Iris Lopez


Main Affiliation


Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs

Latin American and Latino Studies

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Gender issues
  • Globalization
  • Puerto Rican Diaspora
  • Sterilization Abuse


North Academic Center







Iris López

Iris Lopez


Dr. Iris López is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Program in Latin American and Latin@ Studies at City College, a program she has directed for several terms beginning in 1999. Previously, Dr. López has chaired the Sociology Department (2013-2016), the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Committee (2005-2008), and she was Director of the Women’s Studies Program (1996-1999). Dr. López was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Los Angeles, affiliated with the Chicano/a Program (1990-1992). From 1985 to 1990, Dr. López was Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Exchange Program for City College-wide Initiative, where she developed a Student Exchange Program with the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

In addition to establishing key academic connections between Latin American, Caribbean, and Chicano/a Studies programs, her research and publications on the Puerto Rican Diaspora in Hawai’i and on sterilization abuse of Puerto Rican women has highlighted crucial connections to globalization, reproductive freedom, and social justice. As an invited speaker and panelist at numerous U.S.-based and international conferences, Dr. López continues to present critical work and speak about her areas of expertise in Latino/ education, gender issues, pre-natal care, and sterilization abuse.


Post Doctorate, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Department of Anthropology, 1995

Ph.D, Columbia University, Anthropology, 1985

M.A., Columbia University, Anthropology, 1980

B.A., New York University, Literature, 1975


Research Interests

Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Mainland and Hawai’i, Globalization, women of color, Gender Issues, Pre-Natal Care, Sterilization Abuse, Reproductive Rights Policy and Politics, Education of Latino Youth, Diversity and Change in the Latino Community.




Matters of Choice: Puerto Rican Women’s Struggle for Reproductive Freedom. Rutgers University Press (December, 2008).

Telling To Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios. Co-authored with the Latina Feminist Group. Durham: Duke University Press.

Bibliographic Essay And Annotated Bibliography: El Aborto En Puerto Rico. Co-authored with A. Colon, A.L. Davila, M.Fernos and E. Vicente, Puerto Rico: Centro de Investigaciones Sociales, Recinto de Rio Piedras: 1-131. 

Monograph Co-authored with F. Caro, E. Marshall, A. Carter, D. Kalmuss and D. Darabi, Barriers to Prenatal Care: An Examination of the Use of Prenatal Care Among Low-Income Women in New York City. New York: Community Service Society: 1-115. 1988

Book Prize 2002 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, Telling to Live: Latin Feminist Testimonios. Co-authored with the Latina Feminist Group. Durham: Duke University Press. Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, Simmons College, Boston MA.


Reviews of Books:

2019 Our Bodies, Our Rights: Empowering Women of Color through the Movement for Reproductive Justice (NYU Press, 2019), by Patricia Zavella.

2016 Pushing in Silence: The Medicalization and Rapid Transformation in Puerto Rico 1946-1990s-(NYU Press, 2016) Isabel M. Cordoba.

2011 Family Planning in Brazil: From Eugenics to Reproductive Rights, Irrational Reproduction: New Intersections of Politics, Gender, Race, and Class Across the North-South Divide. Anthropology & Medicine, Spring.

2004 Review for the Journal of American Anthropologists. September 106.3 issue for Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island in the United States. Jorge Duany. Chapel Hill. University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

2003 Review for Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick. We Took the Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with the Young Lords. Miguel Melendez.

1999 Reviewer for the Centro Journal. Reviewed: Indigenous Hawai’ians under Statehood: Lessons for Puerto Rico, blind Review.

1999 Reviewer for the Centro Journal. Los Discursos de Oposición a la Esterilización Femenina en la Prensa Puertorriqueña (1940-1975), blind review.

1988 Essay Review of Two Boys, A Girl, and Enough! Reproduction and Economic Decision Making on the Mexican Periphery. Jean M. Simoneli in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 2 (1):86-89.



2012 Negotiating Different Worlds: An Integral Ethnography of Reproductive Freedom & Social Justice,” Feminist Activist Ethnography: Counterpoints to Neo-Liberalism in North America. Christa Craven and Dana-Ain Davis, eds. Lanham MD: Lexington Books. Forthcoming, expected March 2013.

