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Daniel Castaneda

Portrait of 2024 Grad Prize Winner Daniel Castaneda.

Ph.D. Candidate, History

This experience strengthened my skills as an early career historian by providing a practical understanding of how a researcher can navigate archival collections and craft a compelling historical argument.

Collaborating with archivists allowed me to share Justice Reynoso’s story with students, professors, and the broader public and to expand our understanding of state history and the diversity of historical subjects.”

— Daniel Castaneda

Democracy by Participation: The Life and Legacy of Cruz Reynoso

Project Description and Impact

Castaneda’s exhibit, “Democracy by Participation: The Life and Legacy of Cruz Reynoso,” highlights the first Latino Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, Cruz Reynoso, and his dedication to equity, inclusion, and democracy. The exhibition (online and previously on display in Shields Library) features materials from Reynoso’s personal papers that illuminate his life and career, and provide insight into the Mexican-American social and political experience in California.

Explore the exhibit

Read more about Daniel’s research (pdf)

Library Resources Used

  • Archives
  • Books on California and Latina/o/x history
  • Interlibrary loan
  • Online databases (e.g., HeinOnline)


Castaneda developed “Democracy by Participation” in partnership with the UC Davis Library’s Archives and Special Collections department in Spring 2022. Head of Archives and Special Collections Kevin Miller provided initial consultation on the vision for the project, and later connected Castaneda with archivist Jason Sarmiento, who provided mentorship through the exhibit process and installation. Castaneda’s exhibit also received generous support from the California History-Social Science Project, the Office of Academic Diversity, and the Hispanic-Serving Institution Initiative.