Arturo Luna Loranca


BS University of Illinois - Chicago

Research Interests

Colonial Latin American History
Early Modern Mexico
Animal Studies
Urban History


"Canines and the Making of Mexico City: Three hundred years of human-dog encounters, 1521-1821"

Faculty Advisors

Javier Villa-Flores
Yanna Yannakakis
Karen Stolley


A professor once told me that we always write about things that deeply concern us, even when writing about the past. I believe that he was right. My current dissertation project revolves around the shared history between humans and dogs in colonial Mexico City. My dissertation tries to demonstrate how the status of dogs differed depending on the status of their owners, the existing economic conditions, the process of colonization, and prevailing ideas about urbanization. Probably, the project was born based on my experiences living in Mexico City. As a child growing up in the borough of Tlalpan, my family and I “adopted” several stray dogs. Sometimes, they lived with us for prolonged periods, and, in other instances, they simply departed out of their own volition. Although this is solely a personal anecdote, it did inform my research about that particular quality that some dogs possess, not existing within fixed categories. As such, my dissertation focuses on the different kinds of relationships that humans and dogs developed, the value-generating processes that these animals engaged with varying groups of class, and moments in which cross-species categories collapse.