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Leonard Nevarez Professor and Chair of Sociology

Leonard Nevarez is Professor of Sociology, former Director of the Urban Studies Program, and former Tatlock Director of Multidisciplinary Studies. 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 Nevarez is the primary investigator of a 2018 Poughkeepsie food security survey, which replicates the survey he oversaw for the Poughkeepsie Plenty community food assessment. He blogs at Musical Urbanism and is at work on a book about Martha and the Muffins, the break-out act of Toronto's new wave music scene.

At Vassar College, courses Nevarez teaches in the Sociology Department include Urban Sociology, Power and Global Capital, Sociology of the New Economy (cross-listed in Science and Technology Studies), Quality of Life, Community Development (cross-listed in Urban Studies), Corporate Power, Introduction to Sociology, and Research Methods. In the Urban Studies Program, his courses include Cities After Society, Musical Urbanism, Introduction to Urban Studies, and Urban Theory. In the Environmental Studies Program he teaches the Field Experiences in the Hudson Valley course. Syllabi for these courses can be found here.

  • BA, MA, PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • At Vassar since 1999


Research and Academic Interests

  • Urban studies
  • social theory
  • food systems
  • musical urbanism


  • SOCI 151. The Sociology of Everyday Life
  • URBS/SOCI 346. Musical Urbanism

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.


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Photo: Imrul Islam ’17 / Vassar College