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Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada

Profile picture for Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada

Contact Information

1207 West. Oregon Street
M/C 136
Assistant Professor


Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada earned her M.A. (2011) and Ph.D. (2017) in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Elizabeth grew up in a working-class neighborhood in El Salvador during the Civil War which left over 75,000 dead and thousands in exile; she migrated to the U.S. as a young adult. These experiences shaped her focus as a scholar and activist. In her scholarly work, she seeks to produce knowledge that supports the development of a holistic and substantial peace. She has published in Social Justice and co-authored an article in Cultural Anthropology. Elizabeth’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Inter-American Foundation’s Grassroots Development Fellowship, and the Social Science Research Council’s Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship: Gender Justice in the Era of Human Rights.

Research Interests

  • Violence and grassroots peacemaking
  • Racialization and gender in El Salvador
  • Transnational feminisms and activist research
  • The politics of intersectional inequalities and justice


Research Description

Elizabeth’s book in progress, tentatively titled, Intersectional Justice Denied: Negative Peace and Persisting Violence in Post-Peace Accords El Salvador, draws on two and a half years of multi-sited ethnographic research in El Salvador. Her book examines the central paradox of Salvadoran youth gang members who are simultaneously purveyors of violence and peacemakers. Her manuscript traces how women relatives of gang members engage in a conflicting and excruciating politics of solidarity with youth gangs’ peacemaking efforts and explores the layered politics of their demands for intersectional justice.

Elizabeth is a member of a collective of activist feminist scholars with whom she is currently co-editing a volume on Fugitive Anthropology. The volume, supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, centers embodiment as an analytic for the experiences of racialized women, queer, trans, and gender non-conforming politically engaged researchers in the field. The collective’s volume will contribute analytical and methodological tools for conducting decolonized fieldwork.

Recent Publications

Velásquez Estrada, R. Elizabeth. 2022. "Intersectional justice denied: Racist warring masculinity, negative peace, and violence in post-peace accords El Salvador." American Anthropologist. 1-14.

Maya J. Berry, Claudia Chávez Argüelles, Shanya Cordis, Sarah Ihmoud, and Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada. 2017. “Towards a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field”, Cultural Anthropology. Volume 32, Number 4.

Velásquez Estrada, Ruth Elizabeth. 2015. "Grassroots Peacemaking: The Paradox of Reconciliation in El Salvador." Social Justice Vol. 41, No. 3.