About Erika Pérez
Areas of Study
Editorial advisor, Women in the American West series, University of Oklahoma Press
I have just published a monograph on interethnic godparenting, sexuality and marriage in early Southern California, which shows how people wielded and responded to colonial power in their everyday intimate encounters. My book traverses the Spanish, Mexican and early American periods from 1769 to 1885, emphasizing the role of Spanish-Mexican women as agents of Spanish colonization, and indigenous and Spanish-Mexican women as shapers and sustainers of their cultures and communities through honorific roles, such as godmother and midwife. My book shows how foreign men Mexicanized themselves to acculturate into Spanish-Mexican society, and how the mixed offspring of interethnic couples negotiated their identities in the aftermath of changing racial and political landscapes in nineteenth-century California. I pay particular attention to the gendering of biethnic children's experiences and the unevenness of conquest, even among members of the same family. Lastly, I examine the ongoing struggles and survival of indigenous families, and ongoing waves of violence against indigenous and Spanish-speaking women in the wake of the Gold Rush. Although the regional focus of my book is rooted in southern California, I am interested broadly in the history of the American West and the Spanish Borderlands, particularly in empire-building projects, and identity-formation and negotiations by people of mixed descent. I am also interested in indigenous histories of resistance and cultural survival throughout early North America.
Colonial Intimacies: Interethnic Kinship, Sexuality, and Marriage in Southern California, 1769-1885 (University of Oklahoma Press, January 2018).
“Family, Spiritual Kinship, and Social Hierarchy in Early California” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14, no. 4 (Fall 2016): 661-687. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/eam.2016.0024
"The Paradox of Kinship: Native-Catholic Communities in Alta California, 1769-1840s," in On the Borders of Love and Power, edited by David Wallace Adams and Crista DeLuzio (University of California Press, 2012).
"'Saludos from your comadre:' Compadrazgo as a Community Institution in Alta California, 1769-1860s," California History: The Journal of the California Historical Society 88, no. 4 (September 2011): 47-62, notes 70-73. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23052285
Web Review, Huntington Library's "The Early California Population Project," Common-Place.org 10, no. 4 (July 2010). http://www.common-place-archives.org/web-library/2010-07.shtml
UA History Undergraduate Courses:
Hist 280 (Spring 2019) Sports and Ethnic America: 1900 to present
Hist 296 (Spring 2019) Social uprisings and riots in America
Hist/GWS 254 (Spring) U.S. Women's History: 1890 to Present
Hist/GWS 253 (Fall): U.S. Women's History: Colonial to 1890
Hist 498 (scheduled Fall 2019) Senior Capstone: Sports History as U.S. History
Hist 458/558 (Spring 2018) Topics in Comparative Women's History: Witchcrazes and the Supernatural (co-convened undergraduate & graduate students)
Hist 695H (Fall 2017) Advanced Topics in Comparative History: Global Borderlands
Hist 495/595F (Spring 2016) Topics in U.S. History: U.S. Women of Color (co-convened undergraduate/graduate)
Hist 695A (Spring 2015) Advanced Topics in U.S. History: Native American Battles for Tribal Sovereignty and Self-Determination