Bianet Castellanos

Bianet Castellanos was born in Colima, Mexico, and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. She is associate professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota and an affiliated faculty member in the departments of American Indian Studies and Chicano & Latino Studies. She is also a graduate faculty affiliate in the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change and the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies. She has worked for over two decades with Maya communities in Mexico and more recently in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of A Return to Servitude: Maya Migration and the Tourist Trade in Cancún (University of Minnesota Press, 2010) and co-editor (with Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera and Arturo Aldama) of Comparative Indigeneities of the Américas: Toward a Hemispheric Approach (University of Arizona Press 2012). In 2017, she edited a forum on settler colonialism in Latin American for American Quarterly and published an essay in the “Critical Latinx Indigeneities” special issue for Latino Studies. She has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation, the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, and Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She is a member of Mexico’s Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI) and has been a research member of Canada’s National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) Dialog Network since 2011, which promotes collaboration between indigenous communities and research scholars. She currently serves on the advisory boards of American Quarterly, the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, and El Colegio High School in Minneapolis.


Candidate Statement: NAISA is a unique organization because of its interdisciplinary focus on global indigenous studies. My name is Bianet Castellanos. When I first began attending NAISA in 2009, it became evident that NAISA is a critical space to interrogate the divides that have circumscribed conversations between the North, the global South and the Pacific. As a participant of the Abiayala Working Group, I have been inspired by the work my colleagues have done to promote thoughtful engagement across disciplines, hemispheres, and cultural and linguistic differences. I am running for the position of treasurer in order to contribute to NAISA’s mission of an inclusive indigenous studies that seeks to expand its international reach. I have received training in financial management through my work in various capacities. As the interim chair of the Department of American Studies (January-July 2016) and the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies (June 2016-July 2017), I oversaw annual operating budgets that included office and curriculum management and graduate training and programming. In my role as board member of El Colegio High School, I help manage a $1.6 million operating budget and am head of the fundraising committee. I have also organized and fundraised for symposia and conferences, with the most recent, “Utopian World-Making: Art, Social Justice and Communities of Color,” having taken place in April 2017. I would be honored to be elected to maintain NAISA’s fiscal well-being.

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