University of Southern California

Graduate Students

Julia Ornelas-Higdon

Contact Information


Biographical Sketch

I completed my B.A. at Pomona College. After spending a year working as an educator, I joined the history department at USC in the fall of 2007. I welcome questions about my research or the history program at USC.


  • B.A. Pomona College, 2006
  • M.A. University of Southern California, 2010


Summary Statement of Research Interests

  • My dissertation explores the role of viniculture in establishing a new racial order during the gradual transition between Mexican and American rule, from the end of the Mexican War in 1848 and continuing through the nineteenth century. This project, "A Cultivating Enterprise: Race, Conquest, and Winegrowing in California, 1848-1900," brings together multiple historiographies and contextualizes the specialized horticulture of winegrowing within the processes of racialization and conquest in the American West. I seek to understand how the state‚Äôs commercial wine industry participated in the cultural, economic, and social conquest of the American frontier and in the project of integrating California as part of the United States. I am particularly concerned with identifying the experiences of agricultural workers, their interactions with leading winegrowers, and their role in the transformation of California under American rule.

Research Specialties

  • U.S. History, American West, 19th century U.S., Race and Ethnicity, Conquest, Imperialism, Viticulture