Mary Pattillo

Mary PattilloHarold Washington Professor
Professor of Sociology and African American Studies

Mailing Address:
Department of Sociology

1810 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60208-1330

Department of Sociology Office:
1808 Chicago Avenue, Room 202
Phone: (847) 491-3409

   African American Studies Office:
   1860 South Campus Drive
    5-111 Crowe Hall
    Phone: (847) 491-2036

Office Hours: Crowe Hall 5-111 TH 10:00 AM-12:00 PM by appointment.
Sign up for office hours at:

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interest

Race/Ethnic/Minority Relations
Urban Sociology
Qualitative Methodology

Relevant Links

African American Studies
Institute for Policy Research
Ethnography Workshop


Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Faculty Affiliate Institute for Policy Research; Ph.D. University of Chicago 1997. Pattillo's areas of interest include race and ethnicity (specifically the black middle class), urban sociology, and qualitative methods.

Pattillo uses the city of Chicago as her laboratory and strives to be an expert in Chicago history, politics, and social life. In her book, Black Picket Fences (University of Chicago Press, 1999), Pattillo investigates the economic, spatial, and cultural forces that affect child-rearing and youth socialization in a black middle class neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. Black Picket Fences won the Oliver Cromwell Cox Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association.

Her second book, Black on the Block (University of Chicago Press 2007) focused on gentrification and public housing transformation in North Kenwood - Oakland on Chicago's South Side. The book develops the concept of   "middlemen" and "middlewomen," the roles that black professionals play in working alternatively to mediate or exacerbate racial and class inequality. It won the Robert Park Book Award and a proclamation of the City of Chicago.

Current research projects include a study of how parents negotiate school choice and how families make housing choices in Chicago, Pattillo also has a growing interest in race in Latin America, and is a member of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Research Network on How Housing Matters for Families and Children.

Pattillo is a founding board member and active participant in Urban Prep Charter Academy, the first all-boys public charter high school in Chicago.

Courses Taught

SOCIOL 110: Introduction to Sociology Syllabus
SOCIOL 207: Problems of Cities Syllabus
SOCIOL 403: Field Methods
SOCIOL 476: Topics in Soc. Analysis: Urban Ethnography Syllabus
SOCIOL 520: Housing, Community and Public Policy Syllabus

African American Studies:
AFAM 215: Intro to Black Social and Political Life Syllabus
AFAM 460: Race, Politics, Society, and Culture Syllabus


Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City
University of Chicago Press, 2007

Black Picket Fences
University of Chicago Press, 1999

Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration
Russell Sage Foudation , 2004


Race, Class, and Crime in the Redevelopment of American Cities
Pp 143-159 in American Economies, edited by Eva Boesenberg, Reinhard Isensee and Martin Klepper. Heidelberg: Universit√§tsverlag Winter, 2012      

Urban Sociology in the Post-Civil Rights Era
Sociologists Backstage: Answers to 10 Questions about What They Do
Editors, Nikki Jones and Sarah Fenstermaker; New York: Routledge, 2010

Making Fair (Public)Housing Claims in a Post-Racism Legal Context
Journal of Affordable Housing 2009

Black Middle-class Neighborhoods. Annual Review of Sociology 31:305-29. 2003.

Extending the boundaries and definition of the ghetto. Ethnic and Racial Studies 26:1046-57. 2003

Negotiating Blackness, For Richer or for Poorer. Ethnography 4:61-93. 2003

Sweet Mothers and Gangbangers: Managing Crime in a Black Middle-Class Neighborhood. Social Forces, 1998

Political Science/Sociology joint Assistant Professor of Instruction Search

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY'S Departments of Political Science and Sociology invite applications for a full-time, benefits-eligible, non-tenure eligible faculty appointment as Assistant Professor of Instruction, beginning September 1, 2016. Further details about the position are available online at 



Our faculty advisers can help you select Sociology courses, even if Sociology isn't your major or minor.

Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching provides a variety of programs and workshops for graduate students and faculty interested in developing their teaching practices. In addition, the Searle Center offers a variety of programs for graduate students seeking to develop their skills as Teaching Assistant (TA) and instructor , such as, a yearly conference for new TA's, a teaching certificate program and fellowship opportunities.


Upcoming Events

Sociology Colloquium - Professor Tamara Kay, The University of New Mexico
October 8, 201512:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Sociology Colloquium - Professor Kelly Moore, Loyola University
October 15, 201512:30 PM - 2:00 PM

September 24, 2015