tracing the Politics of Nahua Metropolitan Self-Government in Mexico City. Under the mentorship of UCLA History Professor Kevin Terraciano, Gámez seeks to recover Atlapulco’s memory before, during, and after the imposition of imperial urbanism and wetland desiccation.

Gámez’s project is unique in its collaborative and community-based approach, drawing on archival studies, oral histories, and critical cartography from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. He seeks to work with collectives, elders, and traditional authorities of the Nahua pueblo of Atlapulco in Xochimilco, Southern Mexico City, traditionally known as Anahuac.

“By examining documents, footage, records, photos, letters, and additional forms of archival ephemera to trace the transformations experienced in the territory from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century,” said Gámez, he aims to “reconstruct the modern environmental and political past of Atlapulco’s wetlands.”

Gámez’s dedication and expertise will enrich the “Race in the Global Past through Native Lenses” project in its second and third years, building upon the community-engaged work initiated by CMRS-CEGS during the 2023-2024 academic year.