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Sarah Mayorga is a qualitative sociologist who studies racial inequality, urban neighborhoods, and Latinx migration. Her research engages with multiple arenas of racial inequality:


  • Sarah analyzes social life in multiracial spaces in the United States. Specifically, Sarah investigates social ties and social control practices between residents to highlight how power works in urban neighborhoods. Stemming from this work, Sarah has published on her framework of diversity ideology. Diversity ideology captures the particular beliefs and behaviors of white people who pride themselves in valuing diversity, yet still enact norms of white supremacy.

  • Sarah’s newest book project is an analysis of racial capitalism in urban space, discussing the interconnections of structural racism and capitalism in shaping life in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her in-progress book, Urban Shifts: Racial Capitalism in the Queen City, analyzes the experiences of residents from two working-class Cincinnati neighborhoods to understand how processes of racial capitalism shape what residents say, how residents interact with their neighbors, and the practices of neighborhood institutions, such as neighborhood associations and local police.

  • Her future research agenda brings her expertise in race and urban neighborhoods in dialogue with a new area of study: climate change. While still in its conceptualization phase, studying East Boston’s rapid demographic and infrastructural change and its role in Boston’s climate adaptation plan is her next anticipated large-scale neighborhood project.


Before joining the Sociology Department at Brandeis, Sarah worked as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the University of Cincinnati. Sarah earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University, where she was very fortunate to have Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva as her advisor. Sarah fell in love with Sociology after taking Dr. Charlotte O’Kelly’s Power of Whiteness course at Providence College, where she earned her B.A in Sociology with a minor in Black Studies. It is no surprise that questions of power and inequity drive Sarah's research agenda given that her sociology career started in Dr. O’Kelly’s classroom.


Sarah is proudly Nicaraguan American and loved writing papers about her parents birthplace in school. She was born in Puerto Rico and has fond memories of growing up in Miami, Florida with her sister and three brothers. Sarah lives in Massachusetts with her husband and daughter. Her favorite TV show is The Great British Bake Off.

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