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Elizabeth Farfán-Santos

Ken Brown

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

260C McElhinney Hall
(713) 743-6371

Biographical Summary

I am a medical anthropologist interested in the impact of political exclusion and racial inequality on the physiological, emotional, and cultural lives of black and brown groups in Latin America and the United States. My first book, Black Bodies, Black Rights: The Politics of Quilombolismo in Contemporary Brazil (University of Texas Press- 2016) focuses on the formation of new Afro-Brazilian quilombola identities, racial exclusion, and changing multicultural rights in contemporary Brazil. This research, rooted in African Diaspora studies in Latin America, critically examines issues of authenticity, the politics of recognition, black Brazilian identity formation (along historical, political, and social lines), and calls for new modes of understanding that center the embodied experience, especially emotional understandings of racial violence and marginalization, as central to identity formation, articulation, and resistance. More recently, I have been conducting research in the United States on the medical alienation and exclusion of undocumented immigrant communities especially following recent health care reforms and ongoing policy discussions in health care and immigration. My current book project, Undocumented Motherhood, builds from this research and examines the impact of an undocumented status in shaping the everyday health practices and narratives of maternal sentiment among undocumented Mexican mothers in Houston.

Research and Teaching Interests:

Medical anthropology, critical race theory, identity formation, racial exclusion and violence, citizenship and the state, health care access and global health, maternal health, medical humanities, creative writing, Latin America and the United States.


  • Medical Anthropology
  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • The Politics of Health Care and the Latino Community
  • Mexican American Cultural Formation
  • Field Methods: Ethnographic Production in the 21st Century
  • International Migration, Health, and Human Rights