As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Center for Latin American Studies is shining a spotlight on Dr. Nicholas Vargas, Assistant Professor in the Center and the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law.
September 24, 2018
Vargas, who was a first-generation college student, received his B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Bloomsburg University, his M.A. in Sociology from the University of Florida, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Purdue University. Prior to teaching at UF, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, at Dallas (2013-2015), where he taught courses in the Sociology department and was Faculty Associate in the Interdisciplinary Center for U.S.-Latin American Initiatives.
Vargas now co-coordinates the Latinx Studies, Migration, and Transnational Studies (LSMT) specialization in the Center for Latin American Studies M.A. program, organizes a UF Latinx Studies Lecture Series, co-leads a LSMT graduate research working group, and teaches a number of undergraduate and graduate courses related to race, racism, and Latinx Studies at UF. He is also a faculty affiliate with the African-American Studies program.
In terms of his research, Vargas describes himself as a sociologist and a race & Latinx Studies scholar. His work examines how socially constructed categories of race and religion are 1) measured in research, 2) shape social networks, and 3) act as sources of stratification, especially in higher education among U.S. Latinxs. One current research project examines the capacity of Hispanic Serving Institutions of higher education to address and redress educational inequalities. Vargas is also researching issues related to racial contestation, the experience whereby one’s personal racial identity does not match how they are perceived racially by others.
Vargas is the author of many scholarly articles, including Ideological Whitening: Does Skintone Shape Color-Blind Ideology Adherence for Latina/os? and Racing to Serve or Race-ing for Money? Hispanic-Serving Institutions and the Colorblind Allocation of Racialized Federal Funding. His scholarly work can be found in journals including Ethnic and Racial Studies, Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, Social Forces, American Behavioral Scientist, and Sociology of Religion, among others.