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
SO131 BIntroduction to Sociology
SO298A ACriminology
SO364 APolicing the American City

Professional Information

Neil Gross--a former police officer--joined the Colby faculty in 2015 as chair of the Department of Sociology. 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 law enforcement, 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, 2013) and Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher (Chicago, 2008). He coedited Professors and Their Politics (with Solon Simmons, Johns Hopkins, 2014), Social Knowledge in the Making (with Charles Camic and Michele Lamont, Chicago, 2011), and Durkheim’s Philosophy Lectures: Notes from the Lycée de Sens Course, 1883-4 (with Robert Alun Jones, Cambridge, 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.

New academic publications include:

"Is There a 'Ferguson Effect?' Google Searches, Concern About Police Violence, and Crime in U.S. Cities, 2014-16." (With Marcus Mann.) Socius, 2017.

"Norms and Mental Imagery." (With Zachary Hyde.) In Social Theory Now, Claudio Benzecry, Monika Krause, and Isaac Reed, eds. University of Chicago Press, 2017.

"Pragmatism and the Study of Large-Scale Social Phenomena." Theory and Society, 2018.

"The Structure of Causal Chains." Sociological Theory, 2018.

"Political Diversity and Bias in American Social Science." (With Christopher Robertson.) In The Production of Knowledge: Enhancing Progress in Social Science, Colin Elman, John Gerring, and Jim Mahoney, eds. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

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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