People / Faculty


Nicholas Vargas

Associate Professor

Chicanx Latinx Studies

Ethnic Studies

Nicholas vargas


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I am an Associate Professor of Chicanx/Latinx Studies in the Department Ethnic Studies. I am fortunate to co-lead the Latinxs and Democracy Cluster at UCB and serve as Faculty Co-Director of the UCB Latino Social Science Pipeline Initiative (LSSPI), both of which aim to advance Latinx social science scholarship and strengthen academic pipelines.

My research is situated primarily in the social sciences with foci on ethnoracial classification, identification, and stratification. Most of my scholarship draws from nationally representative data and explores questions of ethnoracial boundaries, patterns of label use, racial ideology adherence, contested racial identity, and Latina/o/x experiences in higher education with particular attention paid to various organizational and individual markers of racialization. Methodologically, my core aim is to think critically about the utility of race data for identifying and rectifying societal, systemic, and structural racisms.

I currently serve on the National Advisory Committee of the U.S. Census Bureau, and as Deputy Editor of the journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. Prior to UCB, I was Coordinator of Latino Studies at the University of Florida’s (UF) Center for Latin American Studies, Associate Professor of Sociology at UF, and Assistant Professor in the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Select Publications

Latina/o Whitening?: Which Latinas/os Self-Classify as White and Report Being Perceived as White by Others? (2015). Du Bois Review, 12(1): 119-136.

Racial Identity Contestation: Mapping and Measuring Racial Boundaries. (2016) Sociology Compass, 10(8): 718-729. (w/ *J. Kingsbury)

Ideological Whitening: Does Skin Color Shape Colorblind Ideology Adherence for Latina/os? (2018). Ethnic and Racial Studies, 41(14): 2407-2425.

Racial Expropriation in Higher Education: Are Whiter Hispanic Serving Institutions More Likely to Receive Minority Serving Institution Funds? (2018) Socius, 4(1): 1-16.

Racing to Serve or Race-ing for Money?: Hispanic Serving Institutions and the Colorblind Allocation of Racialized Federal Funding. (2019). Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 5(3): 401-415. (w/ *J. Villa-Palomino)

Latinx Faculty Representation and Resource Allocations at Hispanic Serving Institutions. (2020). Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 23(1): 39-54. (w/ *J. Villa-Palomino & *E. Davis)

Who Identifies as Latinx? The Generational Politics of Ethnoracial Labels. (2022). Social Forces, 100(3): 1170-1194. (w/ G. Cristina Mora & *Reubén Pérez)

How Many Latino Studies Programs are There? Tracking Departmental Growth, Stagnation, and Invisibility 1960-2020. (2023) Latino Studies, 21: 388-410. (w/ G. Cristina Mora & *Dominic Cedillo)

*Student Co-Author