David-James Gonzales (DJ) is a native of Southern California. He began his collegiate studies at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista, CA and completed his B.A. in History summa cum laude at the University of California, San Diego in 2011. In 2017, he completed the Ph.D. in History at the University of Southern California writing a dissertation on the Mexican American struggle against segregation in Orange County, CA from 1920 to 1950. From 2017-18, he was Preceptor in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, where he taught courses on Latina/o/x politics and Borderlands History in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity. During that same time, he lectured in the Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies at UCLA, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses on Latina/o/x Urbanism and urban social inequality. In 2019, he was named a Young Scholar fellow by the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame and a SITPA fellow by Duke University and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In 2021, DJ was awarded the Career Enhancement Fellowship by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly Woodrow Willson National Fellowship) and the Butler Young Scholar Award by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies.
DJ is also a producer and host of the scholarly book review podcast “New Books in Latino Studies,” part of the New Books Network, available on Apple podcasts, Stitcher, and on demand at: http://newbooksnetwork.com/category/peoples-places/latino-studies/.
DJ’s research centers on the relationship between migration, urbanization, and civil rights in Southern California. His scholarship has been published in academic journals and anthologies including the Journal of American Ethnic History, AmericanStudies, and 50 Events that Shaped Latino History. His current book project, tentatively titled Breaking Down the Walls of Segregation: Mexican Americans, Grassroots Politics, and Civil Rights in Orange County, CA, 1890-1965, maps a new vision for the history of Orange County that centers on the lived experiences and seminal impact of ethnic Mexicans and their fight against social, economic, and political marginalization.