Stephen Steinberg


Stephen Steinberg, a sociologist, is Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Beginning with The Ethnic Myth (1981, 1989, 2001), his intellectual project has been to challenge prevailing orthodoxies on race and ethnicity, both in academic and popular discourses. His next book, Turning Back: The Retreat from Racial Justice in American Thought and Policy (1995, 2001) received the Oliver Cromwell Cox award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship. His most recent book, Race Relations: A Critique (Stanford University Press, 2007) was featured in the Research & Books Column of the Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Sociologist Offers a Harsh Assessment of How His Discipline Treats Race Relations,” by David Glenn.  It was described by one reviewer as “a devastating exposé of a century of the discipline’s theoretical bad faith, sociological mystification, and conceptual obfuscation of what should have been the central and obvious socio-historical fact of the white oppression of people of color in the United States.” In addition to his academic publications, Steinberg has published articles in The Nation, New Politics, and other popular venues.  Two of his articles were listed on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Arts & Letters Daily: “Race Relations: The Problem with the Wrong Name,” and “Poor Reason: Culture still doesn’t explain Poverty.”

Recent papers include:

“Two Children of Empire: Michael Banton and John Rex,” Symposium, Ethnic and Racial Studies Review, forthcoming.

“The Myth of Ethnic Success: Old Wine in New Bottles,” Scheduled for publication in Ronald Bayor, Ed., Handbook on American Immigration and Ethnicity (Oxford University Press, 2015).

“Tiger Couple Gets It Wrong on Immigrant Success,” Boston Review (March 11, 2014).

“The Long View of the Melting Pot,”  Ethnic and Racial Studies Review, Vol. 37:5 (2014): 790-794.

“Race and Counterrevolution,” New Politics (Winter 2013)

“The Birth and Death of Affirmative Action: Is Resurrection Possible?” Scheduled for publication in a volume to be published by the Korematsu Center of the Seattle University Law School.

“Two Cheers for Race and Reflexivity,” Symposium on Race and Reflexivity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 35:4 (2012): 608-13.

“Medicare and the Lessons of History,” Contexts.  Vol. 10, No. 4 (Fall 2011): 62-63.

 “The Role of Race in the Devolution of the Left,” LOGOS (2011: Vol. 10, issue 2)

 “Poor Reason: Culture still doesn’t explain poverty.” Boston Review (January 13, 2011)

“The Myth of Concentrated Poverty” in The Integration Debate: Competing Futures for American Cities, Ed. by Chester Hartman and Gregory D. Squires (Routledge, 2010).


Steinberg teaches courses on Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration and Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy. He also teaches the required graduate and undergraduate course on Urban Research Methods, an innovative course that emphasizes the development of critical skills in reading and interpreting social science research. His interest in improving the quality of student research and writing is reflected in a book that he co-authored with Sharon Friedman, Writing and Thinking in the Social Sciences (Prentice-Hall, 1989).
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Distinguished Professor
PhD, University of California/Berkeley

Race, ethnicity, and immigration; urban sociology; sociology of knowledge.
Office: Powdermaker Rm. 250
Telephone: (718) 997 5130



65-30 Kissena Blvd. Flushing, NY 11367
Powdermaker Hall, Room 250
Telephone: 718-997-5130

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