Estrella Castillo

Estrella Castillo's picture
PhD Candidate
Research Areas: 
Critical theories in science & religion; community-engaged methodologies; traditional Indigenous knowledge & settler scientific thought; techno-optimism in psychedelic & land sciences; Indigenous religions & medicines under U.S. & international law


Estrella (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Science and History of Medicine, a Public Humanities, and a 2020 fellow with the Center for Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration. Estrella builds with feminist and Indigenous STS methods and her ethnographic fieldwork, oral history, archival research, and community archive-making while engaging with Indigenous and settler communities in Mexico and the U.S., seeking peyote-cactus-based environmental, racial, and economic justice. In addition to historicizing settler entanglements of “the psychedelic” with traditional Indigenous practices, Estrella links the legacies of European colonization of present-day U.S. and North-Central Mexico to today’s illegibility of Indigenous religions, doctoring practices, and land-based pedagogies in settler governance over land and medicine. 

Before coming to Yale, Estrella graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University (GS ‘19) with a B.A. in Anthropology (sociocultural track) pursuant to her transfer with an A.A. in Sociology from San Diego City College (’16). Her senior thesis at Columbia culminated in an auto-ethnographic essay–“Perpetuating Peyote: Cactus-Based Faith, Medicine, and Knowledge Production”–that pulled from environmental anthropology, critical Indigenous theories, and in-depth interviews conducted with Indigenous scientists and traditional doctors.

Estrella has worked with interlocutors of various healing systems throughout her studies and community organizing, integrating spiritual learnings into their research methodology, rhetorical style, creative nonfiction writing, and daily life. 


Yale History Department Diversity Committee (grad student rep.); Yale BIPOC Graduate Collective (Founding President); neplantera.