Geoff Harkness is an assistant professor of sociology. He joined the department in 2017. Professor Harkness earned a B.A. and M.A. in sociology from the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University. He teaches courses in sociology, law and society, and quantitative research methods that serve the sociology and justice studies programs. Before coming to RIC, he taught at Morningside and Grinnell Colleges. Professor Harkness also spent three years as a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Northwestern and Carnegie Mellon Universities in Doha, Qatar.
Professor Harkness’ scholarship focuses on the interactive, micro practices of group behavior and the role of stratification and inequality in shaping culture. His research examines phenomena such as race, ethnicity, social class, gender, social movements, and globalization through topics that include hip hop, street gangs, sports, clothing, marriage, and popular culture. His research has been widely published by academic journals and scholarly presses. His first book, Chicago Hustle and Flow: Gangs, Gangsta Rap, and Social Class, was an ethnography that explored the relationship between rap music and street gangs in Chicago. It won the 2016 Distinguished Book Award from the Midwest Sociological Society. In 2018, Harkness became Treasurer of the Midwest Sociological Society.