Dan-el Padilla Peralta has received two book prizes and a prestigious summer residency in Rome

Dan-el Padilla Peralta, associate professor of classics, has received two prizes for his first scholarly book, “Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic (Princeton University Press, 2020), which places religion at the heart of the Roman Republic’s transformation during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. The work shows how religious ritual and observance bound Romans together at a time of rapid expansion and imperial violence.

Princeton's Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Dan-el Padilla Peralta

“Divine Institutions” was awarded the 2022 American Historical Association’s Herbert Baxter Adams Prize (given for an author’s first book in European history from ancient times through 1815) and was co-recipient of the 2022 Classical Association of the Middle West and South’s First Book Prize (2022). The book was also short-listed as a finalist for the American Academy of Religion’s Best First Book in the History of Religions (2021). 

Padilla Peralta — who recently led a fall break trip to Rome and Pompeii with 16 students who are enrolled in his upper-level seminar “Roman Religion: Sources and Methods (funded by a course enhancement grant from Princeton’s Center for Culture, Society and Religion) — was also recently named the Lucy Shoe Meritt Resident in Classical Studies and Archaeology at the American Academy in Rome for May-June 2023.

Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic

Prior to his first academic publications, Padilla Peralta had written the memoir, “Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (Penguin Press, 2015), which is being taught this semester in three Princeton courses: “Thinking Translation,” taught by Max Weiss, associate professor of history and Near Eastern studies; “Translation, Migration and Culture,” taught by Sandra Bermann, the Cotsen Professor in the Humanities and professor of comparative literature; and “Latinx Autobiography,” taught by Monica Huerta, assistant professor of English and American studies. He is a 2006 Princeton graduate.