She was inaugural Director of the Chicana and Chicano Studies Program in Stanford’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and after chairing the Spanish & Portuguese Department, directed the Chicana/o Studies Program again from 2002 to 2008. For several decades now, she has been involved with the critique of dominant heteronormative discourses in Chicana/o Studies, as well as the analysis of cultural representations of Chicana/o queer sexualities, subjectivities, bodies and desires.
Since 1994 she has been developing the digital archive Chicana Art, a database of images and information featuring women artists for research and teaching.
Yvonne is the author of the books Feminism and the Honor Plays of Lope de Vega (1994) and The Wounded Heart: Writing on Cherríe Moraga (2001). She also co-edited Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (1991). Her research, writing and teaching focus on representations of race, sexuality and gender that interrogate such discourses as home, family and nation.
As Director of Chicana/o Studies, Yvonne and her team organized “Feminicide = Sanctioned Murder: Gender, Race and Violence in Global Context” in May 2007. This international conference examined the extreme gender violence that has assumed epidemic proportions in such countries as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Argentina. It brought together leading activists and experts on the subject of feminicide.