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 Latino and Latin American studies; Native American and Indigenous studies; settler colonial studies; postcolonial studies; American studies; cultural studies; and visual culture. He originates from the Mexican American community in Sacramento, California. His family immigrated from El Salvador and Guatemala in the early 1980s.
Hector’s research interests center on how Hispanic peoples in the Americas have appropriated Indigenous histories, cultures, and bodies in the articulation of their own mixed-race identities (e.g. “Latino” in the U.S., “mestizo” in Mexico, “Ladino” in Guatemala, “Salvadoreño” in El Salvador). He considers how this long tradition of cultural appropriation is implicated in the contestation and/or reproduction of colonial power relations in multiracial social formations at the national, transnational, and hemispheric scales.
Hector’s dissertation analyzes the paradox of Indigeneity in contemporary El Salvador. In the past decade, the national government has recognized “Indigenous peoples” as culturally distinctive members of 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 how law, policy, and visual cultural practices on Salvadoran Indigeneity reproduce settler colonial dynamics in the national territory. He 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.
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.
Héctor is a member of the American Anthropological Association; American Association of Geographers; the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association; and the Latin American Studies Association.
Thomas Biolsi (co-chair)
Shari Huhndorf (co-chair)
Rosemary Joyce (Anthropology)