Wendy D. Roth

A Professor of Sociology and the Graduate Chair (2021-2024) at the University of Pennsylvania, Wendy D. Roth joined the department in 2019. Before that, 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, racial conceptualization, Latin America and Latinx populations, and transnational processes. Her research focuses on how social processes – such as immigration, interracial marriage, or taking genetic ancestry tests – challenge racial and ethnic boundaries and transform classification systems.

Roth’s 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 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.

Her current work includes several related studies on the social impact of genetic ancestry testing. Roth and her collaborators have studied how genetic ancestry testing influences racial and ethnic identities and whether other people accept their identity claims. They have also examined how these tests influence racial interactions and conceptions of the nature of race. This work has been funded by grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute, the Social Science Research and Humanities Council of Canada, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation Leadership Opportunities Fund, among others.

Roth 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.

Originally from New York City, Roth lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son. She enjoys travel, musical theater, genealogy, and time travel fiction.