Research Interests: Race and ethnicity; urban sociology; poverty; housing; organizations and work; ethnography; research methods.
Matthew Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences. After receiving his PhD in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow.
Desmond is the author of On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters (2007), which won the Max Weber Award for Distinguished Scholarship by the American Sociological Association, as well as two books on race in America (both with Mustafa Emirbayer): Racial Domination, Racial Progress: The Sociology of Race in America (2009) and The Racial Order (forthcoming). He has written essays on educational inequality, dangerous work, political ideology, race and social theory, and the inner-city housing market. Desmond is the principal investigator of the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, an original survey of tenants in Milwaukee’s low-income private housing sector. His work has been supported by the MacArthur, Ford, and National Science Foundations, as well as by the American Philosophical Society; it also has been profiled in major news outlets such as The New York Times, National Public Radio, Science, and Das Erste. His current project combines ethnographic fieldwork, survey data, and documentary analysis to explore the causes, dynamics, and consequences of eviction among the urban poor and, more broadly, to plumb the inner workings of disadvantaged neighborhoods and the low-cost housing market.
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