José Juan Pérez Meléndez

Jose Perez Melendez Portrait

Position Title
Assistant Professor

SSH 3226
Office Hours
Winter Quarter 2023: T 10:30am-12pm / Th 3:10-3:40pm


  • Ph.D., History, University of Chicago, 2016
  • M.A., History, University of Chicago, 2011
  • M.S., Urban Education, Mercy College, 2008
  • B.A., History, Princeton University, 2005


Professor José Juan Pérez Meléndez is a historian of Latin America and the Caribbean who specializes on nineteenth-century Brazil in broad Atlantic and world history contexts. His research centers on political, business and migratory dynamics that have shaped governmental mechanisms of population control and transport in the Americas. Before arriving at Davis, Professor Pérez Meléndez completed a postdoctoral stay as a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. He is currently writing Peopling for Profit: Colonization and the Brazilian Empire, 1808-1889, a book that charts the formation of early migration policy in Brazil in counterpoint to global processes.

Research Focus

The long nineteenth century, Global history, Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil, the Atlantic in the Age of Revolutions, migrations, slavery, business history and companies, nineteenth-century colonization, intellectual history.


  • "Outbreaks, Shares, and Contracts: The Press and the Migrant Trade in Early Imperial Brazil," in Celso Castilho, Teresa Cribelli, and Hendrik Kraay, eds. Press, Power, and Culture in Imperial Brazil (Albuquerque: New Mexico University Press, 2021).
  • “Reconsidering Colonization Policy in Brazil: The Regency Years and the World Beyond,” Revista Brasileira de História (2014)
  • Peopling for Profit: Colonization and the Brazilian Empire, 1808-1921 (book manuscript in progress)


Undergraduate Courses

  • The History of Latin America (1750-1898)
  • The History of Modern Brazil (1808 to the Present)
  • Latin American Migration History
  • Latin American Environmental History
  • Islands & Empire: U.S. Colonial Archipelagos from the Philippines to Puerto Rico
  • Frantz Fanon: The Work, Times, and Afterlives of an Anti-Colonialist Paragon

Graduate Seminars

  • Historiography of Brazil
  • The Dark Decades: Making Sense of Latin American Post-Independences
  • Settler Colonialism? Empire & Nation-Building in Latin America & Beyond
  • The Company: Business Organization, Managerial Practices, and Corporate Actors in Global History


  • UC Davis Society of Hellman Fellowship (2022-2023)
  • Davis Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship (2020-2021)
  • Wakeham Mentoring Fellowship (2019)
  • Sherman Emerging Scholar Lectureship, University of North Carolina, Wilmington (2019)
  • Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship, European University Institute (2016-2017)
  • American Council of Learned Societies Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2015-2016)
  • Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship (2013-2014)