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Sean J. Drake

Sean J. Drake

Contact Information:


426 Eggers Hall

Office Hours:

By Appointment

Sean J. Drake

Assistant Professor, Sociology Department

Senior Research Associate, Center for Policy Research


Fall 2022

SOC 248.002 Racial and Ethnic Inequalities, Monday and Wednesday, 2:15 PM - 3:35 PM, Eggers 018

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 2017


Sean J. Drake is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and a senior research associate in the Center for Policy Research. He is also a faculty affiliate in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Professor Drake’s research focuses on institutional mechanisms of segregation and inequality that disproportionately affect students and families of color. His first book, "Academic Apartheid: Race and the Criminalization of Failure in an American Suburb" (University of California Press, 2022), is a study of school segregation based on over two years of observation and dozens of interviews in an affluent, suburban district. Professor Drake’s work has been published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Urban Education, the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, and several edited volumes. His research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, and he is a fellow of the Yale Urban Ethnography Project and the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Professor Drake teaches courses on race and ethnicity, educational inequality, and ethnographic research methods. He is currently working on an ethnographic study of students and families experiencing homelessness in Central New York and New York City. