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Sociology Research


Mónica G. Moreno Figueroa is a Black-mestiza, Mexican-British, woman, Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She is also a Fellow in Social Sciences at Downing College, Cambridge.

Her research focusses on the intersectional lived experience of ‘race’ and racism in Mexico and Latin America; antiracism and academic-based impact; feminist theory, intersectionality and racism. She is an expert in qualitative research methods, visual methodologies and thrives in interdisciplinary collaborations.

Mónica is currently leading the development of a new research institute on Global Race, Racism and Anti-Racism in the Department of Sociology, and has secured seed funding from the W.K.K. Foundation.

Mónica has been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career fellowship 2022-23 for the project: “Internalised Oppression, Defensiveness and Resentment”.  Her other latest research projects are: a project on blackness, representation and women’s economic trajectories in the Costa Chica in Mexico; a British Academy funded project on Institutional Racism in Oaxaca, Mexico; and a recently-completed large ESRC-funded research project, which she directed (together with Prof Peter Wade), Latin American Anti-racism in a Post-Racial Age, LAPORA, on antiracist practices and discourses in Latin America, comparing experiences in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. 

A book edited with Peter Wade, Against racism: organizing for social change in Latin America (Pittsburgh University Press) was published in March 2022, Portuguese and Spanish translations have been published in 2023.

Mónica is an award-winning teacher. She has lectured at Newcastle, Princeton and Nottingham Universities, Goldsmiths and Birkbeck College, and El Colegio de Mexico.

Mónica has been Chair of the Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous People’s section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA 2014-16).

She has recently joint the editorial team of Book Series 21st Century Standpoints for Policy Press / Bristol University Press. She is also a member of the Editorial Boards of Ethnic and Racial Studies and Journal of Latin American Studies

Mónica co-leads the Decolonise Sociology Working Group and with Dr Ella McPherson she runs the End Everyday Racism project, a web-based platform to report and monitor racism in higher education.

From 2017-2021 she was the University of Cambridge Race Equality Co-Champion.

From 2019-2022 Mónica was a member of the University of Cambridge Legacies of Enslavement Advisory Board, which launched in Sept 2022 the Legacies of Enslavement Enquiry.

Since 2010, alongside Emiko Saldívar and Judith Bautista, Mónica has co-led the Collective for the Elimination of Racism in Mexico, COPERA, dedicated to making racism public.

Research Interests

Monica's research focusses on the intersectional lived experience of ‘race’ and racism in Mexico and Latin America; antiracism and academic-based impact; feminist theory, intersectionality and racism. She is interested in understanding global flows of notions of race and the workings of racism as well as exploring the current ‘turn to antiracism’ in Latin America and the Global South. She is interested in the move from anti-racism to anti-oppression and the relevance of the emotional impact of oppression for social transformation.

She has focused on Mexico and Latin America more broadly. The interest in researching the 'qualities' of the lived experience of racism, has taken her to the study of the everyday, the relevance of emotions and affect, as well as issues around visibility and embodiment. She has also explored issues of institutional and structural racism as well as the challenges for anti-racist action in mestizo (racially mixed) contexts.

Research Projects

Mónica has developed various research projects:

“Becoming Black: gender, racism and representation in the Costa Chica, Mexico” (2016) interrogates how the official recognition of blackness In Mexico has reconfigured tensions between mixedness and defined ethno-racial identities of indigenous, mestizo (mixed race) and black populations.


The British Academy funded project “Institutional racism and the logics of the contemporary Mexican state” (2016-2018), with Dr Juan Carlos Martinez (CIESAS-Pacífico Sur, Mexico), was a research collaboration that aimed to strengthen the study of racism within scholarship on pluralism and legal anthropology and to understand how racism operates in the construction of the state. The project included exploring two case studies that analyse how the state defines and offers differentiated access to resources (water) and services (health and reproductive rights)


The £1m ESRC funded project “Latin American Antiracism in a ‘Post-Racial’ Age” (2017-2019), with Prof Peter Wade (University of Manchester), investigates antiracist practices and ideologies in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. The project will contribute to addressing problems of racism and racial inequality in the region and to shaping on-going debates there about how to conceptualise and label racism, anti-racism, discrimination and the idea of race. More information is available on the project website.


She is completing a British Academy Mid-Career fellowship 2022-23 for the project: “Internalised Oppression, Defensiveness and Resentment”. 


