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Vanessa Gonlin

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
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 racial identity(ies), colorism, and interracial relationships, with a particular focus on Black peoples and bi/multiracials.

In peer-reviewed publications Dr. Gonlin determines the outcomes of racial identity dimensions that do not always align, documents the impact of colorism, and highlights how social hierarchies operate within interracial relationship dynamics. Currently, she is studying 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 brings research into the classroom and enjoys teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Gonlin teaches Race and Ethnicity in America, Analysis and Interpretation of Sociological Data I (aka Quantitative Methods I), and a new course that she created called Colorism and Hairism in Communities of Color, the demand for which has led it to now be offered at both the undergraduate (SOCI/AFAM/WMST 3650) and graduate (SOCI/AFAM/WMST 8360) levels. She is honored to have her dedication to student learning recognized through the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, UGA NAACP Mary McLeod Bethune Educator Award, Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award, Multicultural Curriculum Grant, and Lilly Teaching Fellowship.

Dr. Gonlin is not taking on any additional doctoral, master's, undergraduate, or high school students at this time.


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:

Casellas Connors, Ishara and Vanessa Gonlin. Forthcoming. “Complicating Latiné Experiences: Afro-Latiné Students’ Perceptions of Campus Climate and Sense of Belonging.” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

Gonlin, Vanessa and Camryn Cobb. 2023. “Who is Your Fate Linked To? Racial Discrimination predicting Linked Fate among People with Mixed-Race Ancestry.Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 29(4):353-377.

Gonlin, Vanessa and Destiny Hannon. 2023. “‘Now as a 50 year old woman, I know who I am’: Older Black Women Reflecting on Dating and/or Marrying White Men.” Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships 9(3-4):171-207.

Gonlin, Vanessa. 2023. “‘Come back home, sista!’: Reactions to Black Women in Interracial Relationships with White Men.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 46(10):2020-2042.

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

In a new publication, Assistant Professor of Sociology Vanessa Gonlin and Camryn Cobb, a UGA grad student in Financial Planning, Housing, and Consumer Economics connect personal and perceived group level discrimination to linked fate.

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