Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Jessaca Leinaweaver

+1 401 863 3237
59 Charlesfield Street, Room 202



Downloadable CV

Jessaca Leinaweaver

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 Professor of Anthropology. Leinaweaver directs the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She is affiliated with the Population Studies and Training Center. 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. 


2017 "'Homework' and transnational adoption screening in Spain: the co-production of home and family." Journal of the Royal Anthropoligical Institute 23(3): 562-579. [10.1111/1467-9655.12652]

2017 “Transatlantic Unity On Display: The ‘White Legend’ and the ‘Pact of Silence’ in Madrid’s Museum of the Americas.” History and Anthropology 28(1):39-57. [10.1080/02757206.2016.1253567]

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 2065 – Proposal Writing for Anthropology.  (fall 2017, fall 2018)

  • ANTH 2210 – Anthropology of Kinship (fall 2017)

  • ANTH 0680 – Anthropology of Food  (spring 2017, spring 2019)

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

Talks & Media

2018 When Gaming the System Is the Only Way to Parenthood. Jessaca Leinaweaver and Diana Marre. In SAPIENS, https://www.sapiens.org/culture/adoption-spain/.

2017 Peru Should Think Outside the 'Baby Box'. In US News & World Report, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-09-12/perus-congress-considers-an-unwise-baby-box-law-for-abandoned-children

2017 The international adoption rate has plummeted in the US. In TRT World, http://www.trtworld.com/opinion/the-international-adoption-rate-has-plummeted-in-the-us-404783

2017 Back To The Future: Funding Science Makes Sense. In Thrive Global, https://journal.thriveglobal.com/science-is-more-than-just-people-working-in-a-lab-533ef5515395

2017 Hungry for shame — who’s trashing America’s school lunch? In The Hill, http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/education/335132-hungry-for-shame-whos-trashing-americas-school-lunch

2017 Government Knows Best? Why ‘Protecting’ Children Can Cause Harm. In Thrive Global, https://journal.thriveglobal.com/government-knows-best-why-protecting-children-can-cause-harm-9bc1d8ceb476

2017 Adoptive or Birth Parent: Who Gets to Say How Old is Too Old? In Garnet News, http://garnetnews.com/2017/04/18/adoptive-birth-parent-gets-say-old-old/

2017 Who's Your Mommy and Daddy? For Migrant Children, It Matters. In Truthout.org, http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/40151-who-s-your-mommy-and-daddy-for-migrant-children-it-matters

2017 Latin America’s Institutional Failure. In US News & World Report, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-03-29/latin-americas-orphanages-reflect-a-regions-poverty-crisis

2017 Breaking families apart: The moral and economic costs to the US. In The Hill, http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil-rights/324779-breaking-families-apart-the-moral-and-economic-costs-to-the.

News|Recent News

All News