In Memory of Catrióna Rueda Esquibel 


Dr. Catrióna Rueda Esquibel passed away on February 8, 2024, from a hemorrhagic stroke. She was 58.

Dr. Esquibel served as the College of Ethnic Studies Associate Dean for six years and Interim Dean from 2022-2023.  She also served as the campus-wide Director of General Education, Africana Studies Acting Chair, and Race and Resistance Studies Acting Director.  She started her tenure at SFSU in 2005 as an Assistant Professor in what is now the Department of Race and Resistance Studies. 

As a college leader, she worked with colleagues to develop new majors, minors, and courses. Her course “RRS 304 Decolonize Your Diet: Food Justice and Gendered Labor in Communities of Color” is the most widely popular in the College of Ethnic Studies and at San Francisco State University.  More recently, Dr. Esquibel had also submitted a new class “ETHS 115 Introduction to Craftivism in Communities of Color.” 

She authored two books, With a Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians (UT Press, 2006) and Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015). In more recent years, she was a doll maker/muñequerx, crocheting gender non-binary dolls of color, which she gifted to children, friends, and political causes.   She attended most meetings with yarn and a crochet hook. Her art and her scholarship centered on healing from the traumas of colonization and cis-heteropatriarchy. 

Esquibel was born in Los Angeles and raised in New Mexico. She earned her Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz, following a Master of Arts in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from New Mexico Highlands University. Prior to SF State, Esquibel held tenure-track positions in the Department of Women Studies at Ohio State University and the Department of English at New Mexico State University.

Esquibel will be greatly missed, and we in the College of Ethnic Studies will work to honor her legacy, which includes a commitment to queer and trans-of-color communities and the project of decolonization and healing. 

Esquibel is survived by her life partner, Dr. Luz Calvo; her mother, Eleanor Esquibel; her sister, Christine Wright; her brothers-in-law, Andrew Calvo and Sal Wright; and her nephews Steven Vega, Cisco Vega, Chip Wright, and Maria Wright. She is survived as well as a broader family of queer and BIPOC scholars, activists, and friends and, of course, her beloved dogs, Nopalito and Sweet Pea. 

A campus-wide memorial is scheduled for Friday, May 3, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please RSVP here.