About Paul Ruiz-Requena

First-generation scholar interested in the history of the Mexican borderlands and beyond. I am currently a history PhD candidate at the University of Texas Arlington.

Born in Mexico City in 1989, I came to the United States at a young age and spent the rest of my childhood growing up in Houston, Texas. Through my education at Sam Houston State University and The University of Texas Arlington, I learned about the importance of history in the contemporary culture and politics of the United States. As an aspiring professional historian, I seek to spread awareness of the power of history as a tool used to legitimize or challenge the actions and ideas that shape the world we live in, to awaken others to the reality that history is more than just the study of names and dates.

My current research involves examining newspapers published by Mexican migrants living in the United States in the early 20th century. These newspapers were dominated by the writings of political exiles from the Mexican Revolution who sought to influence the outcome of the conflict from across the border. Individuals like Ignacio Lozano and Ricardo Flores Magón produced publications that reached both U.S. and Mexican audiences in the borderlands. Even more fascinating, these newspapers counted among their staff of writers and contributors people who would go on to become political players in Mexico after the Revolution. This history shows the connections between Mexican communities on both sides of the border and further complicates the peculiar relationship that is still ongoing between the United States and Mexico.

My Teaching Philosophy

As a historian, I endeavor to bring attention to specific instances of the past that have come to define our present. For me, change over time is the product of interactions between the choices we make and the ongoing processes that nature, people, and institutions have unleashed across time and space. As an instructor, my goal is to help students acquire the skills of historical thinking, to equip them with the tools they need to critically analyze the past. My hope is that students leaving my class will be better equipped to understand the long-term historical processes that are actively shaping the world around them. To achieve this, I focus on a mixture of lecture and active learning through the use of direct engagement techniques that place students into contact with primary sources. My focus on primary sources is aimed at exposing students to new perspectives on familiar historical events, which will push them to engage with the constructed nature of historical narrative. This should lead them to question established narratives, to ask who and what these narratives benefit, and to formulate their own conclusions as to why certain narratives are so prevalent in our cultures. Students should leave my class with an understanding of how history is used to legitimize or challenge the actions and ideas that shape the present they live in.