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S.J.D. Candidate
Harvard College Teaching Fellow
Senior Resident Tutor
LL.M. Advisor
esanchez at


Before “The Cosmic Race”: Law, Nation-Making, and Racial Ideologies in Twentieth Century Mexico

In this dissertation, I aim to map the use of legal spaces to advance contending national projects grounded on conflicting notions of difference and race in twentieth-century Mexico. In the wake of the Mexican Revolution, a prominent social conflict that completely remade the socio-political arrangements of the country between 1910 and 1917, the state’s reconfiguration allowed for a moment of experimentation and uncertainty regarding the national narrative and identity. The Revolution disestablished the official notions of race, nation, and belonging under which the previous regime operated but did not immediately replace them. This research aims to recover the footprints left by the politicians, public officials, intellectuals, union leaders, and scientists who struggled within legal spaces to establish their racial ideology as the Revolution’s ideology.

In a context of indeterminate legal and institutional continuities and ruptures, I seek to determine the incentives and barriers for different racial projects and ideologies of difference at the local level. I analyze conflictive institutional spaces (church-state affairs, public health, public education, and public morality and policing) and explain how the moment of dislocation fostered by the Revolution enabled actors at a local government level to push for contending ideological projects before the crystallization of what would be known as the official racial stance of the revolutionary regime: Mestizaje. This approach seeks to highlight Mestizaje’s bottom-up and contingent character and the law’s race-making power.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Racialization Process under and through the Law with Professor Kenneth W. Mack, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Constitutional Change and Minority Rights with Professor Martha Minow, Harvard Law School
  • Mexico’s Historical Construction of Racial Identities with Professor Alejandro de la Fuente, History Department, Harvard University
  • The Political Economy of Anti-Discrimination Law with Professor Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School

First Year Reading Lists for the Above Fields

Additional Research Interests

  • Religious conflict and nation-making
  • Religious approaches to racial ideologies
  • History of Christianity in the Americas
  • Local government and race-making
  • Human rights and legal multiculturalism
  • Property Law
  • Critical Legal Studies
  • Legal theory
  • Legal history


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate, 2019 – Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M. Program 2018 – 2019 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • Ibero-American University Puebla, M.A. in Communication and Social Change, Cum Laude, 2015 – 2018
  • Ibero-American University Puebla, Licenciatura en Derecho, Summa Cum Laude, 2010 – 2015

Representative Publications

Journal Service

  • Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, 2022-2023, Editor in Chief
  • Harvard Latin American Law Review, 2021-2022, Article Editor
  • Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, 2019-2021, Article Editor
  • Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, 2018, Subciter

Additional Information

Last Updated: June 6, 2024