Patricia Fernandez-Kelly

Professor of Sociology
Faculty Associate, Office of Population Research
Email Address:
Office Location: 
255 Wallace Hall

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly holds a joint position as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and as a Research Associate in the Office of Population Research. Her field of interest is international development with an emphasis on immigration, race, ethnicity, and gender. She is the author of For We Are Sold, I and My People: Women and Industry in Mexico's Frontier, listed as a favorite title by Contemporary Sociology, a book which has never gone out of print since 1983 when it was first published. With filmmaker Lorraine Gray, she produced the Emmy-Award winning documentary "The Global Assembly Line," which focuses on the effects of economic globalization on working women and their families in the Philippines, Mexico, and the U.S. Her latest book (edited with Jon Shefner, University of Tennessee) is Out of the Shadows: Political Action and Informal Economy in Latin America (Penn State University Press 2006). Her current law-related work includes two projects: (a) in collaboration with the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) research among Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants towards the creation of a legal advocacy clinic; and (b) in collaboration with Hispanic Americans for Progress (HAP), a not-for-profit organization created and maintained by long-term inmates at the New Jersey State Prison, research and advocacy focusing on the American prison system.

How Does The United States Appear To Children Of Immigrants?

Although their parents cross borders in search of the American Dream, the children of illegal aliens, most of them Mexican and Central American, are increasingly being marginalized and are at risk of ending up in the ‘rainbow underclass.’ The same is true for many youngsters whose parents arrived from Haiti, Jamaica, or the Dominican Republic. Since 2002 I have been investigating the conditions surrounding second-generation immigrants in Southern Florida. Young people are adapting to our pluralistic society by shunning conventional employment and turning to entrepreneurship in order to secure independence and improve their standard of living. Whether as graffiti artists, singers, lyricists, photographers, or Internet Casino operators, the new immigrant generation is discovering innovative ways to define that which is American.

Publications List: 

“The Moral Monster: Recasting Honor and Propriety in Prison.” Forthcoming in Latinos in a Global Age (Renato Rosaldo, Editor, Blackwell).

Out of the Shadows: Political Action and the Informal Economy in Latin America (Edited with Jon Shefner, University of Tennessee). Penn State University Press (2005).

“Murdering the Alphabet” – Identity and Entrepreneurship among Second Generation Cubans, West Indians, and Central Americans, (with Lisa Konczal, Barry University). Ethnic and Racial Studies.“ Vol. 28 6(November 2005): 1153-1181.

“The Future of Gender in Mexico and the United States: Economic Transformation and Changing Definitions, in The Shape of Social Inequality: Stratification and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective (David B. Bills, Editor). New York: Elsevier: 255-280 (2005).

"Towanda's Triumph: Unfolding the Meanings of Adolescent Pregnancy in the Baltimore Ghetto, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Vol. 18, No.1(2005): 88-111.