Candice Robinson

  • PhD earned 2021

My research connects the areas of race, class, social inequality, and social movements. Broadly defined, my research agenda is motivated by a commitment to better understand the role of the Black Middle Class in American society.  My dissertation asks how and why do members of the Black Middle Class become involved in the longstanding civil rights organization, the National Urban League (NUL)? To answer this question, I have compiled an ethnographic data set comprised of interviews, NUL archival documents (ex: annual reports), and data from 5 years of participant observation at NUL events. Preliminarily, I have found that members of the Black Middle Class utilize civic engagement and organizations like NUL to push for social change. This research has far reaching implications in understanding a variety of approaches to social movements and public policy. In addition to my dissertation, I have presented on the Sociology of Cardi B, an area of research that highlights the importance of utilizing cultural icons in understanding sociological concepts for the public and our students. As a race scholar and public sociologist, the most exciting thing about my research for me is the ability to nuance our knowledge of Black life and influence in shaping society! 

Education & Training

  • MA, University of Iowa, 2013
  • BA, Hampton University, 2010

Representative Publications

Robinson, Candice C. (2020) “The Civic Life of the Black Millennial.” Black Millennials: Identity, Ambition, and Activism, edited by Jacquelin Darby. Lexington Books.
Robinson, Candice C. (2020). “Black Middle Class Interpretations of Civic Engagement.” Issues in Race and Society: An Interdisciplinary Global Journal: Special Issue on the Global Black Middle Class. 9(1).

Allen, Shaonta E., Ifeyinwa F. Davis, Maretta McDonald, and Candice C. Robinson*. (2020). “The Case of Black Millennials.” Sociological Perspectives. 63(3): 478–485.

Robinson, Candice C. (2019). “(Re)theorizing civic engagement: Foundations for Black Americans civic engagement theory.” Sociology Compass. 13(9), e12728.


Research Interests

  • Black middle class
  • Civic engagement
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Social movements
  • Public policy
  • Public sociology
  • Ethnography
  • Mixed-methods