Pedro recently earned his Ph.D. in American studies from Yale University, where his interests center around race, immigration, capitalism, and the built environment in twentieth-century cities. His dissertation titled, “Where Angels Fear to Tread: Latina/os, Work, and the Making of New York,” tells a history of New York City since World War II through the lens of Latina/o economic activity including manufacturing, small business, banking, drug capitalism, and service work. In 2017, the Society for American City & Regional Planning History (SACRPH) awarded his paper, “Fixed Capital: Building Transition and Drug Capitalism in New York City, 1961-1997,” the best student paper at the 17th National Conference on Planning History, held in Cleveland, Ohio. Pedro’s work has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, and Public Seminar. He received his B.A. from Loyola University Chicago (2013). Regalado received his B.A. in history from Loyola University and his M.A. and M.Phil. in American studies from Yale University. Pedro will join the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow this fall.
Where Angels Fear to Tread: Latina/os, Work, and the Making of New York, 1945-2000
“Where Angels Fear to Tread: Latina/os, Work, and the Making of New York, 1945-2000” presents a history of New York City from the post-World War II period into the twenty-first century through the understudied lens of diverse Latina/o economic activity, including manufacturing, small business, banking, drug capitalism, and service work. New York’s Latina/o population grew from roughly 134,000 in 1940 to over 2 million by 2000 to represent a third of the city’s residents. And while historians have documented how racialized housing confinement circumscribed Latina/o life opportunities throughout this period, they have done less to illustrate the ways in which work— the efforts that individuals and communities made to survive and to profit— shaped the evolution of New York’s Latina/o community and, in turn, their impact on the future of Gotham. In thinking capaciously about work, Pedro’s dissertation reconstructs how poor Latina/o immigrants lived through the evolving, racialized political economy of New York across these turbulent decades. It argues that at each turn of the city’s economic life, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Colombians, Mexicans, and Central Americans found themselves at the center of urban change, impacting the policies and racial configurations that local and federal governments promoted.