Jessica López-Espino

Jessica Lopez-Espino
Assistant Professor

Office Hours

Monday 11:00am - 1:00pm
Fridays 3:30pm - 4:30pm via zoom

Office Location

SSMS 3405


Law and society, language and discourse, child welfare law, racialization, ethnography


Ph.D., New York University


Jessica López-Espino is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. López-Espino’s research areas include language ideologies, racialization, courts, interpreting, and ethnography.  She is currently completing a book manuscript tentatively titled, Hearing Child Welfare: Ideologies of Latinx Parenthood in a California Juvenile Dependency Court. In this book, she examines the role of language, racialization, and socioeconomic status in legal determinations of parental fitness to regain or maintain custody of their children following Child Protective Services investigations of Mexican, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Honduran and Salvadoran families. Her research has been published in American Anthropologist, Law and Social Inquiry, and the edited volume Metalinguistic Communities: Case Studies of Agency, Ideology, and Symbolic Uses of Language.


Dr. López-Espino's primary teaching areas are sociology of law, language and law, and ethnographic methods.