Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Jessaca Leinaweaver

Jessaca Leinaweaver

Associate Professor of Anthropology
Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies


Jessaca Leinaweaver holds the PhD from the University of Michigan. She came to Brown in 2008, and is currently associate professor of anthropology. In 2015-16 she serves as interim chair of the Department of Anthropology. At Brown, Leinaweaver is affiliated with the Population Studies and Training Center and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She is the author of The Circulation of Children: Adoption, Kinship, and Morality in Andean Peru (Duke, 2008), which won the Margaret Mead Award in 2010. Her article “Kinship Paths To and From the New Europe: A Unified Analysis of Peruvian Adoption and Migration,” in the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, won the Jose Maria Arguedas Article Award, given by the Peru Section of the Latin American Studies Association in 2012. Her most recent book is Adoptive Migration: Raising Latinos in Spain (Duke, 2013).


Jessaca Leinaweaver conducts research in cultural anthropology and anthropological demography within Peru and the Peruvian diaspora. Her first research project, based in Ayacucho, Peru, examined informal child fostering in the urban Andes and its intersections with international adoption policies. Her next study, based in Madrid, contrasted transnational adoption and migration from Peru to Spain. She has also done collaborative research in Yauyos, Peru, with colleagues and students at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima.

Her current project is a study of aging, social responsibility, and demographic thinking in Peru, examining the marginalization of older, impoverished Latin Americans and the effectiveness of government proposals for improving their conditions. The case study of Peru resembles many developing nations that are facing the challenge of an aging population where informal (family-based) care is implicitly the norm but attitudes of the working-age population about responsibility to elders are transforming. 


2015 “The Geography of Transnational Adoption: Kin and Place in Globalization,” special issue of Social & Cultural Geography 16(5), co-edited with Sonja van Wichelen.

2015 “Geographies of Generation: Age Restrictions in International Adoption.” Social & Cultural Geography 16(5): 508-521. [10.1080/14649365.2014.994669]

2015 Jessaca Leinaweaver & Sonja van Wichelen. “The Geography of Transnational Adoption: Kin and Place in Globalization.” Social & Cultural Geography 16(5): 499-507. [10.1080/14649365.2015.1033449]

2015 “How Internationally Adoptive Parents Become Transnational Parents: ‘Cultural’ Orientation as Transnational Care.” In Anthropological Perspectives on Care: Work, Kinship, and the Life-Course, Erdmute Alber and Heike Drotbohm, editors. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

2015 “Transnational Fathers, Good Providers, and the Silences of Adoption.” In Globalized Fatherhood, Marcia Inhorn, Wendy Chavkin, and José-Alberto Navarro, editors. New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 81-102.

2015 “Adoption, Demography of.” Invited entry for the Demography section of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, James D. Wright, editor-in-chief. (2nd ed., Vol. 1), Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 136–141.

2015 La migración adoptiva: criando a peruanos en España. Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, trans. Adriana Soldí. (Translation of Adoptive Migration: Raising Latinos in Spain. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013)  


Dr. Leinaweaver teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in cultural anthropology, Latin American Studies, and anthropological demography.

Recent courses taught:

  • ANTH 0066P - Transnational Lives: Anthropology of Migration and Mobilities.  (fall 2014)

  • ANTH 0100 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.  (spring 2015)

  • ANTH 2010 - Principles of Cultural Anthropology.  (spring 2015, spring 2016)

  • ANTH 2060 - Anthropology Dissertators' Seminar (2015-16 year long course)