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Jesus Ruiz

Jesús G. Ruiz is currently a National Academy of Sciences Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Caribbean History. Dr. Ruiz earned his Doctorate with distinction from Tulane University’s Latin American Studies program in May of 2020. More recently, he was an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University.


His research—situated at the intersections of Caribbean & Latin American History, the African Diaspora, and the Digital Humanities—focuses specifically on the histories of the Black Atlantic, Afro-Latin America, and Colonial and Early Modern Haiti. He has taught Latin American Studies courses both at Tulane—where he won the William J. Griffith Award—and Vanderbilt, where it appears he made quite the splash among a certain Vanderbilt sports star. At Duke University, he taught Colonial Latin America, as well as Intro to Digital Humanities. 


Under the auspices of the Ford Foundation, Dr. Ruiz will spend his time at Vanderbilt revising his dissertation into a book manuscript tentatively titled The Black Royalists: Haiti and A Politics of Freedom in the Atlantic World. The project explores the royalist history of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and argues that the Revolution should be interpreted as part of a broader wave of “popular royalist” movements in the Spanish Empire, including revolts in the Andes region in the 1780s and the insurrections that broke out after Napoleon’s occupation of Spain in 1808. Dr. Ruiz thus reorients Haitian revolutionary debates from French-, British-, and U.S. centered interpretations to sketch a broader framework that includes the Spanish Empire as well as West and Central Africa. In doing so, he traces royalism as a relevant political force running through the Revolution, and provides a lens through which to understand a Black politics during the Age of Revolution that did not fit neatly into teleological liberal and republican tropes. In turn, The Black Royalists promises to be the first monograph to analyze the political history of royalism in Haiti’s revolutionary past.  


Dr. Ruiz’s work has been funded by fellowships from the Ford Foundation, ACLS, Fulbright, the Schomburg Center, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. He has conducted much of his research and writing as a visiting scholar at the Instituto de Historia del Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (IH-CCHS/CSIC) in Madrid and the Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos (EEHA) in Seville and, in France, at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. He’s also been a Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.


Dr. Ruiz’s research and writing on Haiti has resulted in public-facing publications and awards. In March of this year, he wrote about the situation in Haiti for Weave News. More recently, he published an essay about Haiti and the current plight of Haitian asylum seekers in The Washington Post. He is currently at work on revising an article titled “I Burn My Nation: The Transimperial Politics of Royalism in the Haitian Revolution,” which is based on research he presented at Duke’s reputable “tgiFHI series.” He has forthcoming book reviews with the Bulletin of Latin American Research and H-Haiti, and has published one for Cadernos de Traduçao. His research has also been featured in a podcast series for the Hagley Library in Delaware, and on the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s web-based blog. Dr. Ruiz also presented his work at Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin America, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies’ (CLACX) “Haiti Week” this past Spring. He has won the Edward H. Moseley Award from The Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS), and the Richard E. Greenleaf Award for Best Graduate Paper in the Social Sciences from Tulane University. 


With a deeply trans-disciplinary formation, Ruiz holds a B.A. (2008) in Spanish from St. Lawrence University, with a minor in Latin American & Caribbean Studies, and an M.A. (2012) in Caribbean Cultural Studies from The State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was an Arturo A. Schomburg Fellow. He is a first generation citizen of the U.S. born in Los Angeles, CA to parents from Sonora, Mexico, and was raised in Mesa, Arizona. Outside of academia, he’s very passionate about New Orleans, loves to watch and play basketball and to hop around Nashville’s multiple parks on bikes with his wife and two-year-old son. If you don’t catch him on campus, or at a park, you can find him on twitter: @PhDJesus.