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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

Menjívar, C. . (01/01/2015 - 12/31/2016). The Integration of Immigrants into American Society Report. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Washington, DC

Menjívar, C. . (09/07/2016 - 09/08/2016). Institute for Latino Studies. University of Notre Dame

Menjívar, C. . (06/02/2016 - 06/05/2016). Legal Experiences and Attitudes of Immigrants. Law & Society Association. New Orleans

Menjívar, C. . (05/27/2016 - 05/30/2016). The Transformative Effects of Multi-layered Precarity: Experiences of Liminally Legal Central American Immigrant Workers. Latin American Studies Association. New York

Menjívar, C. . (05/24/2016). Country Conditions for the Migration of Central American Women. Plenary Session, CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) Convening. Sheraton Hotel, Kansas City, MO

Menjívar, C. . (05/02/2016 - 05/03/2016). Geopolitics, Securitization, and the Definitional Question in Asylum Admissions: The Case of Central Americans Then and Now. Shifting Landscapes of Asylum in North America, Canada Program. Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

Menjívar, C. . (02/25/2016 - 02/26/2016). Theoretical, Methodological, and Ethical Issues in Conducting Research with Undocumented,
Unaccompanied, and Citizen Children. Undocumented, Unaccompanied, and Citizen: Charting Research Directions for Children of Immigration. School of Social Work, UT Austin

Menjívar, C. . (02/24/2016 - 02/26/2016). Is There a Role for Academics in the Support of Central American Refugees? Derechos en Crisis: Refugees, Migrant Detention, and Authoritarian Neoliberalism. LLILAS, UT, Austin

Menjívar, C. . (11/18/2015 - 11/21/2015). Author meets-critics-panel, book, "Crime, Punishment and Migration," by Dario Melossi. American Society of Criminology. Washington, DC

Menjívar, C. . (10/28/2015). Central American Immigrants Navigate the US Ethnoracial Landscape. Rethinking Race: USC’s Centennial Celebration Conference. University of Southern California

Menjívar, C. . (10/08/2015 - 10/09/2015). The Politics of Citizenship. Transforming Migrations: Beyond the 1965 Act Conference, University of California, Irvine.

Menjívar, C. . (09/30/2015). Intersections of Violence in Latin America and Human Rights Across Time and Space. Intersections of Violence In Latin America Symposium, Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies Program, University of Kentucky.

Menjívar, C. . (09/17/2015). Exploring Strategies from Scholarly Research to Expert Testimony. Central American Refugees in Detention: Retthinking U.S. Immigration Conference, Chicano Research Center, UCLA.

Menjívar, C. . (08/22/2015 - 08/25/2015). Immigration and Politics. American Sociological Association meetings. Chicago, IL

Menjívar, C. . (05/27/2015 - 05/30/2015). Everyday Aggression: Inequality and Feminicide in Honduras and Latin America. Featured Session—Enduring and/or New Forms of Inequality in a Globalizing Word, Panel 1. Latin American Studies Association meetings. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Menjívar, C. . (05/27/2015 - 05/30/2015). Migrations, Precarities and Illegalizations in the Americas. Latin American Studies Association. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Menjívar, C. . (05/13/2015). Immigration Law and Immigrant Families. Department of Sociology, Yerevan State University. Yerevan, Armenia

Menjívar, C. . (05/11/2015 - 05/12/2015). Gender Issues in Contemporary Armenia: From Research to Policy. Yerevan State University Center for Gender and Leadership Studies, Armenia.

Menjívar, C. . (04/29/2015). U.S. Immigration Law and the Reconfiguration of Immigrant Families. The 2015 Albert Morris Lecture in Sociology, Boston University.

Menjívar, C. . (04/23/2015 - 04/24/2015). Fleeing Violence, Finding Prison: The Treatment of Migrant Women in Flight from Domestic Violence in the U.S. Immigration System. Haury Program in Environmental and Social Justice, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona. Tucson, AZ

Menjívar, C. . (04/08/2015). The Reconfiguration of Immigrant Families through Law. The Kercher Symposium Series, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University.

Menjívar, C. . (03/06/2015 - 03/07/2015). Legal Status as an Identity among Immigrants. Migration and Identity: Perspectives from Asia, Europe and North America, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Hong Kong

Menjívar, C. . (01/22/2015 - 01/23/2015). Contributions to Policy: Legal Status. Frontiers of Immigration Research and Policy Conference, Temporary Migration Cluster, University of California, Davis.

