Lisa Martinez


  • Faculty
  • Department of Sociology and Criminology
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

What I do

As a sociologist, my scholarship contributes to conversations about the nuances and contours of Latinos’ lives, which I intertwine with my teaching and service. I have published work on Latino political participation, the 2006 immigrant rights mobilizations, and the mobility pathways of undocumented youth. My work has been published in Social Forces, Mobilization, American Behavioral Scientist, Ethnicities, Latino Studies, and Law & Policy. I am currently working on a book manuscript on the impact of federal and state-level legal reforms on the trajectories of undocumented youth and young adults.

Professional Biography

Lisa M. Martinez is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Denver. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona in 2004. Her areas of expertise are racial/ethnic politics, Latina/o sociology, immigration, and inequality. Professor Martinez is also a faculty affiliate of the DU Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship (DULCCES), IRISE, and CRES, the new Critical Race and Ethnic Studies minor.


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Arizona, 2004
  • MA, Sociology, University of Arizona, 2000
  • BA, Sociology, University of Texas, 1998

Professional Affiliations

  • American Sociological Association
  • Society for the Study of Social Problems
  • Association for the Study of Higher Education
  • National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies


The corpus of my research analyzes the experiences of native-born and undocumented Latinos in three domains: (1) the political sphere; (2) schools and institutions of higher education; and (3) more recently, law and policy. The question animating much of this work is, “How do individual characteristics along the lines of race/ethnicity, nativity, and documentation status intersect with structural dynamics to inform Latinos’ life chances?” Conceptually, my work has contributed to understandings about political participation, processes of mobilization, and liminal legality, which are threaded together by a focus on the contexts in which Latinos are embedded.

Featured Publications

Martinez, L. M., & Ortega, D. M. (2019). Dreams Deterred: The Collateral Consequences of Localized Immigration Policies on Undocumented Latinos in Colorado. Law & Policy, 41(1), 120-141.
Burciaga, E. M., & Martinez, L. M. (2017). How Do Political Contexts Shape Undocumented Youth Movements? Evidence from Three Immigrant Destinations. Mobilization, 22(4), 451-471.
Muro, J. A., & Martinez, L. M. (1970). Is Love Colorblind?: Racial Blind Spots and Latinas’ Romantic Relationships. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
Martinez, L. M., & Salazar, M. D. C. (2018). The bright lights: The development of oppositional consciousness among DACAmented Latina/o Youth. Ethnicities, 18(2), 242-259.
Salazar, M., Martinez, L. M., & Ortega, D. (1970). Sowing the Semillas of Critical Multicultural Citizenship for Latina/o Undocumented Youth: Spaces In-School and Out-of-School. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 18(1), 88-106.


  • Localized Political Contexts and Mobilization of Undocumented Youth
  • From Out of the Shadows to Pursuing the Dream: Undocumented Latinas/os Luchando (Fighting) for Educational Access
  • How Do Political Contexts Shape Undocumented Youth Movements?: Evidence from Three Immigrant Destinations
  • All the Bright Lights: Political Consciousness and Transformation of Undocumented Youth on the Margins of the Educational Pipeline
  • Dreams Denied: The Impact of Mass Deportation in Mixed-Citizenship Families