Current PhD Students
Ligia Atzimba Arguilez
Ligia’s work focuses on the history of the creosote bush, Larrea tridentata, and its natural and cultural life among the people of the deserts along the U.S.-Mexico border. She explores how this dominant plant can expand and inform borderlands historiography through an interdisciplinary methodology. Prominent themes in her work include the connections between environment and identity, memory, and traditional healing forms along the border. Ligia was born in Tijuana, Baja California, and she was raised in El Paso, TX. Her undergraduate research was on barbed wire and the incarceration of Mexican nationals in the U.S. in 1913-14.
Michael Britt is a PhD student with major fields in Borderlands and U.S. History. He was born and raised in New Jersey and lived in California for ten years, where he earned his B.A. in Political Science from CSU-San Bernardino. In 2013, he earned a M.A. in International Relations from Webster University in Missouri and began studying History at UTEP in 2016, where he earned a second B.A. Michael’s methodology combines historical research methods and understandings with methods in political science. He is currently researching the early political history of El Paso. In addition, Michael currently serves as a member of the U.S. military.
Eric is a second-year Ph.D. student born in El Paso, Texas and raised between the U.S.-Mexico borderlands of Juarez, Chihuahua. He obtained his B.A. in History, B.A. in Psychology, and M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso. His current research interests focuses on how individual and group agency is historically informed, produced, and challenged via cultural expressions and artifacts such as graffiti within border cities in the 20th century. Chavez’s methodological approaches are inspired by a constellation of borderlands history, intellectual and social history, Latin American history, critical theory, phenomenology, and philosophy of liberation.
Fior Daliso García Lara
Fior Daliso García Lara is a student and a Teaching Assistant in the Ph.D. Borderlands History program at the University of Texas, El Paso. In June, 2015, Fior received her M.A from State University of New York at Buffalo with her dissertation “The Importance of the Darien Indigenous Peoples for Illegal Trade during the First Half of the Eighteenth Century.” Her current research interests are Cross-border dynamics and colonial construction of the frontier; Forced Migration and its impact in indigenous communities in Latin America and Caribbean societies; and Transnational and postcolonial studies.
Miguel is originally from the San Diego-Tijuana borderlands and currently a doctoral student in History at the University of Texas at El Paso. He received a B.A. in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz where he studied the intersections of sexual policing, race, and morality along the U.S-Mexico border. Building upon his previous work, Miguel’s current research focuses on the production of racial and cultural geographies, urban/suburban space, and conservatism at the San Diego-Tijuana borderlands. Miguel also broadly engages with borderlands, Latinx, and urban history with a special attention to space and historical memory.
I am a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where I specialize in American history, Borderlands history, and Indigenous history. My dissertation spans multiple fields of scholarly inquiry and concerns itself with competing notions of sovereignty, citizenship, boundary-making, and belonging in twentieth century Indigenous North America. Before transferring to UTEP, I earned my MA in history from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). I am happily married with child, and currently work as a history lecturer at California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI)
Melissa Hutson, born and raised in El Paso, TX, received her BA in History at the University of Texas at Austin. She continued her education at the University of Texas at Austin’s Graduate School of Information where she specialized in Digital Media and Information. Hutson is currently pursuing her Ph.D. with an emphasis on border history, Mexican film history, and the history of theaters along the U.S./Mexico border. She currently serves on the board of the El Paso County Historical Society, and her extracurricular work includes assisting nonprofits, museums, and other organizations with exhibits, research, and their digital presence.
Originally from Dallas, Ian Anson Lee is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at El Paso. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2013 and a master’s degree in history from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2016. He is currently researching and writing his dissertation, the topic of which is civilian warfare in New Mexico during the nineteenth century. He hopes to complete his doctorate by the end of 2019.
Angelina Martínez received her BA in History and Literature, and an MA in History from UTEP. Her dissertation explores public school desegregation along the U.S.-Mexico border and the Mexican American condition in secondary education. Angelina works with the UTEP Institute of Oral History, she curated a museum exhibit titled “La Frontera: A Century of Resistance and Adaptation,” and she was a National Trust for Historic Preservation Latino Heritage Preservation Research Intern. She is the recipient of the Dr. John H. McNeely Graduate Student Oral History Award and a Special Dissertation Research Grant from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.
José Miguel Chávez Leyva
José Miguel Chávez Leyva is a PhD student at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), with major fields in Borderlands and Latin American History. He grew up throughout the Southwest, and carries a deep passion for the region. He holds a BA in Anthropology and an MA in History, both from UTEP, and is also currently enrolled in the Master's of Professional Science program. Leyva’s methodology combines the practices of Ethnohistory and Environmental History, with his dissertation research focusing on the Rarámuri of northern México. He is also completing a minor field in Public History, and has acquired diverse experiences with oral histories, museology, and digital history.
