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2016-2017 PLACE Theme: Race and Ethnicity: Dr. Leo Chavez

Resource Guide for PLACE

Book Club

Library is hosting a book club session on November 15. Come discuss the book before Dr. Leo Chavez visits our campus on November 17. A light lunch will be served for those who RSVP. Please, come join us for a energetic discussion moderated by Dr. Walter Casey.

About the book

News media and pundits too frequently perpetuate the notion that Latinos, particularly Mexicans, are an invading force bent on reconquering land once their own and destroying the American way of life. In this book, Leo R. Chavez contests this assumption's basic tenets, offering facts to counter the many fictions about the "Latino threat." With new discussion about anchor babies, the DREAM Act, and recent anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona and other states, this expanded second edition critically investigates the stories about recent immigrants to show how prejudices are used to malign an entire population—and to define what it means to be American.

Description taken from Stanford University Press

Editorial Reviews

"Leo Chavez [...] has written a revised, updated and extended second edition of his insightful book The Latino Threat . . . [H]e leaves us with the bleak reality that [the Latino Threat Narrative] remains pervasively in full force today. This makes the second edition of The Latino Threat a timely and excellent book. It is a 'must-read' for politicians, academics, and anyone interested in immigration, Latina/o studies, race/class/gender inequalities and the politics of immigration."

—San Juanita Garcia, Bulletin of Latin American Research

"[The Latino Threat's] very breadth also opens new terrain for more detailed study and theorization. Chavez identifies pervasive, historically rooted myths and fears of immigrants, and specifically Latinos, in Anglo-American culture and its mainstream media . . . [I]t productively exposes the problematic discursive roots of much North American common sense in a way that a more narrowly focused study could never do. This is its real contribution and likely the reason the first edition proved so popular at the upper undergraduate level . . . Chavez deploys substantial, convincing data illustrating contemporary Latino cultural changes that belie the threat discourse; one can only hope that his message can shine a light on the pervasive presumptions of these Latino threat narratives."

—Paul Ryer, Latin American Research Review

"The time is certainly ripe for a second edition to Leo Chavez'sLatino Thread, which is replete with updated information on draconian immigration laws, as well as coverage of the presidential debates of 2012, which showcased the vituperative and vitriolic discourse of the Latino Narrative Threat . . . The Latino Threat is accessible and essential reading for students and professionals alike, and fosters advocacy for policy change, as well as the need to understand the psychologically and emotionally damaging repercussions of structural racism and nativist discourse practices, and their effects on provision of language access, health disparities, and social services for Latino immigrants."

—Catherine Carballeira, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

Praise for the First Edition: "Leo R. Chavez makes a forceful case for the proposition that Latino immigration to the United States is everything its supporters and opponents say it is—and much more. There is no secret reconquest conspiracy among Mexican immigrants—but Chavez also highlights the more subtle effect: Latino immigrants are changing the culture of the United States in much the same way as did every previous surge of new residents. This is a book with rich rewards for the serious student of the entire phenomenon of Latino immigration into the United States."

—Bill Richardson, Former Governor of New Mexico

Praise for the First Edition: "Leo Chavez has produced a superb, well-argued, and thought provoking book. Tackling subjects such as the Minutemen in Arizona, immigrant marches, Latino reproduction, and organ transplants, the book not only sheds a critical light on how, through the mass media, Latinos have been constructed as illegitimate members of society, it also provides powerful evidence to undermine the taken-for-granted truths marshaled to marginalize this population."

—American Ethnologist

Praise for the First Edition: "In this tour de force volume, Leo Chavez offers a penetrating analysis of how Latinos have been socially constructed as a threat to the American nation by bigoted political actors for their own cynical purposes and draws expertly on logic, facts, and reason to expose the mythical threat for the intellectual fraud and moral travesty that it truly is."

—Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University

"Chavez offers us a thoughtful analysis of conflicts over the meaning of citizenship in an increasingly globalized world. In an era of debate over immigration reform, this book is essential reading for scholars, policy makers, and a thoughtful public alike."

—Caroline B. Brettell, Southern Methodist University

Reviews taken from Stanford University Press

About the Author

He is a Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Irvine. Professor Chavez’s research examines various issues related to transnational migration, including immigrant families and households, labor market participation, motivations for migration, the use of medical services, and media constructions of “immigrant” and “nation.”


B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz, (1974), Anthropology
Ph.D. Stanford University (1982), Anthropology

Recent Awards and Honors

Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America. Awarded by the Society for the Anthropology of North America, a section of the American Anthropological Association.

Book Award for The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation (Stanford University Press, 2008), received from the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists, a section of the American Anthropological Association.

George and Mary Foster Distinguished Lecturer in Anthropology, “Cultural beliefs and Cancer Risk Factors: A Study of the Perceptions of Hispanic and Anglo Women and Physicians.” Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University (April 7).

Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology

Information taken from UC Irvine

Dr. Leo Chavez-Photo

Picture of Dr. Leo Chavez