Bruno Anaya Ortiz is a 2021-2022 BELS Graduate Fellow!

Bruno anaya ortiz

Jul 06, 2021

Join us in congratulating PhD student, Bruno Anaya Ortiz, for becoming a Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies (BELS) Fellow for 2021-2022!

Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies (BELS) is characterized by a rich interdisciplinary approach that seeks to ground empirical analysis in sociolegal theory and embrace a broad range of methods, both quantitative and qualitative. CSLS is currently hosting 11 BELS Fellows representing a variety of disciplines including Jurisprudence and Social Policy, Law, Political Science, Public Policy, Rhetoric, and Sociology. For more information about the BELS Fellows program click here.

Bruno Anaya Ortiz is a fifth-year student in the Rhetoric Department. His work is at the intersection of legal studies, political theory, and colonial studies. His dissertation analyzes Spanish-American identity formations in Mexico and the US. In Mexico, he analyzed how courts and the constitution define national identity in contradistinction to both ideas of “Indigenous peoples” and the “West.” He argues that this process re-articulates colonial categories that originated in Spain’s evangelical mission. In the US, he studies the changing vocabularies in which the law has incorporated Mexican-Americans into its racial categories. In the nineteenth century, courts hesitatingly folded Mexicans into the category of “White” for naturalization effects. More recently, the “Hispanic/Latino” pan-ethnic category has been construed as a “non-White” internal minority, for instance, in discrimination lawsuits. Both in Mexico and the US, Spanish-American identity evinces a complex relationship with the majoritarian concept of “the West” but also with its various negations. In Mexico, national identity is neither “Indigenous” nor “Spanish.” In the US, Hispanic ethnicity is and is not culturally “White.” Spanish-American identity is, therefore, both negation and extension of Europe and Spain. This ambivalence is its colonial legacy.

Past Fellows from the Rhetoric department include Tim Wyman-McCarthy, Alisa Sanchez (Assistant Professor at USC), Satyel Larson (Assistant Professor at Princeton), and Eugene McCarthy (Assistant Professor at James Madison University).