Raúl Isaí Muñoz
Raúl Isaí Muñoz earned his AA in History from Palo Alto College in San Antonio, his B.A. in History from the University of Northern Iowa, and his M.A. in History from the University of Texas at El Paso. His scholarly interest include immigration, identity formation, labor, race, and transnational cultural and economic interactions between the U.S. and Mexico. His dissertation research examines negative impact that ascribing to a white racial identity had on ethnic Mexicans between 1900 and 1940 by analyzing immigration, school segregation, voting restrictions, and housing segregation in the city of El Paso. Raúl Isaí Muñoz is currently an Associate Professor in History at Lone Star College- CyFair. Dissertation Title: Negotiating Race: Ethnic Mexicans and a White Racial Identity 1900-1940
I was born in Western Mass and raised in Western Wisconsin. I received a Bachelor of Arts in European History from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and currently working on a PhD in Colonial Latin American and Borderlands History. My research focuses on commodities and exchange in the context of the colonial Californias and broader Spanish Pacific.
Jecoa Ross is a PhD student specializing in Borderlands and U.S. history, with a third field concentration in the history of psychiatry and empire. He earned both his B.A. and M.A. in history from UTEP in 2013 and 2016 respectively, receiving the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis and Outstanding Master’s Thesis awards. Employing feminist and queer theory as well as a critical legal studies lens, Jecoa’s dissertation explores the creation, enforcement, and adjudication of the 1943 Texas sodomy statute from its enactment to the creation of the state’s homosexual conduct statute in 1973.
Raised in Lynwood, California, Daniel received his B.A. in Chicana/o Studies and History in 2012, completed his my MA in History in 2014 at California State University, Northridge. In 2014 I joined the History Department at UTEP. My dissertation studies Indigenous masculinities in the Tarascan (Purépecha) state and its borderlands from the pre-Hispanic to the early colonial period. My general research interests are Indigenous masculinities, gender and sexuality, queer theory, ethnohistory, and borderlands in North America. I am currently working for the UTEP Center for Metrics Based Planning where I contribute to institutional research in higher education issues.
Originally from Mexico, Maria Schrock graduated from Coachella Valley High School. She attended the College of the Desert in Southern California, the College of the Redwoods, and received her BA in History from Humboldt State University in 2008. In 2010 she received her MA in History from New Mexico State University, and joined the Borderlands Ph.D. program at UTEP later that year. Her dissertation focuses in the study of water issues between Mexico and the United States specifically focusing in the Water Treaty of 1944. Simultaneously she is a full time instructor at El Paso Community College. Maria Schrock is a recipient of the CONACyT and a Mellon Fellowships.
Born and raised in Mexico, Kimberly earned a BA in History from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and an MA in Archaeology from El Colegio de Michoacán. Her research focuses on both space and discourse analysis at the intersection of archaeological and historical fields. She is currently working on analyzing indigenous and Spanish perceptions through a phenomenological lens of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, a space discursively created during the sixteenth century and experienced in many different ways in daily basis.
RaeAnn Swanson-Evans received an MA in Public History from the University of Norther Iowa. After joining the PhD Program at UTEP in 2015, her research has focused on migration and detention, U.S.-Latin America relations, human rights, and environmental history. RaeAnn roots her research in transnational and public history to study circular flows of people, goods, and ideas across borders and utilizes oral histories. Alongside Thomas Kessler of the Postville Project, RaeAnn crafted the Community Voices: Postville Oral History Project, which formed the basis of her thesis titled “God Will Deliver Us”: Human Rights Abuses from Guatemala to Iowa and Back, 1980-2014.”
Laura Uribarri is a doctoral student in the Borderlands history program at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her research interests lie in the intersections of political jurisdictions, environmental resources, and economic interdependencies. Laura currently serves as an assistant dean in the College of Business Administration. Her previous career was in public policy and government relations. Laura holds an BA in International Relations from Stanford University, a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Maria G. Vallejo is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at El Paso. She was born in McAllen and raised in Weslaco, Texas. Vallejo attended UT-Pan American from 2006-2013, now UT-Rio Grande Valley, and received her BA in Social Studies Composite and MA in History. Deriving her inspiration from her hometown and family history, her research centers on the history of land grants, gender, class, race, and citizenship throughout the Spanish and early American period in South Texas. Her publications include “The Formation and Early Development of the Llano Grande" in?Yet More Studies in Rio Grande Valley History in 2015 and “Nuevo Santander: Its History and Life” in Journal of South Texas in 2013.
Juan Carlos Varela Bio
Juan Carlos Varela is a doctoral student in Borderlands History at the University of Texas-El Paso under the advisement of Dr. Sandra McGee Deutsch. His research interests include early twentieth-century Central America, imperialism, and examining how borderlands affect state sovereignty. In addition to pursuing his PhD, Varela has worked with different organizations in continuing to preserve local history.
Shawn M. Warswick has a BA in history, an M.Ed. in Education Administration and an MA in US-Mexico Borderlands history from the University of Texas-El Paso. Currently a Ph.D student, his research focuses on militarization and imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth century American west. Currently I am a high school teacher at Mission Early College High School in the Socorro Independent School District. Papers Presented: "Desert Stronghold: The Post Across from El Paso, American Empire and the Militarization of the U.S.-Mexican Border: 1848-1850." -PCB of the AHA Annual Conference, August 2018.