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Daisy Reyes, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Daisy Reyes, Ph.D. Daisy Reyes, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology | University of Connecticut


Sociology expert, theorizing the relationship between Latino identities and institutional/organizational powers


Daisy Reyes is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and El Instituto: The Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies at the University of Connecticut. In a series of research projects, she examines how institutions and organizational settings shape the construction of racial, ethnic, and political identities. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on a comparative ethnography of six Latino student organizations at three different institutions of higher education—a private liberal arts college, a public research university, and a public teaching university—where she interrogates how institutional contexts influence Latino students’ identities, outlooks on opportunity and inequality in America, and participation in collective action. She has also conducted sexuality research examining the ways Mexican-origin mothers convey sexual messages to their U.S. born daughters.

She currently serves on the board of directors for the Sociology of Education Association and the executive committee of the New England Consortium of Latino Studies. She is a 2014-2015 Faculty Fellow of the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education.

She teaches courses about social movements, political sociology, race and education, and Latinos in the United States. She earned a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in History from the University of California Santa Barbara, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology with an emphasis on Chicano-Latino Studies from University of California Irvine. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Connecticut, she taught at the University of California Merced.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Participation in collective action The construction of racial, ethnic, and political identities Inequality in America

Education (3)

University of California Irvine: Ph.D., Sociology 2012

University of California Irvine: M.A., Sociology 2007

University of California, Santa Barbara: B.A., Sociology 2005

Media Appearances (2)

Stepping, Strolling and Community: Latino Fraternities, Sororities Grow in Popularity

NBC News  tv

According to Daisy Verduzco Reyes, Ph.D, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, a growing number of Latino students are joining multicultural Greek organizations because they serve as a tool to integrate students to the campus community-at-large. Many of these students have grown up in all-Latino communities.

“Actually about a third of Latino students in K through 12 are going to all minority schools,” said Verduzco Reyes.

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Native Yale Students Pushing For Quinnipiac Recognition

National Public Radio  radio

"I think that there is something to be said for removing some of these monuments. I’m thinking about a campus I visited while I was a job candidate in the south. And I was taken to go see a painting that is very famous on that campus. And at that moment I was going to be their first Latina faculty member. And this is in the southwest. And their painting had 5 military leaders and they were all white men. And in the background, you saw Native Americans and Mexican Americans being colonized and reeducated. And as a Latina, seeing that image was not...it didn’t make me feel welcome. And I was a faculty member at that moment. So I put myself in the position of students. So if we have young, first generation college students, who are Black, Latino, Native American and you have these images, they can make a student feel like they don’t belong. So I think there is something to be said about removing them on college campus. Maybe we put them somewhere so they become artifacts, but not exalt them."

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Articles (4)

Disparate Lessons: Racial Climates and Identity-Formation Processes Among Latino Students Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race


This paper compares the identity-formation processes of Latino students in three different college contexts (a liberal arts college, a research university, and a regional public university). Drawing on ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, and surveys of members of Latino student organizations, I chart the distinct ways in which Latino students interact with one another and arrive at particular ethnic identities on different campuses. By applying ethnoracialization theory to mesolevel settings, I examine how students respond to external ascription as they co-construct and negotiate their ethnic-racial understandings. I identify three different patterns by which students deploy panethnic boundaries, specifically, as they adopt and define identity labels: inclusive Latino identification signifying solidarity above all, qualified Latino identification mediated through specific organizational membership, and the rejection of panethnic identities. I consider how the organizational context of each campus provides a distinct racial climate that mediates student interactions and potentially shapes the disparate identity outcomes that result. The findings suggest that, beyond providing academic experiences, colleges also provide Latino students with disparate lessons regarding who they are and where they fit in the ethnoracial hierarchy.

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Conundrums of Desire: Sexual Discourses of Mexican-Origin Mothers Sexuality & Culture


Given the social construction of Latina sexuality as a social problem associated with high fertility and over-sexualization in popular media, Mexican-origin mothers use protective discourses to educate their daughters about their sexuality. Based on in-depth interviews with 34 Mexican-origin women (seventeen mother-daughter dyads), this study explores how mothers communicate with their daughters about not only sexual relations and virginity directly, but also the relevant topics of menstruation, tampon use, and masturbation. I find that mothers’ tend to employ one of two types of sexual discourse: disembodied and objectified or embodied and subjective. In the disembodied and objectified view, mothers urge their daughters to remain virgins until marriage—even avoiding tampon use in order to do so—and expect their daughters to have no interest in sexual pleasure prior to sexual initiation by a man. In the embodied and subjective view, mothers emphasize that sex should be an expression of love and connectedness, ideally in marriage, but they have more flexible views regarding menstruation and masturbation. These findings suggest that Mexican-origin women’s ideas about sexuality are dynamic and complex, while also broadening our understanding of how and through what topics mothers and daughters talk about sex.

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Inhabiting Latino Politics: How Colleges Shape Students’ Political Styles Sociology of Education


To comply with ideals of multiculturalism and diversity, postsecondary institutions incorporate Latino students into distinct campus cultures. These cultures influence how students interact with one another, the university community at large, and communities outside of campus, ultimately shaping how students inhabit Latino politics. Drawing on data from 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork with six student organizations and 60 in-depth interviews, I compare Latino student organizations in a liberal arts college, a research university, and a regional public university. Building on inhabited institutional theory, I identify dimensions of campus cultures that work in interaction with students to produce three divergent forms of ethnic political expression: deliberative, divisive, and contentious. Inhabited institutionalism helps explain why Latino politics takes distinct forms in specific academic contexts and suggests that strong collegiate incorporation may paradoxically serve to suppress Latino student engagement in political activism outside the campus gates.

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Social movements and contentious politics Handbook of Politics


On May 1, 2006 immigration rights activists staged rallies across the United States. Immigrants and their supporters spilled out into the streets of most major American cities, reacting against a bill under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives. The so-called “Sensenbrenner Bill” (H.R. 4437) proposed austere immigration policies, including the construction of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.—Mexico border and the detention and criminalization of undocumented immigrants. In Los Angeles, the “March 25 Coalition,” comprised of more than 100 political and immigrant rights organizations, planned a demonstration which brought an estimated one million people to the streets (Archibold 2006; March 25 Coalition). Protesters wore white t-shirts, and carried signs that read: “Si Se Puede/Yes We Can,” “We are America,” “We are not Criminals,” and “We have a dream too.” Some carried American flags. Organizers also announced a boycott, with the intent of demonstrating the consumer and labor power of immigrants and their supporters through a “day without immigrants” (CNN.com 2006).

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