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Barbara Navaza

Graduate Student


Bárbara Navaza joined the PhD program at Vanderbilt University in 2018.  She is a cultural and medical anthropologist studying migrations, transnationality, transness, normativity, citizenship, relationality and care. She combines anthropology with trans and queer theory, Black and Chicanx feminism and participatory digital methods. Her doctoral dissertation research investigates experiences of migration, community and flourishing among transgender Latinx living in Los Angeles, California. Barbara Navaza has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork in the city of Los Angeles since 2016, when she was a graduate student at University of California Riverside. She uses participatory community-based research, digital story-telling and pláticas as ethnographic tools to better understand how experiences of flourishing happen beyond normative citizenship. 

Before coming to the United States, she worked in Spanish public hospitals and Global Health research institutions as an interpreter, translator and qualitative researcher in the field of migrants’ health. She was one of the founders of Salud entre Culturas (SEC), a service of intercultural and interlinguistic mediation catering hospitals of Madrid city. For eight years, Barbara Navaza participated in the design and implementation of health promotion projects related to HIV, Chagas Disease, Tuberculosis, and Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) travelers. During this time, she worked mainly with Sub-saharan migrants and with Latin American sexual and gender minorities living in Madrid and Barcelona. Hence, she grew interested in the intersections of health, gender normativity and transnational migrations, which drove her to pursue a PhD in Anthropology in the United States and to keep working with Latinx, migrant and LGBT communities. 

She has published in scientific journals, especially about intercultural and interlinguistic communication, HIV, Chagas disease, migrants’ health and LGBT health. 


SEC Emerging Scholars fellowship, Fall 2023