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Damian Vergara Bracamontes

Profile picture for Damian Vergara Bracamontes

Contact Information

1205 W. Nevada
Urbana, IL 61801
Assistant Professor


Damian Vergara Bracamontes is a scholar of Latinx studies, critical prison studies, and queer and trans of color critique who focuses on Latinx migration in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.

His current project, “The Administration of Illegality and Mexican Migrant Life,” traces the formation and consolidation of illegality in a new phase of prolonged social exclusion and control. Placing government reports and policy briefs in dialogue with migrant narratives, this study foregrounds migrant experiences to describe illegality as a condition that impacts various arenas of everyday life and historicizes how the exclusion and management of the undocumented came to be a  “common sense” response at the local, state and federal levels over the course of the last 50 years. In particular, this study privileges the voices of Mexican women and transgender migrants in relation to cis-gendered migrant men to illuminate how race, gender and sexuality mutually constitute experiences of illegality.

Vergara-Bracamontes is also at work on a second project on LGBTQ immigrant detention. 

Recent works include:

His research has been presented at the Latina/o Studies Association, National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies and the American Studies Association and received generous support from the UIUC Humanities Research Institute, Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration and the Macmillan International Research Dissertation Fellowship.

In 2019 Damian was awarded the Public Scholar award by Yale University in recognition of his academic research’s concrete impact on society at large and his engagement with local communities and policy makers. He teaches know your rights and community defense workshops, is a registered expert with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, and has served as an expert witness of country conditions and gender violence in an asylum case.

Damian was listed as Teachers Ranked Excellent for 2021.

For 2022-2023 Damian will be an HRI faculty fellow. 


  • 2020 Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • 2017  WGSS Certificate, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • 2017  M.A., American Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • 2013  B.A., Ethnic Studies, University of California San Diego, CA. Awarded with honors and distinction, magna cum laude.
  • 2010  A.A. in Social and Behavioral Sciences, San Diego City Community College, CA. Awarded with honors.

Courses Taught

  • GWS 393  Policing Latinx (Im)migrant Communities
  • GWS 255 Queer Lives, Queer Politics
  • GWS/Hist 387 History of Sexuality 
  • GWS 201 Race, Gender, Power

Graduate Courses

  • GWS 580 Queer Theories and Methods