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Vanessa Gonlin

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Assistant Professor

Vanessa Gonlin joined the UGA Department of Sociology in 2020 after earning her PhD from Texas A&M University with specializations in race and social demography and certificates in Advanced Research Methods, Africana Studies, and Latino/a and Mexican American Studies. Her research and teaching areas of expertise include colorism, racial identity(ies), and interracial relationships, with a particular focus on Black peoples and bi/multiracials.

In peer-reviewed publications Dr. Gonlin details the outcomes of skin tone and reflected race – the race an individual believes others ascribe to them – on perceptions of racial discrimination. She analyzes discrepancies in racial identity measures and studies majority/minority interracial relationships from the minoritized racial partner’s perspective. This ties in with her work on the progeny of such a union (i.e., people with mixed-race ancestry) and their experiences with discrimination and identity processes.

Dr. Gonlin teaches courses on race and ethnicity and methodology to undergraduate and graduate students. She conceptualized and created a new course, Colorism & Hairism across Communities of Color (SOCI/AFAM/WMST 3650), for which she received the UGA NAACP Mary McLeod Bethune Educator Award. As a Lilly Teaching Fellow, Dr. Gonlin explores innovative teaching methods that make research accessible to students.


Ph.D., Sociology, Texas A&M University, 2020

M.A., Sociology, Texas A&M University, 2016

B.S., Sociology (with honors), Towson University, 2014

Research Areas:
Selected Publications:

Latest journal articles:

Gonlin, Vanessa. 2022. “Mixed-Race Ancestry ≠ Multiracial Identification: The Role Racial Discrimination, Linked Fate, and Skin Tone have on the Racial Identification of People with Mixed-Race Ancestry.” Social Sciences. 11(4).   

strmic-pawl, hephzibah v., Vanessa Gonlin, and Steve Garner. 2021. “Color in Context: Three Angles on Contemporary Colorism.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 7(3):289-303

Gonlin, Vanessa. 2020. “Colorful Reflections: Skin Tone, Reflected Race, and  Discrimination among Blacks, Latinxs, and Whites.” Race and Social Problems 12(3):246-264.

Campbell, Mary E., Verna M. Keith, Vanessa Gonlin, and Adrienne Carter-Sowell. 2020. “Is a Picture Worth A Thousand Words? An Experiment Comparing Observer-Based Skin Tone Measures.” Race and Social Problems 12(3):266-278.

Gonlin, Vanessa, Nicole E. Jones, and Mary E. Campbell. 2020. “On The (Racial) Border: Expressed Race, Reflected Race, and the U.S.-Mexico Border Context.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 6(2):161-178.

Articles Featuring Vanessa Gonlin
Friday, September 9, 2022 - 3:21pm

Dr. Vanessa Gonlin received the UGA NAACP 2022 Mary McLeod Bethune Educator Award for her new course, Colorism and Hairism in Communities of Color, which…