Héctor Beltrán is a sociocultural anthropologist who draws upon his background in computer science to understand how the technical aspects of computing intersect with issues of identity, race, ethnicity, class, and nation. He completed his PhD in anthropology (2018), MA in folklore (2012) at UC Berkeley, and holds a BS in computer science and engineering from MIT (2007). Before coming to MIT, he was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Irvine. Beltrán’s book, Code Work: Hacking Across the US/México Borderlands (Princeton University Press, 2023), follows the lives of Mexican hackers as they navigate the political and economic unevenness of North America’s computer programming sector. The ethnographic research and writing for this project has been funded by the School for Advanced Research, The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council, Ford Foundation, UC-Mexus, and UC Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. Beltrán is currently also working on an anthropological history of the intertwining development of computer science and hacking in modern México. At MIT, he teaches classes on subjects such as: the cultural dimensions of computing; practices of hacking from the Global South; and Latinx and Latin American identities, politics, and social movements.
Héctor Beltrán served as an External Evaluator for the 2022–2024 Just Tech Fellowship.