Your browser does not support JavaScript

Regina Larrea Maccise

Regina Larrea Maccise

S.J.D. Candidate

LL.M. Advisor

Graduate Student Associate, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies

rlarreamaccise at


Developing Feminist Law in Mexico: A Historical & Theoretical Analysis of the Mexican Feminist Movement (1970 – 2012)

My dissertation studies the Mexican feminist movement and its emerging and evolving relationship to legal reform and the state, beginning in the 1970s. A key theme of my dissertation is the phenomenon known as “governance feminism,” which refers to the power that feminists and feminist ideas have come to exercise in law and state institutions (see Halley et al., Governance Feminism: An Introduction). Governance feminism is common in Mexico today, but it was not always so.

I am interested in understanding the transformations Mexican feminism has undergone since the 1970s, when the nueva ola (new wave) of feminists emerged in Mexico City as a grassroots movement, to our day, when governance feminism is widespread in the state, the legal system, NGOs, and independent gender experts. In short, the questions I seek to answer are: How did feminism find its way into law? How did feminism change the state? And how did feminism itself—as a movement and as a set of ideas—change in the process?

To address these questions, my dissertation analyzes two legislative projects undertaken by feminists since the 1970s: the decriminalization of abortion and rape law reform. I look at different moments in each of these cases when feminist activists began to face organizational and ideological dilemmas that changed the movement and gave rise to a new mode of activism, centered on legal reform from inside and outside the state. My analysis also traces the ideological tradeoffs that the turn to law entailed for feminists. With this work, I hope to shed light on the complex historical processes that brought feminism—or some feminisms—into the law. Despite its enormous relevance for current conditions in Mexico this important process remains unaddressed by the existing legal scholarship. Methodologically, the dissertation combines legal and historical analysis. My primary sources include archival materials and interviews with key feminist activists.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Global North Feminisms with Professor Janet Halley, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Critical Social Theory with Professor Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School
  • History and Theory of 20th Century Social Movements in Mexico with Prof. Kirsten Weld, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Additional Research Interests

  • Family Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • International Law
  • Legal Theory
  • Legal History


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate, 2013-Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M. Program, 2012-2013 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • ITAM, Mexico, LL.B., 2011

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, 2018-2019, John H. Coatsworth Latin American History Fellow
  • David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, 2018-2019, Graduate Student Associate
  • Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Weatherhead Initiative on Gender Inequality, 2018-2019, Research Grant
  • Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality, 2018-2019, Graduate Tutorial Board
  • David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, 2018, Summer Research Travel Grant
  • Harvard Law School, 2018, Cravath International Summer Fellow
  • Harvard Law School, 2018, Summer Academic Fellow
  • Harvard Law School, 2017, International Summer Travel Grant
  • Harvard Law School, 2014-2016, Graduate Program Fellow, VSVR Colloquium Co-coordinator
  • Harvard Law School, 2013-2014, 2017-2019, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Advisor

Representative Publications

  • Regina Larrea, Transforming Rape Law: Legal Chronicles of the Mexican Feminist Movement (Transformando el Delito de Violación: Crónicas Jurídicas del Movimiento Feminista en México), in Reconceptualizaciones: El Caso Del Matrimonio y La Violencia (Alejandro Madrazo & Estefanía Vela eds., forthcoming 2018).
  • Steven Calabresi et al., The U.S. Constitution and Comparative Constitutional Law: Texts, Cases, and Materials (2016) (Editor of all Mexican case law).

Additional Information

Languages: English (fluent), Spanish (native), French (speaking)

Frequent contributor to Nexos (widely read Mexican magazine and blog) on issues of law, gender, and sexuality. Selected op-eds and essays (in Spanish):

Last Updated: August 31, 2018