People / Graduate Students

Graduate Students

Hector M. Callejas


Native American and Indigenous studies, Latin American studies; critical geography, political and legal anthropology; postcolonialism and settler colonialism

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Bio & Research Interests

Hector M. Callejas (mestizo/Latino) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (Chochenyo Ohlone territory). He researches and teaches on Native American and Indigenous studies, Latin American studies, critical geography, political and legal anthropology, and theories of postcolonialism and settler colonialism. He received his M.A. (2017) and B.A. (2014) from the same department. He originates from the Mexican immigrant community in Sacramento, California (Nisenan territory). His family immigrated from El Salvador and Guatemala during the civil wars in the early 1980s.

Hector’s dissertation analyzes the origins and effects of the peculiar absence of Indigenous territory in contemporary El Salvador. He advances emerging Native American and Indigenous studies that call on Latin Americanists to take settler colonialism seriously as a hemispheric framework, which focuses on how settler states eliminate Indigenous peoples and territories. He foregrounds understudied non-Indigenous mestizo territories like El Salvador where settlers have long established, secured, and depoliticized their occupation and possession of Indigenous lands. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, and discourse analysis on transnational Indigenous identities and politics in El Salvador, Hector argues that national ideologies of mestizaje and multiculturalism intersect to naturalize the socio-historical transformation of Indigenous lands into mestizo territory by positioning Indigenous peoples as individuals and populations at the margins of the dominant mestizo population. These ideologies center Indigenous policymaking and activism on issues of heritage and welfare, while excluding questions of land and territory. Hector thus demonstrates how multicultural inclusion effectively legitimizes Indigenous landlessness and precludes the formation of Indigenous territory in El Salvador.

Hector’s dissertation research has been funded by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies; a Graduate Student Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation; and a Chancellor’s Fellowship from the University of California, Berkeley. He has received research awards from various units on campus: the Native American Studies program, the Center for Race and Gender, the Myer’s Center for Research of Native American Issues, and the Ethnic Studies department.

He is a member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the Latin American Studies Association, the American Anthropological Association; the American Association of Geographers; and the American Studies Association.

Dissertation Committee:

Thomas Biolsi (co-chair)

Shari Huhndorf (co-chair)

Rosemary Joyce (Anthropology)