Robert Vargas

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology and the College

Robert Vargas examines the effects of politics, law, and government bureaucracies on the conditions of cities, with a particular focus on violence and health care. His multi-award-winning book, Wounded City: Violent Turf Wars in a Chicago Barrio (Oxford University Press, 2016), shows the relationship between ward boundary redistricting and block-level violence in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. His next book is on the effects of the Affordable Care Act, a project based on three years of intense fieldwork documenting Chicagoans’ experiences with and without health insurance during health care reform’s first three years. His research has also been published in Criminology, Social Science and Medicine, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Vargas recently received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award, which he is using to continue his research on the political economy of urban violence through a quantitative historical project involving Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco.

He received his BA in public policy studies from DePaul University, as well as a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University. Vargas spent two years at Harvard University as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research and was previously on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Notre Dame.

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