The Department of Latina/Latino Studies is proud to announce professor Natalie Lira has been selected as a Conrad Humanities Scholar. 

The Conrad Humanities Scholars Award recognizes promising mid-career scholars and provides financial support for continued achievement, research, and scholarship in humanities. The designation is for five years. The awards are funded by a gift from the late Arlys Conrad (AB, ’44, education). 

Professor Natalie Lira’s research addresses complex questions in reproductive politics, the history of medicine, race and racism, disability studies, and eugenics. Lira’s 2021 book, “Laboratory of Deficiency: Sterilization and Confinement in California, 1900s-1950s” (University of California Press), analyzes the medicalization, institutionalization, and eugenic sterilization of Mexican-origin people in Southern California. California History called the book “a must-read for anyone interested in the history of eugenics and the socioeconomic and political motives that underpinned the adoption of eugenic policy.” Lira’s other works appear in Latino Studies, The American Journal of Public Health and most recently, Social Forces, making key contributions to histories of medicine, public health, and the politics of reproduction. She was recently named a 2022-2023 Helen Corley Petit Scholar, and received a Campus Distinguished promotion award in 2022.  

Lira is also the co-director of the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab (SSJL), a multi-institutional interdisciplinary research team that studies the history of eugenic sterilization in the United States. Funded in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the SSJL team uses mixed methods from the social sciences, humanities, and public health to explore patterns and experiences of eugenic sterilization in California, Iowa, North Carolina, Michigan, and Utah. 



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