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I am an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Michigan, working in the field of colonial Latin American studies. My research focuses especially on race and racialization under Spanish colonialism, as well as broader issues of political economy, history, materiality, and indigenous studies/Nahuatl. My first book, Infrastructures of Race: Concentration and Biopolitics in Colonial Mexico (University of Texas Press, 2017), traces a genealogy of the forms and practices of spatial concentration as a technique of colonial governance. It argues that the sites at which bodies and objects were brought together for particular ends constitute the condition of possibility, or “infrastructure,” for the emergence and consolidation of new racial categories, subjectivities, and theories. One of the key questions it considers is the relation between these social formations and specific spatial orders, such as centralized towns, disciplinary institutions, segregated neighborhoods, and general collections. I have published articles on these and related topics in journals like Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Política Común, and Colonial Latin American Review.


Contact information

4122 Modern Languages Building
University of Michigan
812 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
dnemser at umich dot edu
Faculty page


Image from “Documentos en lengua nahuatl,” Archivo General de Indias, Guatemala 52, fol. 23r.

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