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From the article: 


"On the one hand, the search for the first Asians in the Americas is an exercise in perennial dissatisfaction with the archives, with the Spanish administrators who did not ask but one more question that would reveal a hidden answer to the historian’s crisis. The mind brims with speculation, with probable outcomes and fantastic imaginings that Carpentier would have saluted. But, on the other hand, there are rare moments when the stuffy reading room dissolves and the oppressive glare of the Spanish summer sun recedes, when the contours of a life come into clear view through the veil of Baroque parchment – an enslaved man defending himself before the Inquisition; a South Asian woman whose funeral is attended by thousands; a trader who gets sick and stays with a friend to recover. At every moment, Asian peoples resist the oblivion to which the archive attempts to reduce them. They travel unimaginable distances, steal silver, consume hallucinogens, protect their children, form friendships, and advocate for their freedom. Against the odds, these actions have survived the Spanish Empire itself, and the task of the historian now is to claw these stories from the desiccated husk of the archival organ."

From the article: 

"Jan. 5, 2024, marked 336 years since the passing of an extraordinary woman you have probably never heard of : Catarina de San Juan.

"Her life reads like an epic. Born in South Asia during the early 17th century, she was captured by the Portuguese at age 8 and sold to Spaniards in the Philippines. Spanish merchants then traded her across the Pacific to Mexico, where she became a free woman and a spiritual icon, famous in the city of Puebla for her devotion to Catholicism. As a scholar of colonial Latin America, I believe she deserves to become a household name for anyone with even a passing interest in Asian American history or the history of slavery."


Selected Publications

​Peer Reviewed

  • “Galleon Anxiety: How Afro-Mexican Women Shaped Colonial Spirituality in Acapulco,” 
    The Americas 78:3 (2021). Open Access.

  • “Diasporic Convergences: Tracing Knowledge Production and Transmission among Enslaved 
    Chinos in New Spain.” Ethnohistory 68:2 (2021).
    Article Link

  • “Rethinking the Battle of Otumba: Entangled Narrations and the Digitization of Colonial Violence.” Rethinking History 23:3 (2019). Article Link

  • “The Armed Chino: Licensing fear in New Spain.” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 20:1 (2019). Article Link


Public History


  • "Racing Games: Choice and History in Video Games," Perspectives on History (Special Feature, 2022). Full Article

  • “Anti-Asian Violence and Sexual Deviance, from Manila 1603 to Atlanta 2021: An Historica Overview,” A-id: Agenda for International Development (2021). Full Article

  • “A Retrospective on 500 Years Since the Fall of Tenochtitlan,” Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective (2021). Full Article

Creative Work

  • "La doble diáspora," Voces del caribe 12:1 (2022). Link

  • “A Few Missing Visuals of the Crisis.” Photography series. Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures 5:1 (2020). Link

  • "Joy," The New Southern Fugitives 2:22 (2019). Link

  • "Pacific Passage" and "The First and Last Argonauts," About Place Journal 5:1 (2018). Link

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