An integral part of her academic work has been her commitment to explore different forms of engaged and engaging sociology with a deep concern for social justice. This has taken her to develop links and projects that aim to make racism public as a strategy for its elimination. In the summer of 2011, she co-founded the Collective COPERA (Colectivo para Eliminar el Racismo) alongside Dr Emiko Saldivar (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Dr Alicia Castellanos (UAM-Iztapalapa) and now has grown to include a wider group of academics and activists. The collective has been developing a series of initiatives to make racism public in Mexico, visibilise racism in its multiple forms in the country, link academia and activism and to incorporate a 'race' perspective in activism, social movements, and public policy.



SOC3: Global Social Problems and Dynamics of Resistance (on leave 2022-2025)

SOC11: Racism, Race and Ethnicity (on leave 2022-2025)

SOC6: Advanced Social Theory (on leave 2022-2025)

SOC7: Media Culture and Society (on leave 2022-2025)

MPhil in Marginality and Exclusion (on leave 2022-2025)

MPhil in Latin American Studies (on leave 2022-2025)



Key publications – Books

Moreno Figueroa, Mónica G, and Peter Wade. 2022. Against Racism: Organizing for Social Change in Latin America: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Moreno Figueroa Mónica G, and Peter Wade. 2023. Contra o Racismo: Mobilização para a mudança social na América Latina. Pittsburgh: Latin America Research Commons.

Moreno Figueroa, Mónica G, and Peter Wade. 2023. Contra el racismo. Movilización para el cambio social en América Latina. Bogota: UNIANDES, UNAL, Abya Yala y UNAM


Key Publications – Book Chapters

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2024) "What is disgust For? Anti-Black Racism in Mexico," in Islas Weinstein, T., Ang, M., and Jones, E. (eds.), Beyond Mestizaie: Contemporary Debates on Race in MexicoMA: Amherst College Press.

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2021) ‘Picking your battles: beauty, complacency, and the other life of racism’ in Craig, Maxine (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Beauty Politics, Routledge

Moreno Figueroa, MG and Saldivar, E. (2015) “Comics, Dolls and The Disavowal of Racism: Learning from Mexican Mestizaje”, in Gutierrez, E, Little, M, and Tate, S. (eds.), Creolising Europe: Legacies and Transformations. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2013) ‘Don’t you see’ [personal reflection], in Casanova, Eryn & Jafar, Ashfan (eds.), Bodies without Borders: Migrating Discourses of Embodiment, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 45-49. 

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2012) 'Linda Morenita: Skin Colour, Beauty and the Politics of Mestizaje in Mexico' in Horrocks, C. (ed.) Cultures of Colour: Visual, Material, Textual, Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 167-180. 

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2011) 'Naming ourselves: Recognising Racism and Mestizaje in Mexico' in McLaughlin, J., Phillimore, P. and Richardson, D. (eds.), Contesting Recognition, Culture, Identity and Citizenship. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 122-143.


Key publications – Journal articles

Morena, Figueroa, M.G. (2024). On Blackness, images and anti-racist workEthnic and Racial Studies, 1-21. 

Morena, Figueroa, M. G., & Wade, P. (2024). Introduction: the turn to racism and anti-racism in Latin AmericaEthnic and Racial Studies, 1-15.

Moreno Figueroa, M. G., & López Chávez, A. N. (2023) “A lo mejor yo soy auto-racista”: Un acercamiento al estudio del racismo internalizado en México (“Maybe I am racist towards myself”: An approach to the study of internalised racism in Mexico). Revista Euro latinoamericana de Análisis Social y Político (RELASP) Vol 3,No 6, 82-109,

Moreno Figueroa, M. G. (2022) "Entre confusiones y distracciones: mestizaje y racismo anti-negro en México." Estudios Sociológicos de El Colegio de México 40: 31-60 (Número especial).

Wade, Peter, & Mónica Moreno Figueroa. (2021) "Alternative grammars of anti-racism in Latin America."  Interface: A Journal on Social Movements 13 (2) 20-50. and in Spanish Gramáticas Alternativas del Antirracismo en América Latina

Moreno Figueroa, M. G. (2016) “El Archivo del Estudio del Racismo en México”, (“The Archive of the Study of Racism in Mexico”) Desacatos 51, 92-107

Moreno Figueroa, MG and Saldivar, E. (2016) “We Are Not Racists, We Are Mexicans”: Privilege, Nationalism and Post-Race Ideology in Mexico. Critical Sociology 42(4-5), 515-533.

