Alejandro Guardado

Alejando Guardado


A.A. Santa Ana College
B.A. University of California Irvine
M.A. California State University – Los Angeles

Research Interests

Modern Mexico
State Violence
Religious Social History

Dissertation Topic

A Popular Catholicism in Cold War Mexico

Faculty Advisors

Javier Villa-Flores
Yanna Yannakakis


I am a first generation Ph.D. student who researches topics such as state violence, social movements, community organizing, and religious activism. My upbringing consisted of being the youngest brother to 8 other siblings, the son of two Mexican immigrants, and the descendent of agricultural laborers. As someone who grew up in southern California in communities that were primarily composed of Mexicans and Central Americans, my analytical questions concerning Mexico and other Latin American countries began at a very young age. Studying history and graduating from institutions like Santa Ana College, the University of California, Irvine, and California State University, Los Angeles, provided me the means to conduct research in Mexican archives, present my studies in international conferences, continue to expand my research questions, and also meet lifelong mentors.

My specific research interests explore how religious individuals and communities participated in grassroots activism during the 1950s to the late 1980s. Within this period popular mobilizations sparked throughout both the countryside and in cities and Mexico underwent a Dirty War where thousands of people were disappeared and tortured. Meanwhile, dictatorships developed throughout the continent, and a minority within the Catholic Church began to become radicalized and participated in popular struggles. My research builds off of the already existing literature on Mexico’s Dirty War and Latin American Third Worldism by examining how lay people contributed to grassroots labor movements, human rights campaigns, autonomous community projects, and solidarity networks throughout the continent. While hoping to specifically research in Mexican states like Morelos, Chiapas, and Oaxaca, I also aim for my studies to connect Mexican liberationists to Catholic organizing in Central America. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding my research or applying to Emory’s graduate program.