Tripodi Lecture on Research Methodologies: The Afterlife of Incarceration

Lecture | April 11 | 12:10-1:30 p.m. | Haviland Hall, Haviland Commons

 Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

 Social Welfare, School of

Dr. Miller will spend some time on methods, specifically the practice of ethnographic research, the debates on positionality and reflexivity and what we can learn by getting close to our work. He will draw from his field notes to make a case for proximity and to demonstrate his case methodologically and analytically. More specifically, Dr. Miller will discuss what it means to bring oneself into the craft of ethnography, that is to do ethnography that is embodied, and to theorize ethnographically from the body and through the body about the experiences of others.

BIO: Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller is an Assistant Professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA). His research examines life at the intersections of race, poverty, crime control, and social welfare policy. He has conducted fieldwork in Chicago, Detroit, and New York, examining how law, policy and emergent practices of state and third-party supervision changed the contours of citizenship, activism, community and family life for poor black Americans and the urban poor more broadly. To capture the effects of crime control on social life in global cities with different public policies, Miller has conducted fieldwork in Glasgow, London, Malmo and Belgrade. He is launching two new research projects. The first examines the “moral worlds” of violence. The second is a comparative study of punishment and social welfare policy in the port cities that were most involved in the transatlantic slave trade.

Prior to joining SSA, Dr. Miller was an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan where he served as a Faculty Associate in the Population Studies Center and a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Afro American and African Studies. He was a 2016 Member in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, and a visiting fellow at Dartmouth University in 2018. This year, Dr. Miller was selected as an Eric and Wendy Schmidt National Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Dr. Miller’s work is published in journals of criminology, human rights, law, psychology, sociology, social work, and public health. He co-edited The Routledge Handbook on Poverty in the United States (2015), an edited volume addressing the impact of neoliberal economic policy on poor people throughout the U.S. Little Brown and Company will publish his next book, Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration in February of 2020. Halfway Home is based on 16 years of research and practice with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, their families, and the people they turn to for help. He will share findings from this book during the lecture.

A native son of Chicago, Dr. Miller received his PhD from Loyola University Chicago, an AM from the University of Chicago, and a BA from Chicago State University. He lives and works on the Southside.