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A Glass Half Empty

Speaker to Discuss the Politics of Immigration, Latina Reproduction And Fertility

Leo R. Chavez presents “A Glass Half Empty: The Politics of Latina Reproduction"

(May 21, 2004)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (— Can some women be reproductive threats to society? Anthropologist Leo R. Chavez, of the University of California, Irvine, will discuss this line of reasoning in a talk titled “A Glass Half Empty: The Politics of Latina Reproduction,” scheduled for 4 p.m., Wednesday May 26, in Humanities 1500 at the University of California Riverside.

For details about this free, public event, contact the Center for Ideas and Society at 909-787-3987 or visit their website at

His discussion touches on a study of writings in ten national magazines over a span of 35 years, beginning in 1965. Latina reproduction and fertility became ground zero in a political war in post-1965 America not just of words, but of public policies and laws.

Three themes relating to the so-called Latina reproductive threat emerged from the research. They included: high fertility and population growth; the reconquest of portions of the United States lost by Mexico in the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848; and the overuse of medical and other social services.

The concluding segment of Chavez’s talk will look at data on reproduction and fertility collected from Latinas and Anglo women in Orange County, California, to explore the “truth claims” associated with the public discussion on Latina reproduction and fertility.

Leo Chavez conducts research on transnational migration, which includes immigrant families and households, labor market participation, motivations for migrations, and the use of medical services, among other issues.

Chavez has written various publications including, Shadowed Lives: Undocumented Immigrants in American Society (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich College Publishers, 1992), which gives an ethnographic account of Mexican and Central American undocumented immigrants in the San Diego county area. He has also written and Covering immigration: popular images and the politics of the nation (University of California Press, 2001), which depicts how immigrants are represented in the United States media. His most recent work “Immigration and Medical Anthropology” is part of American Arrivals: Anthropology Engages the New Immigration, edited by Nancy Foner (School of American Research, 2003).

Humanities 1500 is on the UCR online campus map at, or by asking the attendant at the parking kiosk at the University Avenue entrance to campus. Parking Permits are available at the Kiosk and cost $6 per day, $5 daily after 4 p.m. Also, hourly permits are available from the dispenser in visitor lot 2.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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