Projects Housed at SSRC

Open-concept research bullpens, active collaboration rooms, and team spaces create a fertile intellectual environment to stimulate methodological innovation and program growth. Technologies for e-collaboration allow UChicago scholars to engage research leaders from around the world. Already more common in the biological and physical sciences, this sort of “laboratory” organization of research space creates new opportunities to bring together multi-generational research teams—student assistants, postdoctoral researchers, junior faculty, and senior scientists—to strengthen the research enterprise, establish the next generation of research leaders, and become a global destination for a distinctly Chicago style of social research.

The Culture and Action Network concentrates on new methods of the analysis of the relation between shared cognitive patterns (i.e., “culture”) and patterns of action, both in areas of cultural production (e.g., music, cuisine) and in other social arenas (most importantly, politics).

Led by John Levi Martin, Florence Borchert Bartling Professor, Sociology

A faculty project in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago, the Ethnography Incubator brings together researchers who draw on ethnographic methods to address social inequalities. The mandate of the Incubator is to advance the field of ethnographic methodologies, provide hands-on mentorship to graduate student fellows, and build an interdisciplinary community of ethnographers. Each year, the Incubator hosts a two-day workshop that brings experts in the field to campus to engage with the work of six graduate student fellows selected through a national competition.

Faculty contact: Kristen Schilt, Associate Professor, Sociology


The GenForward Survey is the first of its kind—a nationally representative survey of over 1750 young adults ages 18–34. Launched in June 2016, the survey is conducted bi-monthly and pays special attention to how race and ethnicity shape how respondents experience and think about the world.

Led by Cathy Cohen, David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor and Chair, Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity (RDI)


Politics, History, and Society brings together advanced graduate students to work on dissertations that have developed through ongoing conversations in the PHS workshop.

For a number of years, the Politics, History, and Society workshop has supported the work of graduate students and faculty interested in historical change and methods of archival, ethnographic, and comparative research.

Led by Elisabeth Clemens, William Rainey Harper Distinguished Service Professor, Sociology

Space for demography-focused doctoral students and postdoc to advance their work. Projects have included mechanisms and consequences of wealth inequality within the informal market in sub-Saharan Africa in light of rapid educational expansion, statistical construction of religious categories in Turkey, and patterns of child mortality within marriages in rural Africa.

Led by Jenny Trinitapoli, Professor, Sociology

The Race and Capitalism Project is a multi-institution collaboration that seeks to reinvigorate, strengthen and deepen scholarship on how processes of racialization within the U.S. shaped capitalist society and economy and how capitalism has simultaneously shaped processes of racialization. \Key goals include increasing collaboration between scholars across disciplines; advancing the state of scholarship on race and capitalism; and where appropriate highlighting key findings from the project for use in public discourse.  

Led by Michael Dawson, John D. MacArthur Professor, Political Science and Megan Ming Francis, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Washington

The Trauma-Responsive Educational Practices (TREP) Project was launched in 2016 with a policy brief on the educational consequences of the chronic toxic stress of living in high crime communities. The TREP Project works to develop the individual and organizational capacity of educators and schools serving children growing up in neighborhoods that have high levels of toxic stress, such as violent crime, concentrated poverty, concentrated foster care involvement, and housing instability.

Led by Micere Keels, Professor, Comparative Human Development

The Urban Resiliency Initiative (URI) represents a multi-pronged research and programming agenda that aims to promote youth well-being and community resiliency by respecting and acknowledging the humanity and unavoidable vulnerability of all. URI operates two principal lanes of impact, which are designed to enhance students’ STEM learning while, in parallel, fostering improved relationships with teachers and community members with the ultimate aim of unleashing resiliency in urban communities.

Led by Margaret Beale Spencer, Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Comparative Human Development