Stephen Steinberg


Stephen Steinberg, a sociologist, is Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Beginning with The Ethnic Myth (1981, 1989, 2001), his intellectual project has been to challenge prevailing orthodoxies on race and ethnicity, both in academic and popular discourses. His next book, Turning Back: The Retreat from Racial Justice in American Thought and Policy (1995, 2001) received the Oliver Cromwell Cox award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship. His most recent book, Race Relations: A Critique (Stanford University Press, 2007) was featured in the Research & Books Column of the Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Sociologist Offers a Harsh Assessment of How His Discipline Treats Race Relations,” by David Glenn.  It was described by one reviewer as “a devastating exposé of a century of the discipline’s theoretical bad faith, sociological mystification, and conceptual obfuscation of what should have been the central and obvious socio-historical fact of the white oppression of people of color in the United States.” In addition to his academic publications, Steinberg has published articles in The Nation, New Politics, and other popular venues.  Two of his articles were listed on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Arts & Letters Daily“Race Relations: The Problem with the Wrong Name,” and “Poor Reason: Culture still doesn’t explain Poverty.”

Recent Publications:

“The Whiteness of Race Knowledge: Charles Mills Throws Down the Gauntlet.” Invited contributor to a symposium on Charles W. Mills, Black Rights/White Wrongs, Oxford University Press, 2017. Ethnic & Racial Studies, V. 41:3, 2018: 541-550. Available at

“The Birth and Death of Affirmative Action: Is Resurrection Possible?” Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation. Ed. by Greg Robinson & Robert S, Chang. University Press of Mississippi, 2017.

“Everett Hughes on Race: Wedded to an Antiquated Paradigm.” With Neil McLaughlin. In Rick Helmes-Hayes and Marco Santoro, eds. The Anthem Companion To Everett Hughes. Anthem Press, 2016.

“Decolonizing Sociology,” Stanford Press Blog, August 2016.

“The Myth of Ethnic Success: Old Wine in New Bottles.” In Ronald Bayor, Ed., Handbook on American Immigration and Ethnicity. Oxford University Press, 2016. Online publication, 2015.

“The Moynihan Report at Fifty: The long reach of intellectual racism,” Boston Review (June 24, 2015).

“Two Children of Empire: Michael Banton and John Rex,” Symposium, Ethnic and Racial Studies Review, Vol 38 (2015): 1382-88.

“Tiger Couple Gets It Wrong on Immigrant Success,” Boston Review (March 11, 2014).

“The Long View of the Melting Pot,” Ethnic and Racial Studies Review, Vol. 37:5 (2014): 790-794.

Race and Counterrevolution, New Politics (Winter 2013).

“Two Cheers for Race and Reflexivity,” Symposium on Race and Reflexivity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 35:4 (2012): 608-13.

“Medicare and the Lessons of History,” Contexts.  Vol. 10, No. 4 (Fall 2011): 62-63.

 “The Role of Race in the Devolution of the Left,” LOGOS (2011: Vol. 10, issue 2).

 “Poor Reason: Culture still doesn’t explain poverty.” Boston Review (January 13, 2011).

“The Myth of Concentrated Poverty” in The Integration Debate: Competing Futures for American Cities, Ed. by Chester Hartman and Gregory D. Squires (Routledge, 2010).


Steinberg teaches courses on Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration and Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy, as well as an innovative course, Critical Perspectives on Urban Research Methods, which emphasizes the development of critical skills in reading and interpreting social science research.  He also teaches “The Peopling of New York” in the Macaulay Honors College.  His interest in improving the quality of student research and writing is reflected in a book that he co-authored with Sharon Friedman, Writing and Thinking in the Social Sciences (Prentice-Hall, 1989).

Office: Powdermaker Rm. 250
Telephone: (718) 997 5130