Sudhir A. Venkatesh

Sudhir A. Venkatesh

Research Interests


Sudhir Venkatesh is William B Ransford Professor of Sociology & African-American Studies, a position he has held continuously since 1999. He previously served as Head of the Integrity Research in the Growth org at Facebook.. He is currently advising Twitter as the Lead Social Scientist for initiatives to improve the online health of the platform, a position he has held since Autumn 2018.  In 2009 he served as Senior Research Advisor to the Office of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 2 years. He was elected a Junior Fellow, in the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, 1996-1999.


MA, Mathematics, UC San Diego, 1988

Ph.D University of Chicago, Sociology 1997

Junior Fellowship, Society of Fellows, Harvard University.


Creativity & Technology

Thinking Small: Remaining Creative in a World of Big DataFast Company.

How to Use Conflict to Unlock CreativityFast Company.

The Science of Awards. Fast Company.

The Myth of Advertising and the Art of Legitimacy. Public Culture. 2015.


Public Housing

American Project: The Rise and Fall of an Urban Ghetto. Harvard University Press.

 “Growing Up in the Projects: The Economic Lives of a Cohort of Men who Came of Age in Chicago Public Housing.” (w/ Steven D. Levitt) American Economic Review (May 2001).


Underground Economies

Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor. Harvard University Press.

"The Financial Activities of an Urban Street Gang" (with Steven D. Levitt). Quarterly Journal of Economics. 2000 (August). Volume 115(3): 755-789. 

Gang Leader for a Day. Penguin Press.

Floating City. Penguin Press.

"’Are We a Family or a Business?’ History and Disjuncture in the Urban American Street Gang" (w/ Steven D. Levitt). Theory and Society 29: 427-462 (Autumn 2000).


Popular Writings & Films

Writings and stories have appeared in The New York TImes, This American Life, Fresh Air, The American Prospect, the Washington Post and National Public Radio. 

Dislocation documentary film (appearing on PBS)

At the Top of My Voice documentary film.

Abhidya (scripted film).


Best Book awards from The Economist,

Best Book from Slate.Com

NSF CAREER award winner in 2001. 

C. Wright Mills Book Award. 2007.

Best Documentary Series Award for “Transformation: The State and Future of Chicago Public Houisng,” Associated Press. 2002.