Penn Arts and Sciences



David Boies Professor of History and Sociology

Thomas J. Sugrue is David Boies Professor of History and Sociology. A specialist in twentieth-century American politics, urban history, civil rights, and race, Sugrue was educated at Columbia; King's College, Cambridge; and Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1992. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President of the Urban History Association, and has been a fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Institute for Advanced Study.  He is author of several books, including Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race (Princeton University Press, 2010); Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (Random House, 2008), a Main Selection of the History Book Club and a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and The Origins of the Urban Crisis (Princeton, 2005), winner of the Bancroft and several other prizes. Sugrue has won fellowships and grants from the Social Science Research Council, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, the Fletcher Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies, among others. His op-eds and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and in many other newspapers and magazines. Sugrue is an award-winning teacher and, outside the classroom, a scholar who combines research with civic engagement. Sugrue has also served an an expert in civil rights cases, including the University of Michigan affirmative action cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. 

Fellows – Poverty and Opportunity Theme (2014-15)

Fulbright Visiting Scholar, University of Buenos Aires

Valeria Carbone is assistant professor of history at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2014. She will be researching and writing about "Racism, Race, and Class: An Analysis of the African American Struggle from 1968 to 1988." She is Managing Editor of Huellas de los Estados Unidos, Estudios Perspectivas y Debates desde América LatinaHer research has been funded by Argentina's  National Commission of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET).

SSPF Postdoctoral Fellow

Erica Dobbs received her Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September 2013, after earning her B.A. in history at Howard University, and her M.P.P. at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. Her research focuses on how the global movement of both capital and labor drives local political actors to re-evaluate notions of citizenship and identity, strategies for collective action, and the structure of institutions.  In her dissertation project, she explores when and why native political actors in countries where immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon move to treat new immigrants as constituents.  Her next project will focus on “Justice for Janitors” campaigns in the U.S. South, and will examine the viability of this approach to mobilizing low-wage service workers outside of traditional union strongholds.  Prior to enrolling at MIT, she worked on organizing campaigns with the Service Employees International Union in Miami, Florida. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Fulbright-Schuman Program, the Center for International Studies at MIT, Mellon/ACLS, and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University.

DAAD Visiting Scholar, Max-Weber-Kolleg, University of Erfurt

Dr. Urs Lindner is an assistant professor at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, Germany, and 2014-15 DAAD Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also been affiliated with the Institute for Sociology at the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena and has been, from 2010 to 2013, a postdoctoral researcher and scientific coordinator at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. A scholar whose work bridges political theory, sociology, and philosophy, Lindner will conduct research on "Justice as Preferential Treatment: Affirmative Action in India, the U.S. and Germany." Lindner's project compares policies and debates concerning affirmative action in India, the US and Germany, with attention to the relationship between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome as goals of preferential treatment, the linking of affirmative action to group rights, and the interlocking axes of inequality in each site. 

Executive Committee

Professor of Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine

Charles Branas is a Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Cartographic Modeling Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also held numerous other university appointments, including as a Penn Fellow in the University Office of the Provost. Dr. Branas works to improve health and healthcare and is recognized for his efforts to reduce violence and enhance emergency care. Much of his work incorporates human geography and spatial interactions. His studies have taken him to various places including the neighborhoods of Philadelphia, rural counties across the US and cities and small towns in Guatemala and other countries. Dr. Branas has been on various boards and scientific review panels at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Canadian National Research Council, the South African Medical Research Council, and is a Past President of the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research. Before coming to Penn, he trained and conducted research at both the Johns Hopkins and University of California, Berkeley Schools of Public Health and worked at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Professor of Communication and Walter H. Annenberg Dean

Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, explores the role of the citizen in American politics, with particular emphasis on the impact of the mass media on public opinion, political knowledge and political participation. He is author of What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters (Yale University Press, 1996 and winner of the 2008 American Association of Public Opinion Researchers Book Award), Talking Together: Public Deliberation and Political Participation in America (University of Chicago Press, 2009), and After Broadcast News: Media Regimes, Democracy, and the New Information Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2011), as well as numerous other books, articles, essays and edited volumes on political communications, public opinion and political socialization. Dean Delli Carpini was awarded the 2008 Murray Edelman Distinguished Career Award from the Political Communication Division of the American Political Science Association.

Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History

Sally Gordon is a widely recognized scholar and commentator on religion in American public life and the law of church and state. Her first book, The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America (Univ. of North Carolina, 2002), won the Mormon History Association’s and the Utah Historical Society’s best book awards in 2003. Her new book, The Spirit of the Law: Religious Voices and the Constitution in Modern America (Harvard, 2010), explores the world of church and state in the 20th century. Gordon directs the Penn Legal History Consortium.

Richard King Mellon Professor of Finance, The Wharton School

Robert P. Inman is the Richard King Mellon Professor of Finance and Economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He received is undergraduate and graduate training in economics at Harvard University. In addition to his appointment as a Professor at the Wharton School, he currently serves as a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA. He is an Associate Editor of the professional journal Regional Science and Urban Economics. He is the editor of three books, The Economics of Public Services (Macmillan Publishing), Managing the Service Economy (Cambridge University Press), and Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America (Princeton University Press). His research focuses on the design and impact of fiscal policies with an emphasis on fiscal federalism.

Associate Professor and Director, MS in Social Policy Program (MSSP), School of Social Policy and Practice

Dr. Iversen uses ethnographic research to better understand and improve welfare and workforce development policy and programs and to extend knowledge about economic mobility, especially in relation to families who are working but still poor. Her ethnographic accounts illuminate what low-income working parents need from secondary schools, job training organizations, businesses and firms, their children's public schools, and public policy in order to earn enough to support their families through work. Dr. Iversen is the author of Jobs Aren't Enough: Toward a New Economic Mobility for Low-Income Families (2006).

Janice and Julian Bers Professor of History and Sociology of Science

A distinguished historian of science, Dr. Lindee has special interests in the history of genetics, gender and science, science and popular culture, and science and war. Her books include Moments of Truth in Genetic Medicine (2005); The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon (1995, with Dorothy Nelkin); and Suffering Made Real: American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima (1994). She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund 40th Anniversary Award and support from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. She has been a member of the Penn faculty since 1990, and she spent ten years as a journalist before earning her Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from Cornell. She is also associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Associate Professor of Political Science

Julia Lynch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has taught since 2001. Her research concerns the politics of inequality, social policy, and the economy in comparative perspective, with a focus on the countries of Western Europe and the United States. She is currently working on a book on the politics of health inequalities in Europe, under contract with Cambridge University Press, and recently wrote an Op-Ed for the New York Times, “Foreclosures are Killing Us” (Oct. 2, 2011).  She has also been featured on the radio program Marketplace discussing the “Latest Public Health Problem: Foreclosures” (June 22, 2012). Her first book, Age in the Welfare State: The Origins of Social Spending on Pensioners, Workers, and Children (Cambridge University Press, 2006) won the American Political Science Association prize for best book in European Politics in 2007. 

Chair, Department of Criminology, Associate Professor of Criminology

Professor MacDonald works on a wide variety of topics in criminology that include the study of interpersonal violence, race and ethnic disparities in criminal justice, and the effectiveness of social policy responses to crime.  He is the author of, most recently, “Are Immigrant Youth Less Violent? Specifying the Reasons and Mechanisms” (with Jessica Saunders) in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 641 (2012).  He is the winner of the 2012 David N. Kershaw Award For Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Public Policy Analysis and Management from the Association of Public Policy and Management (APPAM). He will be delivering the Kershaw lecture at the APPAM Research Conference.

Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science

Professor Smith centers his research on constitutional law, American political thought, and modern legal and political theory, with special interests in questions of citizenship, race, ethnicity and gender.  He was elected as an American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow in 2004.  His many books include the prizewinning Civic Ideals (Yale University Press, 1998) and Still a House Divided: Race & Politics in Obama's America, with Desmond S. King, (Princeton University Press, 2011). Smith directs the Penn Program on Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Citizenship.

Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management, The Wharton School

Susan M. Wachter is the Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management, Professor of Real Estate and Finance at the Wharton School, and co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research. Her research focuses include real estate economics, urban economics, and housing finance. She sits on the editorial boards of numerous journals, including the Journal of Housing Economics, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Real Estate and Finance, and the Journal of Real Estate Research.  She is a Homer Hoyt Institute Faculty Fellow and the recipient of the 2005 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Lifetime Achievement Award and 1995 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Best International Paper Award. From 1998-2001, Professor Wachter served as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate. Her current work models default and delinquency and neighborhood change. She is frequently cited in the press.


SSPF Administrator

In addition to working for the Forum, Matthew Roth has a Ph.D. in History from Rutgers University, where he completed a dissertation on the history of the soybean in America. He earned his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago. 

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