2019 Incoming Grad Series: Kristian Vásquez

by Daina Tagavi, Professional Development Peer
Monday, September 16, 2019 8:00 AM

Welcome to the first student profile article of our 2019 Incoming Grad Series, featuring backstories and fun facts on 8 students who are part of our most diverse incoming class in recent memory.

First up is Kristian Vásquez, an incoming doctoral student from Southeast Los Angeles, with an undergraduate degree from UCLA. He is entering the Ph.D. program in Chicana/o Studies, hoping to explore questions of coloniality of power, being, and knowledge and decolonial politics and theory. Read on to learn more about Kristian's background, why he chose UCSB, and some surprising fun facts!


Kristian is a Xicano born and raised in Southeast Los Angeles, California, in what is known as Tongva land, a predominantly working-class Mexican community. He told us that his mother's roots are from Durango and Zacatecas, México, and his father's roots are from a P'urhépecha heritage community in Michoacán, México. In his youth, he was a Punk kid who loved to read, rabble rouse, and question the world around him, which contributed to his research tendencies. Kristian started higher education at Los Angeles Southwest College and, as a Puente student, was able to transfer to UCLA. Originally inspired by social justice and national liberation movements of the sixties, he found himself immersed in radical organizing spaces in Los Angeles where communities dreamed of another world. He co-founded an intertribal (Indigenous) and popular (People) organization, called the Eagle and the Condor Liberation Front and was a student organizer for three years. His journey for a Ph.D. in Chicana/o Studies was sparked because of his organizing path in higher education and his commitment to building a world where many worlds fit. 


Kristian chose UCSB because of the Las Maestras Center for Xicana Indigenous Thought, Art, and Social Practice and the incredible faculty in the social sciences and humanities. He told us that he also chose UCSB for its history of radical student organizing around environmental issues and for the campus/administration being able to accommodate student demands for social justice.



Kristian's research interests are firmly rooted in the tradition of Chicana and Chicano Studies and explore questions of power, desire, and resistance in the context of coloniality and Chicana/o/x-Indigenous responses to capitalist world-systems through cultural production.



Kristian told us that his idea of fun has always been being able to read a great book, spin some vinyl records, and eat home-cooked (vegan) food. He also loves to partake in mosh pits and skanking circles. Kristian is also a Mexica ceremonial dancer!

Welcome, Kristian!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is Kirstin Rollins, an incoming PhD student in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Newcastle, Washington, who trained as a professional Hula dancer and who will be researching the interaction of the immune system to neurological disorders here at UCSB.