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Sociology and Criminology & Law

Nicholas Vargas

Associate Professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies
Office: Grinter Hall 360
Hours in Spring 17: Tuesdays & Wednesdays 9:00am-10:00am and by appointment


Nicholas Vargas is an Associate Professor in the Center for Latin American Studies and in the Department of Sociology, Criminology & Law. He is also the Latina/o Studies specialization coordinator for the Masters in Latin American Studies (MALAS) program. Vargas received a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Bloomsburg University, M.A. in Sociology from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. in Sociology from Purdue University. Before coming to UF, Vargas was Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. His research examines how socially constructed categories of race and religion are 1) measured in social science research, 2) shape social networks, and 3) act as sources of stratification, especially in higher education among U.S. Latina/os. He is currently studying the racialization of higher education with a particular focus on Hispanic Serving Institutions. 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.


Undergraduate Courses

  • SYG 2000 Principles of Sociology
  • LAS 3930 Introduction to Latina/o Studies
  • SYD 3700 Minorities in American Society
  • SYG 4935 Race and U.S. Latina/os

Graduate Courses

  • LAS 6938 U.S. Latina/os in Contemporary Society
  • LAS 6938 Race and U.S. Latina/os
  • SYD 6706 Racial and Ethnic Relations


Areas of Specialization

  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Latina/o Studies
  • Racial Stratification
  • Educational Inequalities
  • Religion and Non-Religion
  • Network Diversity and Social Support

Selected Publications

*Graduate Student Mentee Co-authors
  • Schafer, Markus H. and Nicholas Vargas. 2016. “The Dynamics of Social Support Inequality: Maintenance Gaps by Race and Socioeconomic Status?” Social Forces, 94(4): 1795-1822.
  • Vargas, Nicholas and Jared Kingsbury*. 2016. “Racial Identity Contestation: Mapping and Measuring Racial Boundaries” Sociology Compass, 10(8): 718-729.
  • Vargas, Nicholas and Kevin Stainback. 2016. “Documenting Contested Racial Identities among Self-Identified Latina/os, Asians, Blacks, and Whites.” American Behavioral Scientist, 60(4): 442-464.
  • Trieu, Monica, Nicholas Vargas, and Roberto G. Gonzales. 2016. “Transnational Patterns among Latina/o American and Asian American Children of Immigrants.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 42(7): 1177-1198.
  • *Sanchez, Esmeralda, Nicholas Vargas, Rebecca Burwell, Jessica Martinez, Milagros Peña, and Edwin I. Hernandez. 2016. “Latina/o Congregations and Youth Educational Expectations.” Sociology of Religion, 77(2): 171-192.
  • Vargas, Nicholas. 2015. “Latina/o Whitening?: Which Latinas/os Self-Classify as White and Report Being Perceived as White by Other Americans?” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race. 12(1): 119-136.
    • [Featured in Media Outlets including: NBC News, La Opinion (largest U.S. Spanish language newspaper), The American Prospect, National Institute for Latino Policy, and others.]
  • Hu, Anning and Nicholas Vargas. 2015. “Economic Consequences of Horizontal Stratification in Postsecondary Education: Evidence from Urban China.” Higher Education, 70(3): 337-358.
  • Vargas, Nicholas. 2014. “Off White: Colorblind Ideology at the Margins of Whiteness.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 37(13): 2281-2302. (Lead Article)
  • Vargas, Nicholas and Markus H. Schafer. 2013. “Diversity in Action: Interpersonal Networks and the Distribution of Advice.” Social Science Research, 42(1): 46-58.
  • Vargas, Nicholas. 2012. “Retrospective Accounts of Religious Disaffiliation in the U.S.: Stressors, Skepticism, and Political Factors.” Sociology of Religion, 73(2): 200-223.
  • Vargas, Nicholas and Matthew T. Loveland. 2011. “Befriending the ‘Other’: Patterns of Social Ties Between the Religious and Non-Religious.” Sociological Perspectives, 54(4): 713-731.
    • ‘Most Distinguished Article’ Award-American Sociological Association’s Religion section
  • Sechrist Jori, Jill Suitor, Nicholas Vargas and Karl Pillemer. 2011. “The Role of Religious Similarity in the Quality of Mother-Adult Child Relations: Differences Within Families and Between Racial Groups.” Research on Aging, 33(1):3-27. (Lead Article)