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2013) “Displaced Looks: The Lived Experience of Beauty and Racism in Mexico”. Feminist Theory 14(2): 137-151.

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2010) “Distributed Intensities: Whiteness, Mestizaje and the Logics of Mexican Racism”, Ethnicities 10, 387-401. 

Coleman, R and Moreno Figueroa, MG (2010) “Past and Future Perfect? Beauty, Affect and Hope”, Journal for Cultural Research 14(4), 357 - 373. 

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2008) “Looking Emotionally: Racism, Photography and Intimacies in Research” in History of the Human Sciences, 21(4), 66-83. Reprinted in Smart, B. et al (eds) (2013), Observational Methods, London: Sage. Volume 3, Part 3. 

Moreno Figueroa, MG (2008) “Historically-Rooted Transnationalism: Slightedness and the Experience of Racism in Mexican Families” , Journal of Intercultural Studies, 29(3), 283-297. 


Publications: Other

Moreno Figueroa, M. G. (2023) Mestizaje: When The Shades Dissimulate Whiteness (magazine article in The Funambulist)

Moreno Figueroa, M. G. (2022) - In Conversation with Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa: on Engaged Sociology for the Struggle against Oppression (Interview for New Sociological Perspectives)

Moreno Figueroa, M. G. (2022) - Blacks, Mestizos, and Mestizaje: The Complex Backstory (interview for Mexico Solidarity Project Bulletin)

Mora, Mariana & Mónica Moreno Figueroa (2021) ‘Reflections on Indigenous and Black Anti-racist and Anti-colonial Actions’ (co-written with Mariana Mora) in NACLA Report on the Americas ( Link here

Moreno Figueroa, M. G. (2020) “De qué sirve el asco? Racismo anti-negro en México” (“What’s the use of disgust? Anti-Black racism in Mexico”) in Revista de la Universidad Nacional Dossier, Septiembre 2020, 62-67


Media (articles, podcasts, videos)

2023 - Sharing Power with Professor Mónica Moreno Figueroa (Podcast)

2023 – Defining Racism in AntiSocial BBC Radio4 (Podcast)

2023 – A world to you without oppression (interview for CAM, Issue 98 Features)

2023 – Sembrando causas: Racismo (Video - Conversation between V Damcho and Leslie Serna with Judith Baustista and Monica Moreno for faceBuda – el Canal de Dharma en linea)

2022 - “El racismo es un sistema que organiza de manera cruel las formas en que algunas personas son maltratadas y otras favorecidas” (“Racism is a system that cruelly organises the ways in which some people are mistreated, and others are favoured.”) (article for Noticias UNSAM – Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Argentina)

2020 – “El racismo es el motor del mestizaje en México” (article in El País)

2020 -  Racism: Are we reaching a tipping point in our attitudes towards racial inequality? (Podcast presented by Ed Kessler in conversation with Monica Moreno Figueroa and Kenny Monrose)

2020 – The effects of oppression: learning to listen – (Presentation for Provoke15)

2018 – Declarations: Do Borders Hide or Reveal Rights? (Conversation wiith Dr Monica Moreno Figueroa for Declarations: The Human Rights Podcast)

2017 - Racismo está vigente en la sociedad mexicana- Universidad de Guadalajara

PhD Supervisor

Research Groups & Affiliations


2018    Commendation for ‘Innovative Teaching’ in the University of Cambridge Student Union’s Student-Led Teaching Awards (May 2018)

2017    Pilkington Teaching Prize in recognition of the excellence of my teaching at the University of Cambridge. June 2017 - you can see this video about my teaching practice. The prizes are awarded to individuals who make a substantial contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole. 

2017    Commendation for ‘Supporting Students’ in the University of Cambridge Student Union Student-Led Teaching Awards May 2016

2016    Cambridge University Student Union’s Women’s Campaign ‘Academic of the Year’ Award 2015-16, June 2016.

Job Title:
Professor in Sociology, Fellow in Social Sciences at Downing College
Supervisor availability:
Mónica would normally be available to supervise students interested in exploring the lived experience of ‘race’ and racism; racism and antiracism in Latin America; intersectionality, feminist theory and the interconnections between beauty, emotions & race