Menjívar, C. . (01/07/2015). Central America: Migration Trends. Brief. Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Department of State. Washington, D.C

Menjívar, C. . (11/18/2014). Panel discussion (author meets critics) of Eterna Violencia (Spanish publication of Enduring Violence). FLACSO-Guatemala. Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala

Menjívar, C. . (11/11/2014). Immigration Laws and Immigrant Families. OLLAS Lecture Series, Office of Latino/Latin American Sudies, University of Nebraska. Omaha, NE

Menjívar, C. . (10/21/2014). The Reconfiguration of Immigrant Latino Families. Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series, Office of the Provost, University of Kansas.

Menjívar, C. . (09/29/2014). The Transformative Effects of Immigration Law. CLASS Workshop, Gould School of Law, University of Southern California.

Menjívar, C. & Fukui, H. . (08/16/2014 - 08/19/2014). Social Networks Among Older Asian and Latino Immigrants in Phoenix. Thematic Session on Networks of Need in the Age of Economic and Social Precarity, American Sociological Association. San Francisco, CA

Menjívar, C. . (07/17/2014 - 07/19/2014). Somos Familia: The Transnational Politics of Representation about Latino Families. Latina/o Studies International Conference. Chicago, IL

Menjívar, C. . (07/13/2014 - 07/19/2014). Multisided Violence and the State in the Lives of Guatemalan and Salvadoran Women. XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology. Yokohama, Japan

Menjívar, C. . (05/21/2014 - 05/24/2014). The Disappeared, Displaced and Technologies of Memory: Long-term Consequences of Armed Conflicts in Central America. Latin American Studies Association meetings. Chicago, IL

Menjívar, C. . (05/14/2014). The Reconfiguration of Immigrant Latino Families in Light of the Current Immigration Regime. Latin American & Latino Studies Distinguished Speaker Series, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Menjívar, C. . (04/06/2014). Tranformative Effects of Immigration Law on Families. Department of Sociology, UCLA.

Menjívar, C. . (02/26/2014). Central American Immigration: Honoring Pioneers & Charting New Paths. Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California.

Menjívar, C. . (11/20/2013). Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala. Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania.

Enchautegui, M. & Menjívar, C. . (11/07/2013 - 11/09/2013). Broken by Law?: How Immigration Policies Split Families. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Washington, D.C

Menjívar, C. . (11/08/2013). Multi-layered Legislation, Enforcement Practices, and Piecemeal Immigration Policies: What Can We Learn From and About Today's Approaches? Keynote Lecture at the Latino Communities in Old and New Destinations: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives to Assessing the Impact of Legal Reforms Conference, University of South Florida.

Menjívar, C. . (09/27/2013). Immigrants' Lives, Immigration Laws and Reflections for Reform. Bastian Foundation Diversity Lecture Series, Westmister College. Salt Lake City, UT

Menjívar, C. . (06/21/2013 - 06/22/2013). Trabajadoras migrantes en la frontera sur: seminario/taller. El Colegio de México.

Menjívar, C. . (05/09/2013). Tranformative Effects of Immigration Law. Center for Migration and Development, Princeton University.

Menjívar, C. . (05/02/2013). Legal Violence: Short and Long Term Effects on Immigrants. Population Studies & Training Center, Brown University.

Menjívar, C. . (04/25/2013 - 04/26/2013). Contexts of Exit and Women's Emigration. Law, Asylum, and Sending Countries panel, Crossing Borders: Immigration and Gender in the Americas, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

Menjívar, C. . (04/05/2013). Penny Kanner Next Generation Fellowship Manuscript Workshop for Leisy Abrego. Center for the Study of Women, UCLA.

Menjívar, C. . (02/15/2013). Violence Against Immigrants: A Focus on Structures. Undocunation Symposium, Center for Race & Gender, University of California, Berkeley.

Menjívar, C. . (01/30/2013 - 01/31/2013). A Reflection on Immigration, Violence and Vulnerability. Cole Lecture, 31st Annual Sociology and Anthropology Symposium, Wheaton College. Norton, MA

Menjívar, C. & Abrego, L. . (12/11/2012). Legal Violence in the Lives of Immigrants: How Immigration Enforcement Affects Families, Schools, and Workplaces. Capstone event of Documenting the Undocumented Series, Center for American Progress. Washington, D.C

Menjívar, C. . (11/14/2012). Immigration and Arizona. Faculty Cross-talks, Office of Diversity, Arizona State University.

Menjívar, C. . (11/09/2012 - 11/11/2012). Immigration and Religious Communities: Challenges to Public Life. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and Religious Research Association. Phoenix, AZ

Menjívar, C. . (10/04/2012). Criminalization of Immigrants: Effects on the ground. Krost Symposium, Texas Lutheran University.