2011 "Sterilization & the Ethics of Reproductive Technology: An Integral Approach." Scholar & Feminist Journal, Barnard: Columbia University Press.

2011 "Sterilization Abuse & Beyond, A Case Study of Puerto Rican Women," Oxford Encyclopedia.

2005 "Borinkis and Chop Suey: From Aloha to Globalization," The Puerto Rican Diaspora. Editors: Carmen Whalen and Victor Vasquez- Hernandez. Philadelphia: Temple University Press: 43-67.

2005 "lmas Borinkis in Hawai’i" Editors: Vicky Ruiz and Virginia Sanchez -Korral, Encylopedia of Latina Women in the United States. Indiana University Press: 62-68.

2005 "Forced Sterilization." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. Editors: Suzanne Obler and Deanna Gonzalez. Volume 3. Oxford University: 152-154.

2003 "Agency and Constraint: Sterilization and Reproductive Freedom Among Puerto Rican Women in New York City," Reprinted in Latina Health in the United States: A Public Health Reader (San Francisco: Jossey Bass).

2001 Introduction and Section Editor of Puerto Ricans in Hawai’i. Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Volume XIII, Number 1, spring: 78-81.

2001 "Borinki Identity in Hawai'i: Present and Future." Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Volume XIII, Number 1, co- authored with David Forbes, Spring: 108-125.

2001 "Celebrando Hawai’ian Style: The Puerto Rican Centennial in Hawai'i," Co-authored with David Forbes, Centro News: Newsletter of the Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos, Volume 2, Spring:6.

1998 "An Ethnography of the Medicalization of Puerto Rican Women's Reproduction," Pragmatism in Action: Women's Responses to Body Technologies. Margaret Lock and Patricia Kaufert, editors England: Cambridge University Press, Fall 1997: 240-258.

1997 "gency and Constraint: Sterilization And Reproductive Freedom Among Puerto Rican Women In New York City," Reprinted in Situated Lives: Gender and Culture in Everyday Life. Editors Louise Lamphere, Helena Ragone, and Pat Zavella, Routledge Press: 157-171.

1994 The Social Construction of Choice: An Ethnographic Study of Puerto Rican Women and Sterilization in New York City, Genero Y Mujeres Puertorriquenas: Tercer encuentro de investigadoras. Rio Piedras, Centro de Investigaciones Sociales: 105-126. 

1993 Agency and Constraint: Sterilization and Reproductive Freedom Among Puerto Rican Women in New York City, Editors: Reprint Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and Economic Development,(3-4), Fall and Winter: 299-323.

1989 "A Divided City: Disparities in the Utilization of Prenatal Care Services in New York City," Kaleidoscope: Current Research And Scholarly Activity at CCNY. Spring, Volume 1: 11-13.

1988 Barriers to the Timely Use of Prenatal Care Among Non-White Women in New York City", Special Health Issue, Estudios Puertorriqueños Bulletin, Fall 1988, 2(4):72-77.

1987 "Sterilization Among Puerto Rican Women in New York City: Public Policy and Social Constraints, Cities of the United States: Studies in Urban America. Editor: Leith Mullings. New York: Columbia University Press: 269-291.

1986 Contributed to the development of the Study Guide for the Classic Film: La Operacion: 9-15.

1983 "Social Coercion and Sterilization Among Puerto Rican Women", England: Sage Race Relations Abstracts, Volume 8 (3):27-40.

1980 "Sterilization in Puerto Rico: Coercion or Personal Choice?" Genes and Gender III, E. Tobach and B. Rosoff, eds. New York: Gordian Press: 66-75


Work in progress:

"Puerto Ricans, Ethnicity, and Globalization: Borinki’s in Hawai’i." University of Hawaii Press.


Selected Awards:

2010-1999 PSC/CUNY Awards

2009 Hawai'i Council for the Humanities

2008, 2001, 2000 Intercambio Award

1993 Ford Foundation/National Research Fellowship-Post Doctorate Fellowship

1987 National Science Foundation Fellow Research Grant for Minority Scholars

1985 Danford Fellowship Award

1983 Whitney Young Foundation Fellow

!982-84 National Institute of Mental Health Fellowship Grant

1981-1982 Whitney Young Fellowship

1975-1980 Ford Foundation Fellow Grant