Dr. Cortez was raised in Robstown, Texas. Located along the southern coastal bend, this small town’s agricultural history, its landscapes, and its people is where Jonathan first composed their inspiration for historical inquiry alongside other community members. They began, and continue, their journey in the profession with efforts to preserve and remember the Chicana/o Movement – in addition to other histories not taught in K-12 schools – in South Texas.
From 2011-2015, Jonathan attended The University of Texas at Austin where they majored in Sociology and Mexican American Studies (now the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies). Here they were mentored by foundational scholars such as Emilio Zamora, Angela Valenzuela, and Néstor Rodriguez as well as scholars who have advanced scholarly fields such as Nicole Guidotti-Hernández and Monica Muñoz Martinez. Jonathan’s time in Austin was enhanced by their participation in the Longhorn Marching Band, the Ronald E. McNair Scholar’s Program, and as an intern for the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT). At graduation, Jonathan was inducted into the auspices of the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Distinguished Graduates and awarded the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Frederick A. Cervantes Student Premio for their historical research on the Chicano movement in South Texas.
Brown University is where they decided to undergo doctoral training. In the department of American Studies at Brown, Jonathan felt a deep sense of community, intellectual rigor, and the possibility to flourish. From 2015-2021 they engaged the fields of modern U.S. history, Latinx Studies, and race and space which led them to write their dissertation “The Age of Encampment: Race, Migration, Surveillance, and the Power of Spatial Scripts, 1933-1950.” Their research has been awarded numerous awards and fellowships such as the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship (2018-2021), the Immigration and Ethnic History’s (IEHS) George E. Pozzetta Dissertation Award (2021), and the Dissertation Prospectus Award from the South Labor Studies Association (2018).
While at Brown, Jonathan continued to work with Monica Muñoz Martinez as well as Matthew Guterl, Robert Self, Robert Lee, Elizabeth Hoover, Susan Smulyan, Françoise Hamlin, Steven Lubar, and many other scholars across campus. As a Ph.D. candidate, Dr. Cortez taught two courses at Brown, “Race and Space: Segregation, Suburbanization, and Sites of Encampment” and “Black Panthers, Brown Berets: Radical Social Movements of the Late 20th Century.” In April 2021 Jonathan received the Brown University Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching for these classes in Ethnic Studies.
Dr. Cortez is the César Chávez Provosts’ Postdoctoral Fellow (2021-2023) in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. They taught “U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History,” for the fall 2021 term. Their course was awarded a Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning Course Grant to host (via Zoom) three practitioners of borderlands/Latinx digital humanities to underscore the efforts underway to document, catalogue, and write about the lives of indigenous and other peoples of color across borders. Jonathan is currently working on a book proposal for their manuscript The Age of Encampment and simultaneously writing multiple journal articles at different stages of production.
Learn more about Dr. Cortez by accessing their curriculum vitae.
About Dr. Cortez ↗
Learn more about Jonathan. CV included.
What is it exactly they write about? Find out here.
Public Humanities ↗
Documenting, displaying, and preserving the histories of communities of color.