Nelson Varas-Diaz


Global and Sociocultural Studies

Office: SIPA 330



Dr. Nelson Varas-Díaz is a social-community psychologist and professor in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University. His current research addresses the intersections of communal health, oppression, resistance, and the arts, in the context of coloniality. His health-related research funded by the National Institutes of Health explores how communities experience the collapse of health care systems and subsequently engage in collective strategies to protect their health. Specifically, his ongoing research studies aim to: 1) document the process of medical migration and its impact on health care systems, 2) the role of energy independence via solar panels in managing chronic diseases, and 3) communal acupuncture as a collective health-sustaining strategy. His research also focuses on the use of the arts as a strategy to understand and challenge coloniality throughout Latin America. His work with decolonial heavy metal music has informed his most recent books, including “Decolonial Metal Music in Latin America” (Intellect - 2021), “Heavy Metal Music and the Communal Experience” (Lexington - 2016), “Heavy Metal in Latin America: Perspectives from the Distorted South” (Lexington - 2021), and “Defiant Sounds: Heavy Metal Music in the Global South” (Lexington - 2023). He has also been active in the use of visual methods, such as photo-voice and documentary film, as communal research strategies. His documentary films have garnered more than 87 laurels in international film festivals.


Selected Publications

Latest Books:

Varas-Díaz, N. (2021). Decolonial Heavy Metal Music in Latin American. London, UK: Intellect.

Varas-Díaz, N. Nevárez Araujo, D. & Rivera-Segarra, E. (2021). Heavy Metal Music in Latin America: Perspectives from the Distorted South. London, UK: Lexington Press.

Varas-Díaz, N., Azevedo, C. & Nevárez, D. (2018). Heavy Metal in Latin America. Metal Music Studies. United Kingdom: Intellect.

Latest Films:


Acts of Resistance: Heavy Metal Music in Latin America

Latest Publications in Academic Journals:

Varas-Díaz, N., Padilla, M., Rodríguez-Madera, S., Grove, K., Contreras, V., Rivera, S., Vargas-Molina, Ricardo & Marzán, M. (2022). Decolonial Visual Resistance as a Public Health Strategy in Post-María Puerto Rico. Journal of Political Visual Communication, 8(1), 29-65.

Varas-Díaz, N., Hickam, B., González, S., Castañeda, M., Galicia Poblet, F., Nieves, A., & Scaricaciottoli, E. (2022). Toda la sangre formando un río: Contributions to the histories of metal music studies from the Spanish-speaking world. Metal Music Studies, 8 (1), 47-68.

Varas-Díaz, N., Rivera-Segarra, E. & Nevárez Araujo, D. (2019).  Coloniality and resistance in Latin American metal music: Death as experience and strategy. Hispanic Issues Online, 23, 226-251.

Areas of Expertise

Social stigma, health, decoloniality, and visual research methods


PhD, University of Puerto Rico, 2002