Selected Papers

Please email for copies of any paper not linked here!

In Process:

Shifting Power: The Impact of Incarceration on Political Representation forthcoming Du Bois Review. Forthcoming at Du Bois Review Available on  SocArxiv

Stop, Frisk, and Assault? Police Violence and Race in New York City (conditional accept at Law and Society Review)


Testing the Role of Barriers in Shaping Segregation Profiles: The Importance of Visualizing the Local Neighborhood Environment and Planning B

Diversifying but not Integrating: Entropic Measures of Local Segregation  Journal of Social and Economic Geography (ungated pre-print at Socarxiv)

Race, Space, and Surveillance: Understanding the Relationship between Criminal Justice Contact and Institutional Involvement Socius 4

Designing for and against Symbolic Boundaries City and Community 16(4):369-73 (ungated pre-print at Socarxiv)
Defensible Spaces in Philadelphia: Exploring Neighborhood Boundaries through Spatial Analysis, RSF: Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 3(2):81-101


Racial Rigidity in the US: Comment on Saperstein and Penner American Journal of Sociology 122(1):233-46.

STATA Code to reproduce Table 1 simulation

.dta data for Table 1 simulation

The code for the simulation includes an egen command “clsort”. The command allows one to sort a variable in increasing or decreasing order, or by a specified key variable, such that all other variables in the data set are left unaffected. This is not part of the standard Stata package, but must be downloaded and installed prior to running the simulation program.  The Stata clsort routine can be downloaded at

Intragroup Heterogeneity and Blackness: Effects of Racial Classification, Immigrant Origins, Social Class, and Social Context on the Racial Identity of Elite College Students Race and Social Problems 7:281-99 (2015):

While the black population of the USA has grown more diverse with regard to ethnicity and class status, most research on racial identity relies on dichotomous proxies of racial group identification created during the civil rights era. Using a subset of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity included in the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, a representative sample of black students at twenty-eight selective American colleges and universities, we test how black student racial identity is related to students’ ethnic, nativity, socioeconomic, and contextual experiences in childhood. Our more nuanced measure of black racial identity shows that being Black/ African American is central to the new generation of black elites’ self-identity and that, contrary to prior evidence and theorization that blacks are either assimilationist or nationalist, that black students express strong support for both assimilationist and nationalist ideological beliefs at the same time. In addition, students express strong tendencies toward group membership as well as individualism; race has less of an impact on how they feel about themselves and their social relationships. Further analyses reveal substantial variation in black identity between monoracial and mixed-race blacks, and between immigrant (both first and second generation) and native blacks, but few social class differences. Notably, childhood experiences of racial segregation and social disorganization are also strongly associated with black identity and racial ideologies.

When Change Doesn’t Matter: Racial Identity (In)Consistency and Emotional Well-beingSociology of Race and Ethnicity 1.4 (2015):

Most theories of racial self-identity argue that a racially inconsistent identity indicates emotional distress and internal turmoil. However, empirical research on racial identity and consistency indicates that racial inconsistency is more common than previously believed, and some argue that it can be a positive adaptation for individuals. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, we explore the degree to which racial identity inconsistency is associated with emotional, social, and academic outcomes. We find that racial inconsistency is not associated with negative outcomes for individuals and, via access to white privilege, may be associated with benefits for some individuals. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for theories of racial identity.

Out with the Old, In With the New? Habitus and Social Mobility at Selective Colleges Sociology of Education 86.1 (2013):

Sociologists have long recognized that cultural differences help explain the perpetuation of inequality by invisibly limiting access to elite cultural norms. However, there has been little investigation of the ways students reconcile shifts in habitus gained in educational settings with existing, nonelite habitus. The authors use both qualitative and quantitative data to examine the ways students navigate what Bourdieu called a ‘‘cleft habitus.’’ In particular, the authors examine how students of low socioeconomic status experience contacts with their families and hometown friends, arguing that these moments are crucial to understanding whether and how their habitus is changing and whether that change creates a divide between those students and their origins. Interview and survey data both show that social mobility does not come without sacrifice and that these sacrifices warrant more serious study in the sociology of stratification.

Who is Really Doing It? Peer Embeddedness and Substance Use During Adolescence Sociological Perspectives 54.1 (2011):

Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 15,355), this article examines the relationship between adolescent embeddedness and substance use. Unlike most previous work on substance use, the authors focus on the size of an individual’s social network (embeddedness) instead of the characteristics of individuals in that network. They examine four levels of embeddedness (isolated, marginal, typical, and saturated) and the variation in their link to substance use, specifically alcohol consumption, binge drinking, cigarette smoking, and marijuana smoking. Students with high in-school embeddedness were significantly more likely to participate in risk behaviors involving alcohol while students with no in-school embeddedness are protected from risk behaviors by their social isolation. The study then argues for future research in substance use and peer effects that explores the interplay between measures of social capital and embeddedness.


Diversifiers at Elite Schools Du Bois Review 5.2 (2008):

This article examines how a nonprofit organization prepares low-income students of diverse racial backgrounds to enter elite private high schools in the fall of the ninth grade. Combining ethnographic fieldwork completed during the program with follow-up interviews with ten students after their first semester at boarding school, this article addresses how students interact with and integrate into wealthy, predominantly White schools in an attempt to gain social mobility. Looking at how students interpret their surroundings, the article argues that students are trained to view themselves as “diversifiers” in order to successfully adapt to their new schools. In this role, students perceive themselves as especially serious and motivated students, and their elite peers as naïve, and find satisfaction in teaching others how to interact with people from different class and racial backgrounds. The paper concludes by considering the ramifications of the diversifier concept on efforts to diversify elite institutions and proposes further possible research sites where the concept may be applicable.