John M. Eason

Associate Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs
Photo of John Eason

John Major Eason is the Watson Family University Associate Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He received his PhD from the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Professor Eason, a native of Evanston, Illinois also holds a BA in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a MPP from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Before entering graduate school, he was a church-based community organizer focusing on housing and criminal justice issues. He also served as a political organizer for then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama.

Professor Eason's research interests challenge existing models and develop new theories of community, health, race, punishment, and rural/urban processes in several ways. First, by tracing the emergence of the rural ghetto he establishes a new conceptual model of rural neighborhoods. Next, by demonstrating the function of the ghetto in rural communities he extends concentrated disadvantage from urban to rural community process. These relationships are explored through his book, Big House on the Prairie: Rise of the Rural Ghetto and Prison Proliferation, from the University of Chicago Press.

Dr. Eason uses multi-method, multi-level approaches in empirical investigations ranging from imprisonment, prisoner reentry, murder, healthcare access, and health disparities across the rural-urban continuum.

Selected Publications:

Eason, John M. 2017. “Big House on the Prairie: Rise of the Rural Ghetto & Prison Proliferation.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press. SSSP 2017 C. Wright Mills Best Book Award Finalist.

Chloe Haimson, Jessica Simes, John M. Eason, and ^Jienian Zhang. "Mitigating the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration: The Spatial Context of Carceral Churn and HIV/AIDS”, article accepted at Social Science and Medicine.

Marquez, Beatriz Aldana, Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde, John M. Eason, and Linda Aldana. 2021. “Pushing Them to the Edge: Suicide in Immigrant Detention Centers as a Product of Organizational Failure”, Social Science & Medicine 283 (2021): 114177.

Wallace D, Eason JM, Walker J^, Towers S, Grubesic TH, Nelson JR. Is There a Temporal Relationship between COVID-19 Infections among Prison Staff, Incarcerated Persons and the Larger Community in the United States? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jun 26;18(13):6873. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18136873. PMID: 34206845.

Iwama, Janice, Peguero, Anthony A., Miner P. “Trey” Marchbanks III, Eason, John M., Jamalia Blake, and Jienian Zhang^. 2022. Immigration and school threat?: Exploring the significance of the border." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency (2022): 00224278221100124.

Scholarly Interests

Community, Crime, Ethnography, Health Equity, Race, Punishment, and Rural/urban processes

Affiliated Departments

Department of Sociology