Meet the Fellows: 2017 Newcombe Fellow Daisy Vargas

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is the nation’s largest and most prestigious award for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values. The 2017 class of Fellows includes Daisy Vargas, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of California—Riverside.

As I drove across the Southwest into New Mexico, I was struck by the variety of place names—the towns with Spanish, English, and in Native names reflected the layered and tangled histories of the U.S-Mexico border region.  The names reflect the histories I look for in the archive—culture, nation, religion and geographies woven in creativity, in resistance, in defiance, and in survival. For me, the best part about being a scholar of this region is learning how to articulate the histories of the past and the ways they echo in the present.  Every ethnographic site and historical archive holds the stories of their communities—in that sense, I am a storyteller.

Ms. Vargas’ dissertation title is Mexican Religion on Trial: Race, Religion and the Law in the U.S.- Mexico Borderlands. For more information on the 2017 Newcombe Fellows and to see a list of their dissertation titles, click here.


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