About Robert J. Sampson


Robert J. Sampson is the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. He received his PhD from the State University of New York at Albany in 1983 and went on to teach at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago. While in Chicago he was also Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Association. Sampson is the former Chair of Harvard’s Department of Sociology and was a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Dr. Sampson is Scientific Director of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN), which has been the source for much of his research on neighborhood effects and the sociology of the contemporary city. In addition to dozens of journal articles, these themes have shaped several books and monographs, including The Explanation of Crime: Context, Mechanisms, and Development (Cambridge University Press, 2006), How Neighborhoods Matter: The Value of Investing at the Local Level (American Sociological Association, 2001); Integrating Individual and Ecological Aspects on Crime (Stockholm, Sweden: National Council for Crime Prevention, 1993); The Social Ecology of Crime (Springer-Verlag, 1986); and Juvenile Criminal Behavior and Its Relation to Neighborhood Characteristics (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981). He is engaged in a longitudinal study from birth to death of 1,000 disadvantaged men born in Boston during the Great Depression era. Two books from this project—Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life (Harvard, 1993) and Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70 (Harvard, 2003)—received distinguished book awards from the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the American Sociological Association.

Dr. Sampson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and American Society of Criminology; and twice was awarded a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Currently he serves on the Board of Overseers of the General Social Survey and the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2001 Dr. Sampson received the Edwin H. Sutherland Award from the American Society of Criminology for outstanding contributions to theory and research.

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