Cisneros Institute Welcomes Dr. Ana Villareal

April 3, 2024

Ana Villareal Event

Written by: Sophia Benavente-Sayani, Cisneros Scholar ‘27

On Friday, March 1, the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute held a lecture featuring special guest Dr. Ana Villarreal, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston University, part of their signature series, LatinXpression. Her book, The Two Faces of Fear, featured fieldwork Dr. Villareal conducted in her hometown of Monterrey, Mexico during a turf war. Joined by Cisneros Affiliate Faculty Gema Kloppe-Santamaría and Omar Garcia Ponce, Dr. Villarreal narrated the impact fear and violence have on social ties, routines, and everyday life.

The qualitative work outlined in her book, which primarily consisted of interviews with citizens of the region, provided valuable insight into how fear was embedded into the routines of Monterrey’s residents despite it being presumed a wealthy and safe city. Dr. Villarreal shared jarring stories from women who self-imposed curfews to feel safer in their communities.

This “symbolic security,” as she coined it, required many to, at minimum, modify their schedules as violence festered in the region. These accounts illustrated the intense emotional responses citizens exhibited, particularly regarding the patronization and “othering” of lower-class citizens by the upper-class. Dr. Villareal’s unique approach to tackling violence via the sociology of emotion, allowed her to explain the often-overlooked impacts of the so-called War on Drugs.

The Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute is proud to have hosted an event in line with our mission to expose students to innovative research focused on the Latinx community. Thank you to Dr. Ana Villarreal and the Departments of History and Sociology for their contributions to this incredible event!

To pre-order The Two Faces of Fear, please visit this link.

Sophia Benavente-Sayani is a Cisneros Scholar majoring in Political Science and History. Sophia's views are her own and not necessarily reflective of the Cisneros Institute.