Leonard Nevarez

Professor of Sociology

Leonard Nevarez is Professor of Sociology and former Director of the Urban Studies Program. He received his PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and joined Vassar’s Sociology Department in 1999. An urban sociologist by training, his research examines how markets and their cultures transform places, formal organizations, and labor reproduction. Currently, he is co-editing a forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Urban Sociology.


BA, University of California-Los Angeles; MA, PhD, University of California-Santa Barbara
At Vassar since 1999


Blodgett Hall
Box 231
Weds/Thurs 12-1:30 or by appt. Email for Zoom URL.

Research and Academic Interests

Urban studies
social theory
food systems
musical urbanism


SOCI 151 Introductory Sociology
SOCI/STS 273 The New Economy

Selected Publications

"Small-City Dualism in the Metro Hinterland: The Racialized 'Brooklynization' of the Hudson Valley." Co-authored with Joshua Simons. Pp. 16-43 in City & Community. Volume 19. Number 1. March 2020.

"Food Acquisition in Poughkeepsie, NY: Exploring the Stratification of 'Healthy Food' Consciousness in a Food-Insecure City." Co-authored with Kathleen Tobin and Eve Waltermauer. Pp. 19-44 in Food, Culture & Society. Volume 19. Issue 1. March 2016.

  • Reprinted in Food Practices and Social Inequality: Looking at Food Practices and Taste Across the Class Divide, edited by Jennifer Maguire. New York: Routledge, 2018.

"Sound in 70 Cities: The European Urbanism of Simple Minds." In Unsichtbare Landschaften: Populäre Musik und Räumlichkeit / Invisible Landscapes: Popular Music and Spatiality, edited by Giacomo Bottà. Munich: Waxmann, 2016.

"Poughkeepsie Plenty: A Community Food Assessment." Co-authored with Susan Grove, KT Tobin and Joshua Simons. Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach, State University of New York at New Paltz. Discussion Brief #11. Winter 2014.

"How Joy Division Came to Sound like Manchester: Myth and Ways of Listening in the Neoliberal City." Pp. 56-76 in Journal of Popular Music Studies. Volume 25. Number 1. March 2013.

Pursuing Quality of Life: From the Affluent Society to the Consumer Society. 2011. New York: Routledge.

New Money, Nice Town: How Capital Works in the New Urban Economy. 2003. New York: Routledge.

"Efficacy or Legitimacy of Community Power? A Reassessment of Corporate Elites in Urban Studies." Pp. 379-396 in Understanding the City: Contemporary and Future Perspectives, edited by John Eade and Christopher Mele. London: Blackwell, 2002.

"Corporate Philanthropy in the New Urban Economy: The Role of Business-Nonprofit Realignment in Regime Politics." Pp. 197-227 in Urban Affairs Review. Volume 36. Number 2. November 2000.

"Working and Living in the Quality-of-Life District." Pp. 185-215 in Research in Community Sociology. Volume 9. 1999.

"Just Wait Until There’s a Drought: Mediating Environmental Crises for Urban Growth." Pp. 246-272 in Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography. Volume 28. Number 3. July 1996.

In the Media

Leonard Nevarez, Professor of Sociology, was quoted in a November 24, 2020 Chronogram article about pandemic gentrification in Kingston, NY, that draws from his research on the Brooklynization" of the Hudson Valley."

Leonard Nevarez, Professor of Sociology, discussed Poughkeepsie research and broader debates on food insecurity in an October 13, 2018 Other Hudson Valley story about efforts to tackle the food desert in the city of Hudson.


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