John Paul Paniagua

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History



John Paul Paniagua is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Princeton. He is broadly interested in the many ways that Native Americans experienced European colonization of the Americas. With particular focus on describing the day-to-day texture of living in far-flung Atlantic empires, John's research asks how, why, and when Native Americans crossed the Atlantic, took part in its commerce, or were thrust into oceanic diaspora during the early modern period.

His dissertation, “The Amerindian Antilles,” illuminates how Native Americans were a crucial component of Caribbean populations and how they played a consistent role throughout the course of colonial Caribbean history. Embracing an inter-imperial vision of the Caribbean, this project analyzes Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico in addition to mainland contexts in Florida, Carolina, and northern New Spain. Noteworthy discussions include the maritime world of the pre-Columbian Caribbean, an explication of the tensions between survival and suffering in the works of Las Casas, a narration of the often glossed over first century of Spanish colonization, and social histories of Indigenous cosmopolitans as well as slaves and domestics. As an ethnohistorian, John's research draws on recent findings in anthropology and bioarchaeology as well as an array of colonial documents from archives in Spain, England, Mexico, and Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica.

Before coming to Princeton, John earned his B.A. in history and economics from Whittier College, where he was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow (MMUF). At Princeton, John has been a Lassen Fellow in Latin American Studies, a Graduate Fellow for the Scholars Institute Fellows Program, and most recently, an Interdisciplinary Humanities Fellow. His research abroad has been funded by various campus initiatives and the Social Science Research Council.

Selected Publications