Color photograph of the head and shoulders of a dark skinned mean with a salt and pepper beard wearing glasses and a light blue open collar shirt; he looks at the camera in a serious way

Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Lucy Shoe Meritt Resident in Classical Studies and Archaeology
April 24–June 16, 2023
Associate Professor of Classics, Princeton University

Dan-el Padilla Peralta is an associate professor of classics at Princeton. Born in the Dominican Republic, Padilla came to the United States with his family when he was four years old. They lived in shelters in New York City, yet, overcoming these extraordinary disadvantages, Padilla won a scholarship to attend the Collegiate School where he learned Greek and Latin. He then attended Princeton and graduated summa cum laude. Following Princeton, Padilla studied at Oxford and received a PhD from Stanford University.

Padilla’s research focuses on the Roman Republic and early Empire as well as classical reception in contemporary American and Latin American cultures. His interests are connected by “an enduring concern with patterns of cultural and intellectual exchange.” He is also known for his activism both on issues of national policy relating to immigration as well as within the field of classics. In 2021, the New York Times Magazine profiled Padilla in an article called “He Wants to Save Classics from Whiteness. Can the Field Survive?

Padilla served on the editorial board of the journal Eidolon, to which he also contributed articles. He has written two books: Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic (2020), which was awarded the American Historical Association’s Herbert Baxter Adams Prize; and a memoir called Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (2015), winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Padilla has also coedited two books: Rome, Empire of Plunder: The Dynamics of Cultural Appropriation (2017) with Carolyn MacDonald and Matthew P. Loar; and Making the Middle Republic: New Approaches to Rome and Italy, c. 400–200 BCE with Seth Bernard (2011 Fellow) and Lisa Marie Mignone (2007 Fellow), forthcoming in 2023.