Department of Sociology

Sarah Mayorga

Sarah Mayorga

Department Chair of Sociology

Professor of Sociology

Sarah Mayorga joined Brandeis in 2020, having previously taught at the University of Cincinnati and University of Massachusetts Boston. She teaches courses in the sociology of race and racism, urban sociology, inequalities in the media, and Latinx sociology.

Her research investigates questions of racism and power, with a focus on multiracial neighborhoods.

Mayorga's first book, "Behind the White Picket Fence: Power and Privilege in a Multiethnic Neighborhood" (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), won the 2015 American Sociological Association Latino/a Sociology Section’s Distinguished Contribution to Research Book Award. Mayorga conducted in-depth interviews, participant observation, and a household survey to illustrate how spatial proximity does not necessarily translate to racial equity in a multiracial neighborhood. She found that white residents enacted norms of social control and social distancing towards their Black and Latinx neighbors despite expressing positive racial attitudes and praising the neighborhood’s diversity.

Mayorga has also published several articles on diversity ideology, the role of dogs in maintaining racial boundaries in multiracial neighborhoods, whiteness as a social determinant of health, and the particularities of conducting research in multiethnic settings.

Mayorga's current book project analyzes the experiences of residents from two working-class Cincinnati, Ohio 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.


  • PhD, Duke University

Selected Publications

Behind the White Picket Fence book cover

"Behind the White Picket Fence: Power and Privilege in a Multiethnic Neighborhood," Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014.