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Jonathan Rosa

Photo of Jonathan Rosa
Jonathan Rosa
Academic Title 
Assistant Professor
Other Titles 

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics (by courtesy)

Contact Information
By appointment
Program Affiliations 
Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)
SHIPS (PhD): Anthropology of Education
SHIPS (PhD): Educational Linguistics
SHIPS (PhD): Social Sciences in Education

Dr. Rosa’s book, Looking like a Language, Sounding like a Race: Raciolingusitic Ideologies and the Learning of Latinidad (2019, Oxford University Press), presents an ethnographic analysis of how administrators in a Chicago public high school whose student body is more than 90% Mexican and Puerto Rican seek to transform “at risk” Latinx youth into “young Latino professionals.” This intersectional mobility project paradoxically positions Latinx identity as the cause of and solution to educational underachievement. As a result, students must learn to be – and sound – “Latino” in highly studied ways. Students respond to anxieties surrounding their ascribed identities by symbolically remapping borders between nations, languages, ethnoracial categories, and institutional contexts. This reimagining of political, linguistic, cultural, and educational borders reflects the complex interplay between racialization and socialization for Latinx youth. The manuscript argues that this local scene is a key site in which to track broader structures of educational inequity by denaturalizing categories, differences, and modes of recognition through which raciolinguistic exclusion is systematically reproduced across contexts. 

As a sociocultural and linguistic anthropologist, Jonathan Rosa's research theorizes the co-naturalization of language and race as a key feature of modern governance. Specifically, he analyzes the interplay between youth socialization, raciolinguistic formations, and structural inequity in urban contexts. Dr. Rosa collaborates with local communities to track these phenomena and develop tools for understanding and eradicating the forms of disparity to which they correspond. This community-based approach to research, teaching, and service reflects a vision of scholarship as a platform for imagining and enacting more just societies. Dr. Rosa's research has been published in scholarly journals such as Harvard Educational Review, American Ethnologist, American Anthropologist, Language in Society, and the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. In addition to his formal scholarly research, Dr. Rosa is an ongoing participant in public intellectual projects focused on race, education, language, (im)migration, and U.S. Latinxs, and his work has been featured in media outlets such as MSNBC, NPR, CNN, and Univision.

Rather than seeking to make objectified racial groups and their linguistic practices intelligible to outside audiences, I seek to denaturalize the categories, differences, and modes of recognition that condition everyday life in particular neighborhood and institutional contexts. By emphasizing the production of racial categories and linguistic varieties through interrelations among institutions, actors, and ideologies, I show how emergent processes rather than naturally occurring cultural essence structure these contexts. Thus, this examination of the co-naturalization of language and race becomes a potential vantage point from which to imagine alternative theoretical and practical approaches to understanding communication, identity, and the governance thereof. 

Rosa, Jonathan. 2019. Looking like a Language, Sounding like a Race: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and the Learning of Latinidad. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Ph.D., Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology, University of Chicago (2010)

M.A., Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology, University of Chicago (2006)

B.A., Linguistics and Educational Studies, Swarthmore College (2003)

2015-Present: Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and, by courtesy, Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics, Stanford University 

2015-2016: Postdoctoral Fellow, Latina/o Studies Program, Northwestern University

2011-2015: Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

2010-2011: Faculty Fellow, Latina/o Studies Program, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

EDUC 180-137: Language, Culture, and Power

EDUC 389A: Racial, Ethnic, and Linguistic Formations 

EDUC 389B: Writing Race, Ethnicity, and Language in Ethnography 

EDUC 229A: Beyond Equity & Schooling

CSRE 180E/CHILATST 180E: Introduction to Chicanx/Latinx Studies

CSRE 220: Public Policy Institute 

Rosa, Jonathan. 2019. Looking like a Language, Sounding like a Race: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and the Learning of Latinidad. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Avineri, Netta, Graham, Laura, Johnson, Eric, Riner, Robin Conley, and Rosa, Jonathan, eds. 2019. Language and Social Justice in Practice. New York: Routledge. 

Rosa, Jonathan. 2018. Community as a Campus: From “Problems” to Possibilities in Latinx Communities. In Civic Engagement in Diverse Latinx Communities: Learning from Social Justice Partnerships in Action, edited by Mari Castañeda and Joseph Krupczynski. New York: Peter Lang Publishing. Pp. 111-123. 

Rosa, Jonathan, and Yarimar Bonilla. 2017. Deprovincializing Trump, Decolonizing Diversity, and Unsettling Anthropology. American Ethnologist. 44(2):201-208. (Also featured in Open Anthropology 5(3), October 2017.)

Rosa, Jonathan, and Nelson Flores. 2017. Unsettling Race and Language: Toward a Raciolinguistic Perspective. Language in Society. 46(5):621-647.

Rosa, Jonathan, and Nelson Flores. 2017. Do You Hear What I Hear?: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies. In Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Educational Justice in a Changing World, edited by Django Paris and H. Samy Alim. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Pp. 175-190.

Rosa, Jonathan. 2016. Standardization, Racialization, Languagelessness: Raciolinguistic Ideologies across Communicative Contexts. ​Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 26(2):162-183. 

Rosa, Jonathan. 2016. Racializing Language, Regimenting Latinas/os: Chronotope, Social Tense, and American Raciolinguistic Futures. Language & Communication. 46:106-117. 

Flores, Nelson and Jonathan Rosa. 2015. Undoing Appropriateness: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and Language Diversity in Education. Harvard Educational Review. 85(2):149-171.

Bonilla, Yarimar and Jonathan Rosa. 2015. #Ferguson: Digital Protest, Hashtag Ethnography, and the Racial Politics of Social Media in the United States. American Ethnologist. 42(1):4-17. 

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