Héctor Calderón, professor of Spanish American, Mexican and Chicano literature and cultures, has been named chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese.
Calderón is recognized as an expert in Mexican literature and popular culture, U.S. Latina/o literatures and cultures and the Mexican borderlands. His book, “Narratives of Greater Mexico” (University of Texas Press, 2004), is a collection of critical essays that look at seven Chicana and Chicano writers whose works constitute what he terms an American/Mexican literature. He explores how the works of Paredes, Rudolfo Anaya, Tomás Rivera, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Cherríe Moraga, Rolando Hinojosa and Sandra Cisneros stem from Mexican literary traditions and genres that can be traced back to the colonial era. Calderón’s book features his own interpretations of the works, as well as the writers’ perspectives on their place in American/Mexican literature through excerpts from their personal papers and interviews, correspondence and e-mail exchanges he conducted with most of them.
Other works by Calderón include the book, “Conciencia y Lenguaje en el Quijote y el Obsceno Pájaro de la Noche,” (Pliegos, 1987), which examines two classic novels within their respective modern and postmodern contexts. He also served as editor of a collection of critical essays, “Criticism in the Borderlands” (Duke University Press, 1991), that offers a multitude of perspectives in contemporary literary and cultural studies.
A member of the UCLA faculty since 1991, Calderón founded the César E. Chávez Center in 1994 served as chair. In addition, he served as director of the University of California Education Abroad Program’s Mexico Study Center, 2004-2008, and founding executive director of la Casa de la Universidad de California in Mexico, 2006-2008. Prior to UCLA, Calderón was on the faculties of Scripps College and Yale University. He earned a Ph.D. in Latin American literature, with a minor in comparative literature, from Yale in 1981.