I ethnographically investigate racialization of Latinx communities, legal processes, and experiences related to social legitimacy and distribution of social services. My research and writing attends closely to how language practices influence how law is experienced and enacted. 

My research project based on 18 months of ethnographic observation of a California child welfare court is the basis for my working book project. In this manuscript, Hearing Child Welfare: Ideologies of Latinx Parenthood in a California Juvenile Dependency Court, I outline how the construction and circulation of institutional narratives characterize low-income, Spanish-dominant, and Latinx families as routinely placing children “at risk” of harm, challenging the ability of parents to maintain or regain custody of their children. I argue that this has important implications for broader imaginaries about what minimally-fit parenting should look like and who is deemed suitable to raise future citizens of the United States.

My next project tentatively titled Raised by the State: First and Second Generation Latinx Youth in the Foster Care System, will explore how Latinx youth who have been removed from their biological parents’ custody develop their sense of identity in relation to ideas of ethnicity, language practices, and state services.