John B. Diamond

John B. Diamond

Research Interests

Race, Class, Sociology of Education, Inequality, Organizations, Social Policy


John B. Diamond is Professor of Sociology and Education Policy in Brown’s Department of Sociology and Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Before coming to Brown, he was the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education and Professor of Education at Wisconsin – Madison. A sociologist of race and education, he studies the relationship between social inequality and educational opportunity, examining how educational leadership, policies, and practices operate through school organizations to shape students’ educational opportunities and outcomes.

Despite the Best Intentions: How Inequality Thrives in Good Schools, his award-winning book with Amanda Lewis, examines how racial inequality thrives in racially diverse suburban schools. The book won the Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems Division of Racial and Ethnic Minorities. In earlier work, Diamond helped develop the distributed perspective on school leadership and management and published Distributed Leadership in Practice (co-edited with James Spillane). He continues to work on issues of leadership, organizations, and organizational change. With colleagues from UW-Madison and other institutions, he was recently awarded an $8.1 million grant from the Wallace Foundation to study the development and implementation of equity-centered principal pipelines in several school districts across the United States.   

An engaged scholar, Diamond has helped create space for such work in sociology and education. He is an Advisory Board Member of the American Sociological Association’s Sociology Action Network and a National Planning Team Member of the Urban Research Action Network (URBAN). With URBAN colleagues, he co-edited a special issue of Urban Education on community-engaged scholarship. Before joining the Brown faculty, Diamond was the UW-Madison Faculty Lead for Forward Madison (a collaborative partnership between UW and the Madison Metropolitan School District), a Senior Research Specialist at the Center for Policy Research in Education, and an Advisory Board Member of the Madison Education Partnership. Numerous media outlets have highlighted his work, including CNN, New York Times, Boston Globe, C-SPAN, Education Week, Bloomberg Business News, Crain’s Chicago Business, and several public radio and television stations.

Diamond has published articles in leading journals, including Sociology of Education, Social Forces, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Educational Researcher, Teachers College Record, and Urban Education, among others. In addition to a second edition of Despite the Best Intentions, Diamond is writing a new book, Defending the Color Line: The Durability of Whiteness and the Denial of Black Education, which is under contract with Harvard Education Press. Diamond currently co-edits Sociology of Education (with Odis Johnson Jr).

He received his BA in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University.