Office: 252 McNeil

Twitter: @WendyRothSoc

Ph.D., A.M., Harvard University
M.Phil., Oxford University
B.A., Yale University

Mailing Address
Department of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania
3718 Locust Walk
353 McNeil Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Wendy D. Roth is an Associate Professor of Sociology and the Graduate Chair (2021-2024) at the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the department in 2019. Prior to joining the department, she taught at the University of British Columbia. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University in 2006.

Roth is a sociologist of race, ethnicity, and immigration, with substantive interests in multiracial populations and identities, intersections of race and genomics, Latin America and Latinx populations, and transnational processes. Her research focuses on how social processes challenge racial and ethnic boundaries and transform classification systems. She has received several awards for her research, including a Killam Faculty Research Fellowship, the 2016 Early Investigator Award from the Canadian Sociological Association, the 2011 Oliver Cromwell Cox Article Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities, and the 2007 American Sociological Association Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Her first book, Race Migrations: Latinos and the Cultural Transformation of Race (Stanford University Press 2012) examines how immigration changes cultural concepts of race, not only for the migrants themselves, but also for their host society, and for the societies they left behind. The book examines race from a cultural perspective, and shows how concepts of race flow between societies to influence local conceptions and stratification systems. The book received the Isis Duarte Prize from the Haiti-Dominican Republic Section of the Latin American Studies Association and an Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award Honourable Mention from the Society for the Study of Social Problems Division on Racial and Ethnic Minorities.

Roth’s journal publications analyze the social impact of genetic ancestry testing (Social Problems 2022, PLoS One 2021, American Journal of Sociology 2018); the multiple dimensions of race (Ethnic and Racial Studies 2016); how immigrants’ racial attitudes are formed transnationally (International Migration Review 2013); depictions of Blackness in the Dominican Republic (Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 2013); whether different types of immigrants have more successful long-term economic trajectories in ethnic workplaces or in the mainstream economy (International Migration Review 2012); how analyses of Latinos tend to miss discrimination based on racial appearance by relying on data that captures racial self-identification, a different aspect of race that often does not correspond (Social Science Quarterly 2010); how concepts of panethnicity are diffused transnationally (Ethnic and Racial Studies 2009); and how interracial families classify the race of their multiracial children (Sociological Forum 2005).

Roth is a co-author of Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings (Basic Books 2004). This is the first study to examine the phenomenon of rampage school shootings from a sociological perspective. The book was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Book Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Roth’s article stemming from this project on combining positivist and interpretivist approaches in qualitative research (Sociological Methods and Research 2002) has been discussed in several Research Methods textbooks and adopted in research methods courses across the United States, Canada, Israel, and Switzerland.

Dr. Roth’s current research examines the social impact of genetic ancestry testing on conceptions of race and ethnicity, racial attitudes, and interactions. This work is funded by grants from the Social Science Research and Humanities Council of Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation Leadership Opportunities Fund. She also co-organized the conference Measuring the Diverging Components of Race in Multiracial America, which was supported by a grant from the American Sociological Association Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline.