Neil L. Gross

Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology

Office: Diamond 203 [ campus map ]
Phone: 207-859-4712
Fax: 207-859-5369
Office Hours:
M: 2:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Gross, Neil L.


B.A., 1992, University of California-Berkeley
Ph.D., 2002, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Areas of Expertise

  • Sociological theory
  • Sociology of intellectuals
  • Sociology of higher education
  • Politics
  • Police

Courses Currently Teaching

CourseCourse Title
SO131 AIntroduction to Sociology
SO215 BClassical Sociological Theory
SO265 ACriminology
SO345 ACurrent Topics in Sociology
SO364 APolicing the American City

Professional Information

Neil Gross joined the Colby faculty in 2015. He taught previously at Princeton, the University of British Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Southern California.

Until recently, when he turned toward the study of the police, Gross worked primarily on sociological theory and the sociology of intellectual life. He is the author of Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? (Harvard University Press, 2013) and Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher (University of Chicago Press, 2008). He co-edited The New Pragmatist Sociology: Inquiry, Agency, and Democracy (with Isaac Reed and Chris Winship, Columbia University Press, 2022), Professors and Their Politics (with Solon Simmons, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), Social Knowledge in the Making (with Charles Camic and Michele Lamont, University of Chicago Press, 2011), and Durkheim’s Philosophy Lectures: Notes from the Lycée de Sens Course, 1883-4 (with Robert Alun Jones, Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Gross’s articles have been published in the American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Sociological Theory, Theory and Society, and elsewhere. From 2009-2015 he edited Sociological Theory, and he is currently a senior editor at Theory and Society.

His new book, Walk the Walk: How Three Police Chiefs Defied the Odds and Changed Cop Culture, will be published by Metropolitan/Holt in March 2023.

In The New York Times:

It Is Possible to Reform the Police (9/8/20)
Want to Abolish the Police? Consider Becoming an Officer Instead (7/13/20)
Why Do the Democrats Keep Saying "Structural?" (7/31/19)
Justice Is Blind. Sometimes, So Is Prejudice. (4/26/19)
Is Environmentalism Just for Rich People? (12/14/18)
Is Your Culture 'Tight' or 'Loose'? The Answer Could Explain Everything (9/16/18)
Is the United States Too Big to Govern? (5/13/18)
Why Is Hollywood So Liberal? (1/27/18)
Professors Behaving Badly (10/1/17)
Is Trump's Turmoil Slowing Economic Growth? (8/5/17)
Does Trump Embarrass You? (6/16/17)
How To Do Social Science Without Data (2/9/17)
Are Americans Experiencing Collective Trauma? (12/16/16)
Is There a Ferguson Effect? (10/2/16)
The Decline of Unions and the Rise of Trump (8/14/16)
Why Are the Highly Educated So Liberal? (5/15/16)


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