Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Dan-el Padilla Peralta came to the United States with his family at the age of four. After overstaying their visas and falling out of legal immigration status, he and his family lived in poverty and spent a year in New York City’s shelter system. With the support of mentors, he was admitted to Collegiate, a private all-boys’ school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, from which he graduated cum laude in 2002. He received his AB in Classics summa cum laude from Princeton University, where he was chosen salutatorian of the class of 2006; his MPhil in Greek and Roman History (Classics) from the University of Oxford; and his PhD in Classics from Stanford University. He is currently a Mellon Research Fellow and Lecturer in Classics at Columbia University. In the summer of 2016, he will be returning to Princeton as an assistant professor in Classics.
His newly published memoir Undocumented (Penguin Press, 2015) recounts his coming of age as an undocumented immigrant in the many communities he came to call home. A historian of Roman culture, Dr. Padilla has written on ceramics as evidence for pilgrimage in mid-republican Rome and is now plugging away at a monograph on the religious world of the Roman Republic (under contract with Princeton University Press). His writings on ancient immigrants and contemporary politics have appeared in Eidolon and Newsweek. Projects currently gestating include a co-edited volume on appropriation in Roman culture, two article-length explorations of classical reception in the 19th and 20th-century Hispanic Caribbean, and a study of forms of citizenship ancient and modern.