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Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Faculty Affiliate Institute for Policy Research; Ph.D. University of Chicago 1997. Pattillo's areas of interest include race and ethnicity, the black middle class, policy, inequality, urban sociology, and qualitative methods.


Pattillo uses the city of Chicago as her laboratory and strives to be an expert in Chicago history, politics, and social life. In her first book, Black Picket Fences (University of Chicago Press, 1999), Pattillo investigated the economic, spatial, and cultural forces that affect child-rearing and youth socialization in a black middle class neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. Black Picket Fences won the Oliver Cromwell Cox Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association.

Her second book, Black on the Block (University of Chicago Press 2007) focused on gentrification and public housing transformation in North Kenwood - Oakland on Chicago's South Side. The book developed the concept of "middlemen" and "middlewomen," the roles that black professionals play in working alternatively to mediate or exacerbate racial and class inequality. It won the Robert Park Book Award and a proclamation of the City of Chicago.

Current research projects include a study of how parents negotiate school choice, the impact of housing on families and children, the effect of college match on racial and class stratification, and the prevalence and impact of monetary sanction in the Illinois criminal justice system.  Pattillo also has a growing interest in race in Latin America.

Pattillo is a founding board member and active participant in Urban Prep Charter Academy, the first all-boys public charter high school in Chicago.

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