Graduate Student Directory

Christian David Alvarado
  • Title
    • PhD Candidate
  • Division Graduate Studies Division
  • Department
    • Humanities Division
  • Affiliations Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Humanities & Social Sciences Building, 366
  • Mail Stop History Of Consciousness

Summary of Expertise

Christian's dissertation ("The Storm in Kenya": Mau Mau in Systems of Thought) examines the history and historiography of what is most commonly known as the Mau Mau Uprising, with an emphasis on its international ramifications and significance for the African continent more generally. His project aims to show how different interpretations of Mau Mau interfaced with contemporary historiographical, political, and cultural contexts by drawing on the semiotic and material landscapes upon which these understandings were articulated. More broadly, the aim of his dissertation is to understand how shifting historical and popular narratives of specific struggles are re-worked within diverse sets of discourses embedded in broader power structures. 

Research Interests

Christian's primary research interests lie in modern African history, Mau Mau studies, critical historiography, and the history of education. He is also interested in the role of translation and interaction between traditionally-siloed imperial contexts, and conducts research across Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone boundaries.

Biography, Education and Training

Christian is a PhD candidate in the History of Concsiousness Department, with a designated emphasis in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada before studying economics at the University of Nevada in Reno as an undergraduate. Prior to coming to UCSC, he earned a Master's degree in History from San Diego State. During his time at SDSU, he worked as an apprentice carpenter. His thesis examined historiographical and social science discourse at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in relation to nationalism and contemporary understandings of gender. 

Honors, Awards and Grants


Grants and Awards

- Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow (Fall 2017-Spring 2019)


- Humanities Institute Summer Research Fellow (Summer 2018)


- UCSC Graduate Student Union Travel Grant (Summer 2018)


- SSRC-DPD Fellow (Summer 2019)


- Center for Archival Research and Training Fellow (Summer-Fall 2019)


- THI Summer Dissertation Fellow (Summer 2020)


- CITL Graduate Pedagogy Fellow (Winter 2021)


- MLA Summer Teaching Institute (Summer 2021)


- Hayden White Fellow in Historical and Cultural Theory (Summer 2021)


- ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow (AY 2022-2023) 


- Ford Foundation Dissertation Completion Fellow (Declined, AY 2022-2023)


- UC President's Pre-Professoriate Fellowship (Declined, AY 2022-2023)

Selected Publications

Forthcoming: "Mau Mau as Method," History in Africa, Vol. 49 (Winter 2020). 


“‘In the Spirit of Harambee: Kenyan Student Unions in the German Democratic Republic and Yugoslavia, 1964-68,” in Socialist Encounters: Relations, Transfers and Exchanges between Africa and East Germany (Berlin: DeGruyter, 2020).

Teaching Interests

As an instructor of record, Christian has taught HistCon's upper-division "Politics of Violence" course, focusing in particular on the African continent. He has also taught courses in the history of education and pedagogical theory at San Jose State University. As a TA at UCSC, he has served on teaching teams in History of Consciousness, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, and Feminist Studies. More broadly, he is interested in approaches to teaching African history that center understandings of the Continent's definitional status, stuggles against colonialism and neocolonialism, and challenge the field's marginalization within world history.