Graduate Student Directory

Priscilla Marie Martinez
  • Title
    • Ph.D. Candidate in U.S. History
    • THI Public Fellow
    • Scholar in Residence, Tucson Chinese Cultural Center
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History Department
    • Latin American & Latino Studies
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, Humanities 1, 232
  • Office Hours Wednesdays, 11:00—1:00 P.M., or by appointment
  • Mail Stop History Department

Summary of Expertise

Teaching Assistantships: University of California, Santa Cruz, 2013-Present

  • HIS 12: Introduction to Latinx History, Fall 2017
  • HIS 125A: Indigenous History of California, Spring 2017
  • HIS 10B: U.S. History from 1877 to 1977, Winter 2017
  • HIS 100: Historical Skills and Methods, Fall 2016
  • HIS 10B: U.S. History from 1877 to 1977, Summer 2016
  • HIS 9: Introduction to Native American History, Spring 2016
  • HIS 40B: Modern East Asia, Winter 2016
  • HIS 110D: Civil War and Reconstruction, Fall 2015
  • HIS 134B: Colonial Mexico, Summer  2015
  • HIS 134A: Colonial Mexico, Spring 2015
  • HIS 11A: Colonial Latin America, Winter 2015
  • HIS 110C: American Capitalism, Fall 2014
  • HIS 12: Introduction to Latin@ American History, Spring 2014
  • HIS 128: Chican@ History, Fall 2013

Graduate Assistantships: Baylor University, Waco, Texas

  • Baylor University Institute for Oral History, 2009-2013
    • Graduate Assistant, editor, auditor, 2011-2013
    • Processing Technician, Transcriptionist, 2009-2011

Research Interests

Working Title of Dissertation: "By Land and by Sea: Indigeneity, Mestizaje, and Nationalism at the Western-Pacific Borderlands from 1824-1934."


This study, “By Land and by Sea: Indigeneity, Mestizaje, and Nationalism at the Western-Pacific Borderlands from 1824-1934,” examines the intersections of early-nineteenth-century racial exclusion with early-twentieth-century articulations of nationalism in the United States and Mexico. This region refers to the landed and maritime spaces that include San Diego, California, Tucson, Arizona, and Hermosillo, Sonora, and the Guaymas littoral and Baja California peninsula, whose arid landscape proved challenging to the Spanish colonial project and later the Mexican and American national projects. The primordial movements and customs of semi-nomadic indigenous peoples made it difficult for colonial and national bodies to incorporate the region and its peoples as subjects. This project seeks to understand how Indigenous responses to non-native settlement in the Western-Pacific borderlands modified the Spanish imperial project in ways that dictated Mexico’s national project and, by extension, the United States. The early-nineteenth century represented a critical moment when the nascent Mexican Republic struggled to restructure itself after three hundred years of Spanish imperial rule in ways that embraced racial hybridity as quintessentially Mexican. While Mexico’s dedication to a multiethnic national body seemed a drastic pivot from its colonial past, in practice it still hinged on ingrained colonial forms that equated whiteness with power and privilege. At the same moment, the United States found itself in search of territorial holdings in the elusive West that challenged American ideas of race and sovereignty in its pre-imperial period. Where the Mexican state used the discourse of assimilation to erase and dispossess native peoples, the United States utilized the explicit language of racial exclusion to establish strict hierarchies that placed indigenous lifeways in direct opposition to Anglo civilization.   In the mid- to late-nineteenth century as the United States and the Mexico strove to colonize the Pacific West to secure territory and a gateway to new markets, a complex borderland region was created that in the struggle for incorporation necessitated not only a redefinition of physical borders, but also borders of social belonging.


Dissertation Advisor/Chair of Dissertation Committee: Dr. Grace Peña Delgado (History)

Other Dissertation Reading Committee Members: Dr. Catherine Jones (History), Dr. Amy Lonetree (History), and Dr. Gabriela Arredondo (LALS)

Biography, Education and Training

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  • Ph. D. Candidate in History, University of California, Santa Cruz,  2013-Present
    Advanced with Honors and Distinction, 2016
  • M.A.  in American Studies, Baylor University, 2013
    Thesis Title: “Here We Remain: The Legacy of El Movimiento in Crystal City,
  • B.A. in History with minors in Political Science and World Affairs,
    Baylor University,  2011

