Dawn Marie Dow is an associate professor in the department of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Dow received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She also earned a JD from Columbia University, School of Law, and a BA in sociology from Bryn Mawr College. ​Dr. Dow was the faculty director of the Critical Race Initiative from 2019-2021, which annually holds the Parren J. Mitchell Conference focused on a topic through which scholars examine systemic inequality in contemporary society. She is also a Faculty Associate in the Maryland Population Research Center,  a deputy editor for the Journal of Marriage and Family, and on the editorial board of Contexts.

Dr. Dow's research uses a range of qualitative methods to examine intersections of race, class, and gender within the context of the family, educational settings, the workplace, the law, and political mobilization. She is particularly interested in how these intersections complicate long-standing debates regarding the relative influence of economic and cultural resources on the experiences and life trajectories of members of the expanding African American middle and upper-middle-class. Through three research projects, she examines how intersections of race, class, and gender shape: 1) the cultural expectations of motherhood and mothers' approaches to parenting, 2) the reproduction of racial inequality within the workplace, and 3) how Black mothering blogs allow Black women to define themselves as mothers, normalize their parenting experiences, create connections to often-out-of-reach communities and create content about Black identity, culture, and social issues that is hard to access on the internet.  

Dr. Dow's award winning book,  Mothering While Black: The Boundaries and Burdens of Middle-Class Parenthood, was published in 2019 with University of California Press. It examines African American middle and upper-middle-class mothers’ approaches to parenting their children and their views and decision-making about work, family, and childcare.

Dr. Dow's work has also been published in journals such as Gender & Society, Journal of Marriage and Family, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, Science Advances, and Mobilization. She has also written for platforms including The AtlanticSociological Images, and The Conversation


  • PhD
    University of California-Berkeley
  • MA
    University of California-Berkeley
  • JD
    Columbia University
  • BA
    Bryn Mawr College

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Simone Durham
  • Chandra V. Reyna
Dawn M. Dow
4131 Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building
Department of Sociology
dmdow [at] umd.edu