Geneva Cole, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

College of William & Mary

Year of PhD: 2023

Country: United States (Virginia)

Research Interests

Public Opinion

Political Psychology

Race, Ethnicity and Politics

Identity Politics

Political Behavior


Transitional Justice


Human Rights

Housing Discrimination

Countries of Interest

United States


Journal Articles:

(2024) Mobilizing Middlemen: The Conservative Political Action Conference and the Creation of Party Activists, Journal of Elections Public Opinion and Parties

What role does the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) play in the contemporary two-party system? This paper argues that this conference, and others like it, act as a site for mobilizing "middlemen" to act as the connective tissue between party elite and the mass public. I focus on two related questions: why do individuals attend the conference? And how does the process of mobilization unfold in the context of the conference? Using two rounds of interviews and participant observation from CPAC in 2019 and 2020, this paper typifies the routes to participating that are undertaken by the attendees of CPAC and presents qualitative empirical evidence for the process of mobilization. I find that highly engaged members of the mass public are brought to the conference through multiple routes and are then presented both with ideological information wrapped in the mobilizing language of identity and provided with the tools to be effective middlemen in the conservative movement. Operating outside of formal party structures, events like CPAC play a crucial role in producing cultural and ideological content that connect elites and members of the mass public.

(2020) Types of White Identification and Attitudes About Black Lives Matter, Social Science Quarterly

Objective. Until recently, whiteness was not considered a politically significant social identity. This study builds on recent work and explores empirically the different ways in which white people understand their whiteness with the objective of recognizing how variations in white identification shape attitudes about the Movement for Black Lives. Methods. I use qualitative analysis of in-depth semistructured interviews to develop a theoretical framework for understanding how white Americans understand and identify with their whiteness and apply this typology to expressed attitudes about Black Lives Matter. Results. I find three distinct patterns of white identification that characterize how white people understand their own race and privilege. These patterns subsequently affect how white Americans understand the experiences of minorities, specifically analyzed through opinions about Black Lives Matter. Conclusion. Variations in the way that white Americans understand their whiteness have tangible effects on the way they approach racial politics, with this paper focused specifically on white attitudes about the Movement for Black Lives. As the movement engages a broad multiracial coalition it is very possible that those who were previously unaware of their whiteness will come to see it as important, with potentially wide-ranging impacts on the future of racial politics in the United States.


(2021) Don’t expect mass Black Lives Matter protests again this summer, The Washington Post Monkey Cage

My research investigated what pushed White people to join last year’s protests.

(2020) In 2020, conservatives believe they’re battling to save America’s soul by supporting Trump, The Washington Post Monkey Cage

Here's what else my research found at CPAC.

(2020) Some context for why Minneapolis became the spark igniting so many protests, MinnPost

A history of structural racism brought the Twin Cities to this boiling point. In my sample of white residents, even those who express understanding of white privilege tend to minimize the struggles of their black neighbors.

(2020) “Forcing their dirty fingers into the national wounds”: How Russia Today Targets American Audiences with Content on Police Brutality, Reframing Russia

(with Evgenia Olimpieva and Ipek Cinar) mixed-methods analysis of how Russia Today (RT) covers police brutality in the United States.