The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Joshua Kaiser

Assistant Professor

Office Hours

Wednesdays 1pm-2pm


As a sociologist, criminologist, and legal scholar, I study the reciprocal relationship between state power and intersectional inequalities across time and place. My published articles and book have analyzed the multidimensional (racial, gendered, and criminal) experience of genocide in Darfur and elsewhere; the sectarian displacement, criminal entrepreneurship, and legal cynicism caused by the Iraq War; and the ways in which the American penal system continually legitimizes and reinforces race, class, and other inequalities by reifying social stereotypes and assumptions into law. I am currently at work on three projects: (1) a new book about the history of “hidden sentences” in the United States and the ways that they legitimize and continually reinforce race, class, and other social inequalities, (2) a novel dataset of penal policies in order to answer enduring questions about how punishment produces racial-economic inequalities among individuals, families, and communities in the United States, and (3) a project on the imperial and colonial implications of analyzing genocide as a process of social destruction.


Post-doctoral fellowship, Society of Fellows, Dartmouth College, 2020

Ph.D., Sociology, Northwestern University, 2017

J.D., Sociology, Northwestern University, 2017

B.S., Sociology and Psychology, Virginia Tech, 2007

Research areas

Crime and criminality, intersectional inequality, law and society, mixed methodologies, punishment, race and racism, state crime, state power