Lisa Martinez headshot

Lisa M. Martinez


  • Faculty

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.


Immigration, Latina/o/x sociology, Social Inequality

Professional Biography

Lisa M. Martinez is 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.

Areas of Research

Latina sociology
racial politics

Key Projects

  • Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline

Featured Publications

Burciaga, Edelina M., and Lisa M. Martinez. “How Do Political Contexts Shape Undocumented Youth Movements? Evidence From Three Immigrant Destinations.” Mobilization 22, no. 4, (2017): 451-471.
Muro, Jazmin A., and Lisa M. Martinez. “Is Love Colorblind?: Racial Blind Spots And Latinas' Romantic Relationships.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, (2017).
Martinez, Lisa M., and Maria Del Carmen Salazar. “The Bright Lights: The Development Of Oppositional Consciousness Among Dacamented Latina/O Youth.” Ethnicities 18, no. 2, (2018): 242-259.
Salazar, Maria, Lisa M. Martinez, and Debora Ortega. “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, no. 1, (1969): 88-106.


Burciaga, Edelina M., and Lisa M. Martinez. “Localized Political Contexts And Mobilization Of Undocumented Youth” Conference On Nonviolence And Social Change, San Diego State University, 2018.
Martinez, Lisa M. “From Out Of The Shadows To Pursuing The Dream: Undocumented Latinas/Os Luchando (Fighting) For Educational Access” Association Of Humanist Sociology, Havana, Cuba, 2017.
Burciaga, Edelina M., and Lisa M. Martinez. “How Do Political Contexts Shape Undocumented Youth Movements?: Evidence From Three Immigrant Destinations” Society For The Study Of Social Problems, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 2017.
Martinez, Lisa M. “All The Bright Lights: Political Consciousness And Transformation Of Undocumented Youth On The Margins Of The Educational Pipeline” Society For The Study Of Social Problems, Seattle, WA, 2016.
Martinez, Lisa M. “Dreams Denied: The Impact Of Mass Deportation In Mixed-Citizenship Families” Blurring The Border Conference, Merced, CA, UC- Merced, 2015.


  • Faculty Service Award