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Cecilia Menjívar

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Sociology
Foundation Distinguished Professor
Primary office:
Fraser Hall
Room 721
University of Kansas
1415 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7540



CECILIA MENJÍVAR (PhD, UC Davis; Foundation Distinguished Professor) specializes in immigration, gender, family dynamics, social networks, religious institutions, and broad conceptualizations of violence. She works in two main empirical areas: the impacts of the legal regime and laws on immigrants, and the effects of living in contexts of multisided violence on individuals, especially women. Her work on immigration concerns mainly on the United States, where she focuses on Central American immigrants, whereas her work on violence is centered on Latin America, mostly Central America. A thread that connects her areas of work is her interest is how state power manifests itself, through legal regimes and formal institutions and bureaucracies, in the microprocesses of everyday life. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, International Migration Review, Ethnic & Racial Studies, among other journals. Her most recent publications include the edited volume, Constructing Immigrant Illegality: Critiques, Experiences, and Responses (Cambridge, 2014) and the book, Immigrant Families (Polity 2016). Areas: Immigration, Gender, Family, Violence, and Political Sociology

Her publications include, Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America (California, 2000) (winner of the William J. Goode Outstanding book award from the Family Section of the American Sociological Association, Honorable Mention from the International Migration Section, a Choice Outstanding Title, and among the 12 most influential books on the family since 2000, Contemporary Sociology), Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala (California, 2011) (winner of the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award, the Hubert Herring Best Book Award, Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies, and the Distinguished Scholarship Award, Pacific Sociological Association), and Immigrant Families (Polity, 2016). She is co-editor of Constructing Immigrant “Illegality”: Critiques, Experiences, and Responses (Cambridge, 2014), Latinos/as in the United States: Changing the Face of América (Springer 2008), and When States Kill: Latin America, the US, and Technologies of Terror (Texas, 2005). She is the recipient of a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship to write a book based on longitudinal fieldwork she undertook on immigration and legality in Arizona.

Selected Publications

Roberts, B., Menjívar, C., & Rodriguez, N. (Eds.). (2017). Deportation and Return in a Border Restricted World: Experiences in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Springer.

Agadjanian, V. Menjívar, C. & Zotova, N. (2017). Legality, racialization, and immigrants’ experience of ethnoracial harassment in Russia. Social Problems. DOI:10.1093/socpro/spw042

Menjívar, C. Abrego, L. & Schmalzbauer, L. (2016). Immigrant Families, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Menjívar, C. (2016). Immigrant Criminalization in Law and the Media: Effects on Latino Immigrant Workers’ Identities in Arizona. American Behavioral Scientist, 60(5-6), 597-616.

Menjívar, C. & Drysdale Walsh, S. (2016). Subverting Justice: Socio-Legal Determinants of Impunity for Violence against Women in Guatemala. Laws, 5(3), 1-20.

Menjívar, C. & Lakhani, S. M. (2016). Transformative Effects of Immigration Law: Migrants’ Personal and Social Metamorphoses through Regularization. American Journal of Sociology, 122(6), 1818-1855.

Drysdale Walsh, S. & Menjívar, C. (2016). “What Guarantees Do We Have?” Legal Tolls and Persistent Impunity for Feminicide in Guatemala. Latin American Politics and Society, 58(4), 31-55.

Enchautegui, M. E., & Menjívar, C. (2015). Paradoxes of Family Reunification Law: Family Separation and Reorganization Under the Current Immigration Regime. Law & Policy, 37(1-2), 32-60.

Menjívar, C. (2014). Eterna Violencia: Vidas de las mujeres ladinas en Guatemala, Guatemala: Ediciones del Pensativo & FLACSO-Guatemala.

Menjívar, C. & Kanstroom, D. (Eds.). (2014). Constructing Immigrant “Illegality”: Critiques, Experiences, and Responses. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Menjívar, C. (2014). Immigration Law Beyond Borders: Externalizing and Internalizing Border Controls in an Era of Securitization. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 10, 353-369.

Carling, J. Menjívar, C. & Schmalzbauer, L. (2012). Central Themes in the Study of Transnational Parenthood. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(2), 191-217.

Salcido, O. & Menjívar, C. (2012). Gendered Paths to Legal Citizenship: The Case of Latin-American Immigrants in Phoenix. Law & Society Review, 46(2), 335-368.

Menjívar, C. & Abrego, L. J. (2012). Legal Violence: Immigration Law and the Lives of Central American Immigrants. American Journal of Sociology, 117(5), 1380-1421.

Menjívar, C. (2011). Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Agadjanian, V. & Menjívar, C. (2011). Fighting Down the Scourge, Building up the Church: Organizational Constraints in Religious Involvement with HIV/AIDS in Mozambique. Global Public Health, 6(2), S148-S162.

Menjívar, C. (2011). The Power of the Law: Central Americans’ Legality and Everyday Life in Phoenix, Arizona. Latino Studies, 9(4), 377-395.

Rodríguez, H., Saenz, R., & Menjívar, C. (Eds.). (2008). Latinos/as in the United States: Changing the Face of América. New York, NY: Springer.

Menjívar, C. (2006). Liminal Legality: Salvadoran and Guatemalan Immigrants’ Lives in the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 111(4), 999-1037.

Menjívar, C. (2006). Public Religion and Immigration across National Borders. American Behavioral Scientist, 49(11), 1447-1454.

Menjívar, C. & Rodríguez, N. P. (Eds.). (2005). When States Kill: Latin America, the US, and Technologies of Terror. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Menjívar, C. (Ed.). (2003). Through the Eyes of Women: Gender, Social Networks, Family and Structural Change in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ontario, Canada: de Sitter Publications.

Menjívar, C. (2000). Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Selected Presentations

CLACS Events