Betina Cutaia Wilkinson

Wake Forest political science professor Betina Wilkson poses in her office in Kirby Hall on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.

Associate Professor

Phone: 758-3997
Office: Kirby 321
Personal Website:

Areas of Expertise: Racial and Ethnic Politics, Public Opinion, Political Behavior


Betina Cutaia Wilkinson is associate professor and associate chair of the Politics and International Affairs department at Wake Forest University. She is also the director of the Race, Inequality and Policy Initiative (RIPI). Wilkinson’s research falls into three broad categories: 1.) sports activism and attitudes toward race policies, 2.) Blacks, Latinxs and the criminal justice system and 3.) race and individuals’ perceptions of corruption. Her latest book project Partners or Rivals? Power and Latino, Black and White Relations in the 21st Century (University of Virginia Press, 2015) won the American Political Science Association REP Section’s Best Book Award on Inter-Race Relations in the United States. In 2015, Wilkinson was awarded an Early Career Award by the Midwest Political Science Association’s Latina/o Caucus. She has served as the President of the Midwest Political Science Association’s Latina/o Caucus, on the editorial board of the journal PS: Political Science & Politics and as an executive council member of the Midwest Political Science Association. Her research has been published in several political science and multidisciplinary journals including Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, American Politics Research, PS: Political Science and Politics, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Race and Social Problems. Wilkinson’s research has been highlighted by numerous media sources including NPR, Los Angeles Times, NPR WUNC, NPR WFAE, NPR WFDD, NBC News Latino, San Francisco Weekly, Houston Chronicle, The New Orleans Advocate, Winston-Salem Chronicle, Enlace Latino NC, WPTF/North Carolina News Network, Spectrum News Triad, and “This Morning” show in Seoul, South Korea.


B.A.   Loyola University New Orleans, 2004
M.A.  Louisiana State University, 2007
Ph.D. Louisiana State University, 2010

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor, Wake Forest University, 2017-present
Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University, 2010-2017

Administrative Appointments

Associate Chair, Department of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University, 2020-Present



For a complete list of Wilkinson’s publications, check out her Google Scholar page.


POL 214 Latina/o/x Politics (service-learning course)
This course explores the contemporary role of Latinos as a minority group in the U.S. taking into account the history of immigration from Latin America and Latinos’ struggle for civil rights in the 20th century and today.  The major topics covered in this course include: Latinos in North Carolina, interracial attitudes toward immigration from Latin America, Latinos’ role in state and local politics, Latino political identity and participation and the likelihood of coalition formations among Whites, Blacks and Latinos.  Some of the key questions that this course covers are: Who are Latinos? Why do we care about pan-ethnic identity? What does it mean to be an American and how do Latinos fit into this definition?  Why is immigration so important to Latinos? Why is identifying Latinos’ partisan identification so critical?  How does Latino political behavior compare to Blacks, Whites and other minority groups? To encourage a strong, comprehensive understanding of the social, economic and political experiences that Latinos face in the U.S., students are required to provide 20 hours of service to a community agency affiliated with the Latino population or one that targets Latino issues.

POL 224 Racial and Ethnic Politics (service-learning course)
This course explores racial and ethnic politics in the U.S. particularly focusing on African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and Whites.  Although racial and ethnic politics can cover an extensive number of topics, the course specifically explores issues regarding identity development, minority descriptive and substantive representation and interracial coalition formation.  The main guiding questions of this course include:  Why do we have to have a racial and ethnic politics course?  How do blacks, whites, Latinos and Asian Americans compare and contrast in racial and political identity? How is our world today different than the one that we had before President Obama was elected into office? How and to what extent do our government’s policies handle inequality and racism and protect the rights of people of color?  Given the political realities of today, what strategy (coalition or conflict) should minority groups take when dealing with other minority groups and the majority group? To encourage a solid understanding of the major topics of the course, students are required to provide 20 hours of service to a community agency that addresses the needs and struggles of African Americans, Latinos, American Indians or Asian Americans in the Winston-Salem area.

POL 280 Research Methods
Overview of the qualitative and quantitative methods prominent in studying political science. Attention is given to the relationships between theory, method and findings by focusing on the need to make systematic empirical observations. STA-111 must be taken before or concurrently with this course.

POL 300 Race and Media (Senior Seminar)
Given political media’s ongoing discussion of incidents regarding race and the law as well as the growing presence of Latino and African Americans in office, this course takes a fresh approach to exploring the role of race in U.S. media and the role of political media in reinforcing or challenging prevailing stereotypes and attitudes about race. Building on research in the fields of political communication, political psychology, and racial and ethnic politics, this course examines four major topics: 1.) racial stereotypes and depictions in the media, 2.) racialized issues in the news, 3.) racial priming and 4.) media targeting of Latinos and African Americans. Some core questions that this course will examine include: What has been the role of political media in reinforcing or challenging prevailing stereotypes and attitudes about matters of race and ethnicity? Why does racialization of issues in the news matter? How do racialized issues in the news affect individuals’ policy stances? What is racial priming? To what extent do implicit and explicit racial appeals shape individuals’ racial attitudes and evaluations of candidates? What do we know about how media and campaigns target minority audiences and voters? Is it effective? Is it harmful? A primary goal of this course is for students to conceptualize, design and implement a thesis project that applies knowledge in race and media to a study using quantitative or qualitative methods.

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