Lorena Garcia, author of Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself: Latina Girls and Sexual Identity, will speak at the next Latin American and Latino Studies Spring Lecture Series (LALS) at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, in Stevenson Hall, room 101, at Illinois State University.

Garcia, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Illinois, Chicago, will present Complicating the Good Girl/Bad Girl Binary: Latina Youth and Sexual Agency. The talk is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) and the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program.

Many studies that have considered the sexual experiences of Latina girls have approached their sexuality as a “problem,” and ignored or marginalized their sexual agency, noted Garcia. This perspective on Latina youth tends to obscure other dimensions of their sexual lives, such as the complex interplay of race/ethnicity, gender and sexuality in their social worlds.

In this talk, Garcia will draw on her research among second-generation Latina girls in Chicago to show how focusing on Latina girls’ sexual agency can provide additional insight into their sexual practices, particularly in relation to safe sex.

Garcia received her Ph.D. in sociology with doctoral emphasis in women’s studies (now the Department of Feminist Studies) from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Her work has been published in academic journals including Gender & Society, Latino Studies, and Identities: Global Studies in Power & Culture. Her book Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself won the ASA Race, Gender and Class Section’s Distinguished Book Award. She has also co-edited a special issue of the National Women’s Studies Association Journal (NWSA) [now Feminist Formations] on Latina sexualities with Professor Lourdes Torres.

For more information on the lecture series, contact the Latin American and Latina/o Studies Program at (309) 438-0097 or latinostudies@IllinoisState.edu.