Chairman of Academic Advisory Board & Professor
Sudhir Venkatesh is William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology at Columbia University in the City of New York. He is a researcher and writer on urban neighborhoods in the United States. His most recent book is Gang Leader for a Day(Penguin Press). Gang Leader received a Best Book award from The Economist, and is currently being translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German, Italian, Polish, French and Portuguese. His previous work, Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor (Harvard University Press, 2006) about illegal economies in Chicago, received a Best Book Award from Slate.com (2006) as well as the C. Wright Mills Award (2007). His first book, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto (2000) explored life in Chicago public housing.
Venkatesh writes a column, entitled “Underground,” for The Daily—an Ipad-only newspaper. His editorial writings have appeared in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. He writes for Slate.com, and his stories have appeared in This American Life, WIRED, and on National Public Radio.
His next book, under contract with Penguin Press, will focus on the role of black market economies—from sex work and drug trafficking to day care and entertainment—in the revitalization of New York since 1999. Venkatesh is also completing an ethnographic study of policing in the Department of Justice, where he is currently a Senior Research Advisor.
Venkatesh’s first documentary film, Dislocation, followed families as they relocated from condemned public housing developments. The documentary aired on PBS in 2005. He directed and produced a three-part award winning documentary on the history of public housing for public radio. And, he recently completed At the Top of My Voice, a documentary film on a scholar and artist who return to the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia to promote democracy and safeguard human rights.
Venkatesh received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University from 1996-1999, and an NSF CAREER award recipient in 2000. He holds a visiting appointment in Columbia University’s Law School and he is a voting member of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies.
List of Publications
Writing: (Selected listing)
Gang Leader for a Day. Penguin Press (2008).
Translations: Japanese, French, German, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese.
*Best Book, The Economist, 2008.
Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor. Harvard Univ. Press (2006).
Translations: Japanese, French.
*C.Wright Mills award (2006).
*”Top 10 Books of 2006,” Slate.com
American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto. Harvard Univ. Press (2000).
*Best Book, Sociology & Anthropology (2000), the Association of American Publishers.
Articles: (Full Listing Available Upon Request)
“Underground Gun Markets” (w/ Philip Cook, Jens Ludwig, and Anthony Braga). Economic Journal (2007).
“Vice Careers: Sex Work in New York City,” (w/Alexandra Murphy). Qualitative Sociology(2006).
"The Financial Activities of an Urban Street Gang" (with Steven D. Levitt). Quarterly Journal of Economics. 2000 (August). Volume 115(3): 755-789.
"Chicago's Pragmatic Planners: American Sociology and the Myth of Community." Social Science History (Summer 2001).