Evan Taparata, Ph.D

Evan Taparata, Ph.D

Evan Taparata, Ph.D

Assistant Professor
Department of History
Colu 2051

Biographical Information

Evan Taparata is an Assistant Professor of the 20th Century History of the United States in the World. His research and teaching interests revolve around migration, belonging, law, and empire in the 19th and 20th century United States. He is a member of the Migration Scholar Collaborative and has contributed to numerous digital public history projects, including the Humanities Action Lab’s “States of Incarceration” initiative and the #ImmigrationSyllabus. His scholarship has been published in the Journal of American Ethnic History, PublicBooks.org, and he has been a regular contributor to PublicRadioInternational.org both as a freelance writer and as the Interim Social Media Editor for PRI’s daily radio broadcast “The World.”

Taparata is currently at work on his first book manuscript, tentatively titled “Refuge of Oppression: The Making of the United States Refugee Regime.” From independence into the present, the United States has signaled its power and benevolence to the world by hailing its commitment to harboring displaced and persecuted peoples. Yet these claims obscure how the U.S. has excluded and even created refugees as much as it has welcomed them. Most scholars who study this complicated history of refuge associate it with overseas imperialism, foreign policy, and the rise of U.S. hegemony in the 20th century. In contrast, Taparata’s research untangles how settler colonialism, slavery, and anti-immigrant xenophobia have shaped the U.S. as a place of refuge since the nation’s founding era. His book hopes to encourage conversations about the relationship of refugee policy in the post-1945 era with these foundational forms of dispossession and unfreedom at the root of U.S. empire.

Prior to joining UCCS, Taparata was a 2020-2022 Postdoctoral Fellow in Global American Studies at Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, where he taught in the Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights Program. From 2018-2020 he was the Jack Miller Center Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy. He is a proud community college graduate, among the first in his family to go to college, and the first in his entire extended family to earn a PhD.

Areas of Interest

  • U.S. in the World
  • 19th and 20th Century United States History
  • Migration
  • Histories of U.S. Empire
  • Legal History
  • Citizenship and Belonging
  • Public History and Digital Humanities

Honors, Fellowships, and Awards

  • Wallace Johnson Program for First Book Authors, American Society for Legal History, 2019-2020
  • Best Dissertation Award in the Arts and Humanities, University of Minnesota Graduate School, May 2019
  • Honorable Mention, Outstanding Dissertation Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society, April 2019
  • Jefferson Scholars Foundation National Fellowship, University of Virginia, 2017-2018
  • Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2016-2017
  • John Higham Research Fellowship, Organization of American Historians, 2016
  • Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Humanities Without Walls Consortium Summer Workshop, Chicago, IL, July 18-August 5, 2016
  • Fellow, J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, June 14-27, 2015
  • Cromwell Research Fellowship, William Nelson Cromwell Foundation and American Society for Legal History, 2015
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Short-Term Research Fellowship, 2015


  • PhD, University of Minnesota, History, 2018
  • MA, University of Minnesota, History, 2013
  • BA, Rutgers University, History and English, 2009
  • AA, Brookdale Community College, Liberal Studies, 2006