Otto Santa Ana

Otto Santa Ana

Otto Santa Ana

Professor Emeritus
Emeriti Faculty



Professor Otto Santa Ana’s scholarship over the past 15 years focuses on language that constructs social hierarchies and on how mass media amplifies the construction of unjust social inequity. As a sociolinguist, Santa Ana edited Tongue-Tied: The Lives of Multilingual Children in Public School (2004), an anthology about minority language in the classroom and the community. He has also authored a dozen peer-review articles on languages in contact, language change, focused mainly on the English and the Spanish of U.S. Latinos. A critical discourse analyst, Santa Ana studies the mass media representations of Latinos. Recognizing this in his first book,Brown Tide Rising(2002) provides a close study of newspapers. The American Political Science Association named it Book of the Year on Ethnic and Racial Political Ideology. He continues to refine his research tools (and with undergraduate co-authors), recently explored the national newspaper coverage of immigrants during the Great Immigrant Rights Marches of 2006. This article, “A May to Remember” appeared in the Du Bois Review (2007).


  • PhD, Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania (1991)
  • MA, Linguistics, University of Arizona (1981)
  • BA, Anthropology, University of Arizona (1977)


  • Language and Social Hierarchies
  • Mass Media Representation of Latinos
  • Political Humor

Selected Publications

  • Juan in a Hundred: The Representation of Latinos on Network News. University of Texas Press, 2013.
  • Arizona Firestorm: Global Immigration Realities, National Media, and Provincial Politics. Coedited with Celeste González de Bustamante. Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.
  • “The Senator’s Discriminatory Intent: Presenting probative legal evidence of unconstitutional verbal animus.” Journal of Language, Culture and Society, 2020.
  • “Blood, soil and tears: Conceptual metaphor-based critical discourse analysis of the legal debate on US citizenship.” With Kevin Hans Waikuweit and Mishna Erana Hernandez. Journal of Language and Politics, 16.2, 149–175, 2017.
  • “The Cowboy and the Goddess: Television News Myth-making about Immigrants.” Discourse & Society 27.1, 95–117, 2016.
  • “Framing peace as violence: U.S. television news depictions of the 2007 Los Angeles police attack on immigrant rights marchers.” With Layza López and Edgar Munguía. Aztlán, 35.1, 2010.
  • “Did you call in Mexican? The racial politics of Jay Leno immigrant jokes.” Language in Society, 38.1, 2009.
  • Tongue-Tied: The Lives of Multilingual Children in U.S. Public Education. An edited volume. Rowman & Littlefield, 2004.
  • Brown Tide Rising: Metaphoric Representations of Latinos in Contemporary Public Discourse. University of Texas Press, 2002.