Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

People / Graduate Students


Marcelo Garzo Montalvo

Radical, Queer, and Feminist of Color Critique; Indigenous Education and Pedagogy; Performance Studies; Trauma, Violence and Healing; Mapuche + Mexica Cosmovisión and Language (Mapudungun + Nahuatl); Settler Colonialism; Cultural Studies


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Bio & Research Interests

Marcelo Garzo Montalvo (Mapuche-Anahuaca, Chilenx) is a transnational cultural activist, musician, ceremonial dancer, educator and PhD Candidate in Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. He is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion, the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award and the Institute of Noetic Sciences Consciousness in Action Award. His academic work has also been supported by the Tinker Foundation, the UC Berkeley Center for American Cultures and Engaged Scholarship and the Center for Latin American Studies. He is an active member of multiple working groups, including Performance in the Americas, the Color of New Media, and Peripheral Futures. As a scholar and educator, Marcelo has been invited to guest lecture in various university classrooms, presented at academic and activist conferences and has facilitated numerous popular education workshops with community-based organizations. He has worked on staff and served on the board of directors for multiple Bay Area-based community food justice organizations including the People’s Grocery, Planting Justice and Pie Ranch. He has also worked as a healing justice organizer, co-founding the BadAss Visionary Healers and serving on the organizing committee for the Men’s Healing Clinic Collective. As an artist and musician, Marcelo is an alumnus of the Emerging Artists Professionals Fellowship program and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Labor and Ecology Think Tank. His art, research and activism focuses on decolonization and inter-generational, inter-cultural healing.


Dissertation Project:

The Principles of Living in Harmony:

Mapuche and Mexica-Anahuaca Approaches to Embodied Knowledge, Pedagogy and Healing

This dissertation explores the politics, pragmatics and possibilities of Indigenous knowledge and education through two contemporary case studies: 1) Mexica-Anahuaca (Aztec) ceremonial dance in Anahuac (Mexico and the United States) and 2) Mapuche intercultural education in WallMapu (Chile and Argentina). I study these transnational cultural movements through matrices of Ethnic Studies and Performance Studies to explore questions of embodied knowledge, intercultural and critical pedagogies, Indigenous epistemologies and decolonial consciousness. Based on semi-structured interviews with traditional educators and ongoing ethnographic research, I demonstrate how these sites teach complex, creative and critical thought through holistic and transdisciplinary approaches to knowledge production and transmission. In particular, I focus on how these pedagogies situate and transmit knowledge through embodied practices and ways of knowing such as dance, ceremony, weaving, music, healing arts, traditional sports, building techniques and crafting. My research asks: how are these knowledge projects bridging and reconciling Indigenous and Western epistemologies and methodologies? What are the pedagogies that emerge from these spaces that exist between dominant institutions of Eurocentric education and traditional Indigenous knowledge? How do these educators approach different fields of study – such as STEM, Social Sciences, Humanities? How are these efforts working across established borders of modern nation-states and conventional academic disciplines? How do these movements help us understand the urgency of integrating Indigenous pedagogy and epistemology into the current global educational paradigm? Not only for Native-identified students and educators, but for all? Through this transnational conversation, I trace how traditional educators and community leaders are teaching and theorizing pluriversality, el convivir (co-existence), intergenerational healing and intercultural consciousness as epistemic, political, and pedagogical paradigms for the 21st Century.



Keith Feldman, Angela Marino (Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies), Kimberly TallBear (University of Alberta Native Studies)
Laura E. Pérez

Courses Taught or Assisted

ES159AC - The Southern Border (GSI)

ES11AC - Theories and Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies (GSI)

NASR1A - Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing through Native/Indigenous Literatures (Primary Instructor)

ES10AC - A History of Race in the Western United States, 1598 - Present (GSI)

ES21AC - Abolition Pedagogy and Practice (GSI)

ENG35AC - Climate Change Fictions (ACES Fellow)

Select publications

From Qualitative Research to Research as Quality Time: When Being “in the Field” is also “Coming Home”

La Fiesta de La Tirana