American Sociological Association

Resources on Race, Police Violence, and Justice

June 24, 2020

Protests against police violence and the systemic racism underlying it are underway across the country.  Sociologists have much to contribute to understanding and addressing these cultural and structural problems. ASA has developed a compilation of resources that can be used for research, teaching, and other outreach activities. Additional resources will be added to this page over time.


ASA Condemns Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System: On June 1, ASA issued a statement which begins: "The ASA shares in the public outrage over the police killing of George Floyd and numerous other Black and brown people at the hands of racist cops. We wish to acknowledge and condemn the systemic racism in society and the criminal justice system. Indeed, the death of Floyd is but the most recent in a sordid history of violence against Black people in America."  Read the full statement.   

ASA Media Advisory: ASA put together a media list for journalists interested in interviewing sociologists who have expertise on police brutality and racial inquality. Read the media advisory.

Special Issue of ASA's Newsletter Footnotes on Race, Police Violence, and Justice
This special issue, which is publicly available, features nine articles by sociologists that are focused on this theme. ASA President Aldon Morris wrote the cover article, "Sociological Promise in an Age of Crisis."

Sociologists in the News: News outlets are turning to sociologists to better understand a host of topics related to current events. Read the articles that quote or are authored by sociologists and add your own.

Ethics of working with students and Black Lives Matter: ASA has issued guidance for faculty who involve their students in potentially risky research on the protests. Read the statement.


Racial Justice, Policing, and Abolition Movements: A Webinar from ASA's Crime, Law, and Deviance Section

Promoting research and policy recommendations in response to the latest developments in the fight for racial and social justice and police brutality, this group of scholars will discuss their latest findings and insights drawn from national movements calling for police reform, accountability, abolition and defunding police. Panelists include: Nikki Jones, professor of African American Studies at the University of California Berkeley; Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, associate professor of Sociology, Brown University; Cid Martinez, associate professor of Sociology, University of San Diego; and Rashawn Ray, professor of Sociology, University of Maryland.

The webinar was held on January 15, 2021; you can view the recording here.

Teaching About, Responding to, and Preventing Racism in the Criminal Justice System: What Role Can Sociology Play?  

In colleges and universities across the United States, sociology and criminology are often co-located in multidisciplinary departments; single-discipline sociology departments frequently have strong crime, law, and deviance concentrations; and careers in the criminal justice system are routinely listed as an option for sociology majors. Even when they are separate from sociology, criminal justice and criminology departments often employ sociologists. This arrangement is not surprising given modern criminology's origins in sociology, which first provided data to support the view that the causes of crime were not based in individuals but rather in the social structures and cultures that surrounded them.

Given these realities, what is the role of sociology and sociologists in addressing systemic racism in law enforcement and the broader criminal justice system?  ASA invites anyone interested in these issues to view this webinar on how to teach about race and racism in the criminal justice system. The discussion was led by Kimberly Cook, past member of the ASA Task Force on Sociology, Criminology and Criminal Justice and professor of Sociology and Criminology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; Bryan Sykes, associate professor of Criminology, Law and Society (and, by courtesy, Sociology and Public Health) at the University of California, Irvine; and  Sheri-Lynn Kurisu, assistant professor of Sociology and Criminology & Justice Studies at California State University, San Marcos.

This webinar was held on July 8, 2020: you can view the recording here.  


Teaching Sociology Collection: An open-access collection of articles from ASA's journal, Teaching Sociology, related to race and ethnicity as well as other topics arising during these challenging times. Access the collection here.

TRAILS:  ASA's online peer-reviewed library of high-quality teaching resources includes syllabi, class activities, assignments, lectures, and more. During these unprecedented times, ASA has temporarily made this members-only resource free to everyone. Below you will find a concise collection of TRAILS resources that you may find useful in teaching about race, police violence, and justice. You may log in to TRAILS using your ASA usersname and password, regardless of your membership status.  If you do not have an ASA username and password, you can create one here.

Online Sociological Content for Your Courses


Open Access Collection on Social Structure and Police Violence: ASA's journal publisher, SAGE, has created a collection of freely accessible social science articles, including more than a dozen from sociology, on structural racism and police violence.  Access the collection

"What's Next: Policing in Crisis" video discussion: Victor Rios, Professor of Sociology at University of California-Santa Barbara joins other scholars in this recorded event organized by the National Institute of Social Sciences.

"Police Tactics Matter" Podcast: Several sociologists were interviewed in mid-October 2017 about police tactics and the contours of contemporary activism. Listen to the discussion, which was broadcast live on Washington, DC's WPFW radio station.

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