Aimee LaFayette

Graduate Student
Aimee LaFayette


Current status: Ph.D. in progress

Ph.D. dissertation title: The Vawa Self-Petition: Bureaucracy and Violence in the Daily Lives of Undocumented Immigrants in the United States

M.A. thesis title: Re-Educating “Victims” and “Aggressors” of Violence: Mapping Discourse and Practice in a Mexican Violence Prevention Education Program

Aimee LaFayette is an eighth-year Ph.D. student in cultural anthropology. She received her bachelor of arts degree in psychology at the University of Puget Sound and her master of arts degree in anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her M.A. thesis was an ethnographic examination of how gender and violence were discussed within a violence prevention program located in a north-central Mexican city. LaFayette’s dissertation continues with the subjects of gender and violence to explore how the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioning process is a source of structural and everyday violence that is expressed in the daily lives of non-citizens applying. In addition to her academic endeavors, LaFayette works on several development projects, raising assets for local and regional non-profit agencies. According to her, a Ph.D. in anthropology augments her work in this position in a two-fold manner: 1), an advanced degree conveys a comprehension of the complexities of social problems associated with gender, culture and violence to potential donors and 2), the advanced degree signifies an ability to evaluate the soundness of programs requesting funding. LaFayette also serves on several local boards, including the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation, where she is an executive board member, chairing the program committee. In this role, she is steward to over $5 million in grants annually awarded to local, national and international organizations.

Academic interests

  • Cultural anthropology
  • Immigration
  • Migration
  • Violence
  • Gendered violence
  • Gender and women's studies
  • Mexico


  • M.A., cultural anthropology, December 2011