A. S. Dillingham is a historian and Associate Professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. He serves on the organizing collective of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas and the editorial committee of the journal Labor: Studies in Working-Class History. Dillingham holds a PhD in History from the University of Maryland. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, NACLA Report, Animal Político, and Jacobin.
Dillingham’s research focuses on the historical experiences of Native peoples of the Americas. In particular, he has focused on twentieth-century Mexico, the intersection of anticolonial politics and educational and development policy, and labor and youth-led social movements.
His first book, Oaxaca Resurgent: Indigeneity, Development, and Inequality in Twentieth-Century Mexico (Stanford University Press, 2021) won two awards; the American Society for Ethnohistory's Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Book Award and the Conference on Latin American History's María Elena Martínez Prize in Mexican History. Oaxaca Resurgent traces the contested history of Mexican indigenista policy and how Indigenous people of southern Mexico advocated for alternative forms of development and anticolonial education.
He is currently working on a second book project, a transnational analysis of land, labor, and development initiatives in areas of North American “frontier” settlement. This project examines racialized conflicts over twentieth-century land reform, policies of Native resettlement, and the multiple legacies of slavery.
The questions which drive Dillingham’s research agenda began at a young age. Growing up in a white family with a Choctaw grandfather, indigeneity was something that felt both close and at the same time distant. The white side of the family made casual jokes about Indians while his grandfather shared stories of Indian Country and the Trail of Tears. In high school, Dillingham found himself in Mexico, studying Spanish in the aftermath of an Indigenous uprising led by the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional. These experiences led him to study history as a way of making sense of himself and the broader world. An enrolled tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Dillingham seeks to connect the history and politics of Native peoples across the Americas in his teaching and scholarship.