School of Humanities and Sciences

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  • Hector Miguel Callejas

    Hector Miguel Callejas


    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsCallejas' current project examines the relationship between Indigenous movements, national multiculturalism, and public commemoration in El Salvador. Recent decades of Indigenous advocacy led national governments to establish multicultural state recognition of "pueblos Indígenas" as members of the Salvadoran nation during the 2010s. This emerging regime articulated Indigenous peoples as culturally distinctive national citizens with a particular historical relationship to land, territory, and natural resources. State institutions, Indigenous organizations, and ordinary people organized public ceremonies, parades, and festivals that racialized some individuals and groups as Indigenous. These commemorative practices challenged the state’s historical disavowal of race and racism within the national population through the logic of mestizaje, or racial mixture. They revealed entrenched structures of settler colonialism and White supremacy within state and society. They also exposed limited political possibilities for Indigenous resistance and decolonization. This project shows how the politics of Indigeneity and memory remake state categories of race, nation, and citizenship. It draws on ethnographic research in the capital city of San Salvador and the neighboring municipalities of Izalco and Nahuizalco in the western highlands during the 2010s. Callejas entered these distinct social worlds through the Red Nacional de Pueblos Indígenas "El Jaguar Sonriente," an influential activist network in the Salvadoran Indigenous movement. He accessed the network through the Consejo de Pueblos Originarios Náhuat Pipil de Nahuizalco, a grassroots Indigenous organization. In addition to developing a book proposal, he is writing related articles on the following topics for scholarly journals: 1) Indigenous heritage tourism, 2) testimonios of Indigenous genocide, 3) international Indigenism, 4) collaborative research, and 5) sacred site protection.

    Callejas' next project will examine the relationship between transnational migration, national security, and traditional ecological knowledge in El Salvador. Since the end of the Salvadoran civil war, endemic gang violence throughout the national territory has shaped human-environmental interactions and driven emigration during postwar national reconstruction. The current Bukele administration has responded to the violence with the suspension of due process rights and the mass imprisonment of alleged gang members. This ongoing régimen de excepción, or state of exception, has received popular support for improving public safety and criticism for increasing authoritarianism. Employing ethnographic methods, Callejas will explore the roles of race and Indigeneity in the production of safe space under this new governmental regime, and the impact of this process on how ordinary people move through and interact with their surroundings. The project will focus on Indigenous peoples, citizens, diaspora, and tourists.