Honors, Awards and Grants

Grants. Fellowships, and Awards

  • Cliff Kuhn Scholarship Awardee, 2017
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, 2017
  • PCB-AHA Presidents’ Graduate Student Travel Award, 2017
  • Institute for Humanities Research Public Fellow, 2017-Present
  • Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, Scholar in Residence, 2017-Present
  • UCSC Teaching Assistant Fellowship, 2013-Present
  • UCSC Summer Research Fellowship, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • UCSC Regent’s Fellowship, 2014
  • UCSC Non-Resident Tuition Fellowship, 2013-2014
  • Oral History Association Graduate Student Conference Scholarship, 2012, 2013
  • BUIOH Graduate Student Fellowship, 2011-2013
  • Baylor University Graduate Student Travel Grant, 2011-2013
  • Hudson E. Long Fellowship, 2011-2013
  • NEH Graduate Student Researcher Fellowship for "Breaking New Ground" Oral History Project, 2011

Selected Presentations

Conference Papers:

  • 2018 – “‘This rather mythical locality’: Indigeneity, Sovereignty, and Power in the Rio Colorado Basin” submitted for consideration at the Western Historical Association 2018 Annual Conference on 17-20 October 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.
  • 2018 – “Chinese Tucson: Community, Identity, and Public Memory in the U.S.- Mexico Borderlands,” to be presented at the Southwestern Oral History Association 2018 Annual Conference on 27-29 April 2018 in Fullerton, California.
  • 2017 – “From Q&A to Oral History: Building a Community Oral History Program with Tucson’s Chinese Cultural Center,” to be presented at the Oral History Association 2017 Annual Conference on 6 October 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • 2017 – “Fluid Borders: Contextualizing Indigeneity and Mestizaje in the Western-Pacific Borderlands,” to be presented at the American Historical Association-Pacific Branch 2017 Annual Conference on 4 August 2017 in Northridge, California.
  • 2016 – “Reading across Borders: Contextualizing Indigenismo within Pacific West U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Scholarship,” presented at the University of California, Davis, 2016 Graduate History Conference, ‘Historians without borders, History without limits” on 9 April 2016 in Davis, California.


Selected Recordings

Research Projects:

  • “Tucson Speaks!: Finding Place, Finding Home” Oral History Project, 2017-2018
    Tucson Chinese Cultural Center
    6 interviews conducted as of December 2017
  • “Here We Remain” Oral History Project, 2012-2013
    Institute for Oral History, Baylor University
    14 oral history interviews conducted, deposited
    at the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University
  • “Breaking New Ground” Oral History Project, NEH Researcher for Texas, 2011
    Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    14 oral history interviews conducted, co-deposited at the
    Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    and at the Institute for Oral History, Baylor University

Teaching Interests

  • Nineteenth- and twentieth-century North American history, Transimperial and transnational North American West, U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
  • Belonging, Citizenship, Immigration, Migration, Nationalism, and Sexuality Studies in North America
  • Indigenous studies, Legal Borderlands, Maritime Borders
  • Chicana/Chicano history, Lantinx history
  • Oral History, Public History, Digital Humanities

Guest Lectures, Panels, and Workshops

  • “From Statelessness to Recognition to Revival: Transborder Communities on the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” Guest Lecture to be given in HIS 125A: California Indigenous History, University of California, Santa Cruz, 23 May 2017.
  • “Graduate School Workshop: History and Related Fields,” Panelist, UCSC History Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, 28 February 2017.
  • “Writing for History,” Guest Lecture, HIS 10B: U.S. History, 1877 to 1977, University of California, Santa Cruz, 19 August 2016.
  • “Mexico’s “Indian Problem”: Indigenismo and Mestizaje in the Post-Revolutionary U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” Guest Lecture, HIS9: Introduction to Native American History, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2 June 2016.
  • “Graduate School Workshops: History and Related Fields,” Panel, UCSC History Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, 27 April 2016.
  • Chican@s y El Movimiento: Past and Progress,” Guest Lecture, MECHA Student Orientation, University of California, Santa Cruz, 11 April 2015.
  • “Manifest Destiny and the U.S.-Mexico War,” Guest Lecture, HIS 12: Introduction to Latino American History, University of California, Santa Cruz, 15 April 2014.
  • El Movimiento: Chicano Social Mobilization in the American West,” Guest Lecture, HIS 128: Chicana/o History, University of California, Santa Cruz, 25 October 2013.