Dr. Jennifer Sims



1310 Ben Graves Drive
Morton Hall
Room 247
Huntsville, AL 35899
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Jennifer Patrice Sims is a sociologist who specializes in the study of race/ethnicity. Taking mixed-race people as her main focus, Dr. Sims’ research examines racial construction, perception, and identity in the US and UK as well as interrogates how knowledge about race is produced and disseminated by the scientific community.

She has conducted statistical analysis of survey data to examine perceptions of mixed-race attractiveness, qualitative interviews to study mixed-race people’s experiences navigating racial ambiguity, and experiments testing the influence of hairstyle on racial perception. Her co-authored book, Mixed-Race in the US and UK: Comparing the Past, Present, and Future, won the 2020 Stanford M. Lyman Distinguished Book Award from the Mid-South Sociological Association. Dr. Sims’ research has been covered in The Washington Post, Psychology Today, and Wisconsin Public Radio; and she has appeared on local (WHNT News 19) and international (BBC World News) television broadcasts.

In addition to her research, Dr. Sims organized an international team of scholars to produce the first book-length sociological analysis of Harry Potter and frequently uses material from fictional series to illustrate sociological concepts in the classroom. Her teaching also utilizes collaborative learning activities, and she was a 2018 UAH Collaborative Learning Fellow. In 2021, Dr. Sims received the Distinguished Contribution to Teaching Award from the Southern Sociological Society.

After completing her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014, Dr. Sims taught as an Adjunct Professor at UW-River Falls before coming to UAH as an Assistant Professor in 2017.

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Website


  • Ph.D., Sociology, 2014, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.A., Sociology, 2006, Vanderbilt University
  • B.A., Sociology, 2004, Hampton University


  • Association of Black Sociologists
  • American Sociological Association
  • Critical Mixed Race Studies Association
  • Southern Sociological Society


  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Critical Mixed Race Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Theory
  • Research Methods
  • Sexuality

Recent Publications

  • Sims, Jennifer Patrice and Cassandra Nolen. 2021. “‘I wouldn't trust the parents to ‘do no harm’ to a queer kid:’ Rethinking parental permission requirements for youth participation in social science research.” Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 16 (1-2): 35-45.

  • Sims, Jennifer Patrice and Chinelo L. Njaka. 2020. Mixed-Race in the US and UK: Comparing the Past, Present, and Future. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.

  • Sims, Jennifer Patrice, Whitney Laster Pirtle, and Iris Johnson-Arnold. 2020. “Doing Hair, Doing Race: The influence of hairstyle on racial perception across the US.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 43 (12): 2099-2119.

  • Buggs, Shantel Gabrieal, Jennifer Patrice Sims, and Rory Kramer. 2020. “Rejecting White Distraction: A Critique of the White Logic and White Methods in Academic Publishing.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 43 (8): 1384-1392.

  • Sims, Jennifer Patrice and Remi Joseph-Salisbury. 2019. “‘We were all just the black kids:’ Black mixed-race men and the importance of adolescent peer groups for identity development.” Social Currents 6 (1): 51-66.

  • Sims, Jennifer Patrice. 2018. “‘It represents me:’ Tattooing mixed-race identity.” Sociological Spectrum 38 (4): 243-255.

  • Sims, Jennifer Patrice. 2016. “Reevaluation of the influence of appearance and reflected appraisals for mixed-race identity: The role of consistent inconsistent racial perception.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 2 (4): 569-583.

  • Sims, Jennifer Patrice. 2012. “Beautiful Stereotypes: The Relationship between Physical Attractiveness and Mixed Race Identity.” Identities 19 (1): 61-80.

  • Sims, Jenn (ed.). 2012. The Sociology of Harry Potter: 22 Enchanting Essays on the Wizarding World. Hamden, CT: Zossima Press.