Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

People / Graduate Students


Sonia Cristina Suárez

(Afro-)Latinx mental health, psychopathology, cross-cultural psychiatry, Afro-Latino, Afro-diaspora healing systems, transnational women of color feminisms


Bio & Research Interests

Sonia's research is non-Western, Afro-Latinx, and Afro-Indigenous healing and knowledge systems in response to prevailing, biomedicalized notions of mental illness among people of color. This work involves the study of race, gender, sexuality and hierarchies of knowledge in mental healthcare and the archive of psychopathology. The archive of race, science, psychopathology reveals concepts of brujería (Spanish for 'magic', or often, 'witchcraft') and other aspects of "culture-bound" illness, such as the syndrome known both colloquially and formally as Ataque de Nervios.  The goals of this line of inquiry are to deconstruct damaging perceptions and diagnoses of Latinx and Afro-Latinx women of color and to instead produce knowledge of mental health/illness through Afro, Indigenous, and diasporic Latinx knowledges that are rooted in ancestral systems technologies of healing. 

Sonia is a graduate fellow with the Hellman Foundation for her work on race and gender in biomedical psychopathology. Along her path toward Ethnic Studies, Sonia did research and graduate work in social and counseling psychology. She completed her undergraduate work at Northwestern University, not far from her hometown of Cicero, Illinois. 


Ramon Grosfoguel