Menjívar, C. . (09/25/2012). Enduring Violence in Guatemala's Women's Lives. Department of Sociology, Northern Arizona University.

Menjívar, C. . (09/21/2012). Enduring Violence: Ladina Women's Lives in Guatemala. Latin American Studies cluster, Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University.

Menjívar, C. Zotova, N. & Agadjanian, V. . (08/31/2012). The Plurality of the Legal Context of Reception: The Case of Central Asian Immigrant Women in Russia. American Sociological Association meetings. Denver, CO

Menjívar, C. . (05/23/2012 - 05/26/2012). Twenty Years of Continued Migration. El Salvador: Twenty Years of Peace panel, Latin American Studies Association meetings. San Francisco, CA

Menjívar, C. . (05/24/2012). Borders, Migration, Community: Arizona and Beyond. Preconference, International Communication Association. Phoenix, AZ

Menjívar, C. . (04/23/2012). Legality Without Borders: US Immigration Law and Transnational Links. [Im]Migration and Movement: People, Ideas, and Social Worlds: A Fellows Symposium, Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University.

Menjívar, C. . (04/18/2012). Hyper Awareness of the Law in Central American Immigrants' Everyday Life. Center for Race, Ethnicity and Politics, UCLA.

Menjívar, C. . (03/22/2012 - 03/25/2012). Thematic session, Gender and Immigration. Pacific Sociological Association Meetings. San Diego, CA

Menjívar, C. . (02/24/2012). The Power of the Law: Central Americans' Legality in Everyday Life. Featured speaker, Central Americans and the Latino/a Landscape: New Configurations of Latina/o America Conference, LLILAS/CMAS, University of Texas, Austin.

Santos, C. & Menjívar, C. . (02/23/2012 - 02/24/2012). The Socio-emotional Effects of SB 1070 on Youth in Arizona. Equity and Opportunity Research Symposium: Immigration Policy Shifts affecting Latino Children/Families, Arizona State University.

Menjívar, C. . (02/02/2012). Enduring Violence: Ladina Women's Lives in Guatemala. UCLA “Untold Histories: Transnational Voices of Central Americans” series, and California State University, Los Angeles Chicano Studies and Latin American Studies.

Menjívar, C. . (10/21/2011). Everyday Violence in the Lives of Ladina Guatemalans. ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture Series, Kansas State University.

Menjívar, C. . (08/20/2011 - 08/23/2011). Everyday Violence in the Lives of Ladina Guatemalans. Thematic Session on Conflict, Citizenship, and Development in Latin America, American Sociological Association meetings. Las Vegas, NV

Abrego, L. & Menjívar, C. . (08/20/2011 - 08/23/2011). Immigrant Latina Mothers as Targets of Legal Violence. Invited section on Treacherous Geographies of Borders, Gender, and Immigrant Communities in the Americas, American Sociological Association meetings. Las Vegas, NV

Menjívar, C. & Agadjanian, V. . (08/20/2011 - 08/23/2011). War and Peace: Enduring Social Effects of Protracted Conflicts in Southern Africa and Central America. Thematic Session on Learning from Intractable Social Conflict, American Sociological Association meetings. Las Vegas, NV

Menjívar, C. . (05/06/2011). Migración Femenina Centroamericana en Estados Unidos. Conferencia magistral, II Encuentro Mesoamericano de Estudios de Género y Feminismos, Avances y retos de una década: 2001-2011. FLACSO. Guatemala City, Guatemala

Menjívar, C. . (05/05/2011). Presentation/Discussion of Enduring Violence: Ladina Women's Lives in Guatemala. Encuentro Mesoamericano de Estudios de Género y Feminismos, Avances y retos de una década: 2001-2011. FLACSO. Guatemala City, Guatemala

Menjívar, C. . (05/02/2011). Latino Immigrant Lives: Reflections for Reform. 20th Anniversary Daniel S. Sanders Peace and Social Justice Lecture, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Fukui, H. & Menjívar, C. . (04/01/2011). Labor Force Participation Among Aging Immigrants in the United States. Poster presented at the Population Association of America meetings. Washington, D.C

Menjívar, C. . (03/25/2011). Family Separation and Immigrant Women. “Organizations Working with Latina Immigrants: Resources and Strategies for Change,” Institute for Women’s Policy Research/Woodrow Wilson International Center. Washington, D.C

Menjívar, C. . (03/14/2011). Living in Legal Limbo: Latino Immigrants in Arizona's Immigration Regime. University of California, Merced.

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