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Nicholas Vargas - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Nicholas Vargas Nicholas Vargas

Associate Professor | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Nicholas Vargas’ research is driven by questions about racialization and racial boundaries.


Nicholas Vargas’ research is driven by questions about racialization and racial boundaries. He is studying how different groups of Latina/os are perceived racially and how these distinct experiences of race are associated with Latina/os’ racial ideologies, attitudes regarding immigration policy, and the racial/ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of close personal networks. Vargas also is researching issues related to racial contestation, the experience whereby one’s personal racial identity does not match how they are perceived racially by others.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Racial Classification

Racial Stratification

Interpersonal Networks

Latin American Studies


Latina/o Studies

Religion and Non-Religion

Media Appearances (3)

La Casita hosts class on Latinx Studies – the first class the institute has ever held

The Independent Florida Alligator  online


It was the start of Latinx studies, said Nicholas Vargas, a UF professor who’s teaching a class on the topic in the UF Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures’ new space since its reopening in November. This is the first class to ever be held in the space, as of Wednesday.

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Will 2020 Census miss reality of Latino numbers, identity?

NBC News  online


University of Florida sociologist Nicholas Vargas, an expert on Latino racial identity, says that though it may not be reflective of a large shift, there are subsets of immigrants who can move between racial boundaries and are seen by others as white.

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In Puerto Rico, Trump’s paper-towel toss reveals where his empathy lies

The Washington Post  online


Nicholas Vargas, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Florida, noted that Trump doesn’t approach everyone in such a state of callous disconnect. In August, Trump said there were “very fine people” among the white supremacists at a rally in Charlottesville that left a counterprotester dead. Soon after, he pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, formally expressing concern for a man known for racially profiling Latinos and housing jail inmates outdoors in tents.

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Articles (4)

Who Identifies as “Latinx”? The Generational Politics of Ethnoracial Labels

Social Forces

G Cristina Mora, et al.


Over the past 5 years, the “Latinx” label has become increasingly popular within academia, politics, and social media. Yet, little is known about who has adopted the term at this relatively early stage and how it might be interpreted. Drawing on a unique data set of US-born Californians, as well as Latina/o/x Studies insight, this paper provides the first academic survey results on “Latinx” identification.

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Latinx faculty representation and resource allocation at Hispanic Serving Institutions

Race Ethnicity and Education

Nicholas Vargas, et al.


Early advocates for Hispanic-Serving Institutions argued that HSIs should require ‘significant Hispanic staffing patterns at the faculty … level’ and ‘serious commitment to the needs of Hispanic learners.’ We examine whether HSIs, nearly 40 years later, have addressed these calls by detailing rates of Latinx faculty representation and exploring how HSIs incorporate faculty in federally funded HSI initiatives.

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Threatening Places or Diverse Spaces: Divergent Constructions of Florida Puerto Ricans across Twitter and Newspaper Articles

Sociological Inquiry

Stephanie A. Dhuman Giron and Nicolas Vargas


This study examines constructions of Puerto Ricans across two different media forms: newspaper articles and Twitter. We use Poinciana, Florida, a Central Florida Puerto Rican enclave, as a means to examine these constructions. Because of the high concentration of Puerto Rican residents and unprecedented migration to the area, Poinciana is an ideal community to examine media constructions of a migrant group.

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Racing to Serve or Race-ing for Money? Hispanic-serving Institutions and the Colorblind Allocation of Racialized Federal Funding

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

Nicholas Vargas and Julio Villa-Palomino


It is often presumed that minority-serving institutions (MSIs)—colleges and universities with the mission or capacity to serve underrepresented students—operate with a mission to alleviate broad inequalities by race. Yet the degree to which this remains true for Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), the fastest growing subset of MSIs, is contested and unexplored systematically.

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An Oral History with Nicholas Vargas March 12, 2021


Languages (1)

  • English

Affiliations (4)

  • American Sociological Association : Member
  • Southern Sociological Society : Member
  • Latina/o Studies Association : Member
  • Latin American Studies Association : Member