Héctor Callejas (mestizo/Latino) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He researches and teaches on Native American and Indigenous studies, settler colonial studies, Latin American studies, and cultural studies. He originates from the Mexican American community in Sacramento, California. His family immigrated from El Salvador and Guatemala in the early 1980s.
Hector’s dissertation analyzes settler colonial power relations in the contemporary formation of “Indigenous peoples” in El Salvador. In the past decade, the Salvadoran state has recognized Indigenous peoples as a culturally distinctive population in the newly multicultural Salvadoran nation. However, few Salvadorans have claimed to be Indigenous, and even fewer have demanded or contested state recognition. El Salvador is a neglected case in Latin American studies that complicates the field’s current understandings of Indigenous identities and politics. His dissertation contributes to an emerging debate between Latin American studies, settler colonial studies, and Native American and Indigenous studies on settler colonialism in Latin America. Dissertation chapters examine the discursive production of Salvadoran Indigeneity in law, policy, and cultural texts. Hector draws on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in El Salvador (June-July 2013; June-July 2018; January 2019-March 2020) and at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (May 2016). He also utilizes materials from the Inter-American Indian Institute archive at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.
His future research will explore how the connections between Indigenous identity and land politics in the Northern Triangle inform contemporary Central American migration to the United States.
Héctor has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and a Chancellor’s Fellowship from UC Berkeley. He has been awarded research grants from the Ethnic Studies department, the Native American Studies program, the Center for Race and Gender, and the Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues. He is a former Graduate Student in Residence at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and a former co-chair of the American Indian Graduate Student Association at UC Berkeley.
He is a member of the American Anthropological Association; American Association of Geographers; the American Studies Association; the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association; and the Latin American Studies Association.
Thomas Biolsi (co-chair)
Shari Huhndorf (co-chair)
Rosemary Joyce (Anthropology)