"Uncovering the past is an exciting journey of discovery. For me, history is often far more fascinating than fiction."

Eduardo Pagán is the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at Arizona State University.

Although he specializes in the American Southwest, he has a broad interest in all things historical.

"One of the really fascinating things about teaching the history of the American Southwest is that you really have to have a firm grounding in world history in order to understand why things happened the way they did in this particular corner of the world. You have to understand the different histories, cultures, and economies of American Indian nations over time, as well as the development and implementation of Spanish colonial policy, which of course reflected and responded to changes in the intellectual currents of Europe. And of course, you have to know the history of the expansion of the United States, too. So my specialization really allows me to explore many different peoples and places. "

Eduardo attributes his love of history to an early teacher, Inez Turley, the sister of one-time presidential candidate Morris Udall. “Mrs. Turley made history come alive for me,” he fondly recalls, “and I’ve been excited by the discovery of the past ever since.”


Eduardo fields your questions.


Case in Point

Eduardo decided to write his first scholarly work, Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon: Zoot Suits, Race, and Riots in Wartime L.A. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), in the format of a detective novel.

"At the heart of that work is the story of an unsolved murder that sparked a lot of social unrest in Los Angeles during the war. So rather than follow the usual format of scholarly works, I thought that it would be more interesting to blend the structure of a murder mystery novel with the rigor of a scholarly investigation."

Eduardo is hard at work on his third book—the story of a settlement at war with itself in territorial Arizona.

Find out more little known facts about Eduardo, watch our interview.