Shirley Heying

Adjunct Assistant Professor (appointed via Letter of Academic Title)
Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico Gallup
PhD, University of New Mexico (2012)


I am a first-generation college student and now a cultural anthropologist and genocide scholar. I earned my Bachelor of Science in international business from St. Cloud State University in my home state of Minnesota. I earned my Masters of Arts and PhD degrees in anthropology from the University of New Mexico, where I have been living since 2002.

My doctoral research focused on examining the long-term consequences of genocide on the lives of war orphans in Guatemala. Working with these child survivors of genocide-most of whom are now in their 30s and early 40s-I explored and continue to examine the intersections of global mental health (particularly genocide-related trauma), indigenous identity, race relations, human agency, and state power in Guatemala.

In addition, I developed an undergraduate community-based participatory research project that trained and utilized undergraduate students from the University of New Mexico main campus as researchers who are examining the effects of globalization, border issues, and the Mexican drug war on the lives of children and youth living colonias (or un-incorporated communities) in the El Paso/Juarez borderlands.

My most recent research project involves studying the underlying mechanisms involved in group hate, which is reflected in social phenomena such as Islamophobia in the United States, including right here in New Mexico. My aim is to work with a diverse group of adolescents in the Gallup, New Mexico area to better understand their perspectives and experiences with Islamophobia in order to better understand how group hate-which is inherently a first step towards genocide-works.