Elena Guzman

Elena Guzman

Assistant Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology


  • Ph.D., Cornell, 2019


Elena Herminia Guzman is an Afro-Boricua filmmaker, educator, and scholar raised in the Bronx with deep roots in the LES. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University and is an Assistant Professor in the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department and Anthropology. Her ethnographic manuscript titled Chimera Geographies: Black Feminist Borderland Performances focuses on the way Black women and non-binary people throughout the African diaspora use ritual performance in African diaspora religion as a means to forge Black feminist borderlands through spiritual crossings. Her work has been published in Feminist Anthropology, NACLA, and Cultural Anthropology’s Screening Room.

In addition to her work as a scholar, Elena is also a documentary filmmaker. She co-directed a film entitled Bronx Lives (2014) that explores homelessness for Latinx and African Americans in New York. Her work has been shown at MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, Good Pitch Philadelphia, and Blackstar Film Festival and she has received grants from Leeway Foundation, Independent Public Media Foundation, Velocity Fund, Scribe Foundation, Independent ornell Council for the Arts, Society for the Humanities, and Haverford College. She is also the director of the film Smile4Kime, currently in production, an autoethnographic experimental portrait about friendship, mental health, and Afro-Puerto Rican spirituality. As a part of her work in film, she co-founded a feminist filmmaking collective called Ethnocine and is a producer of the podcast Bad Feminists Making Films.

Research interests

  • Black Borders and Borderlands
  • Black Ritual Performance
  • African Diaspora Spirituality and Religion
  • Feminist Filmmaking
  • Visual Anthropology
  • Sensory Ethnography
  • Documentary
  • Experimental Film
  • Critical Ethnography
  • Black Feminist Anthropology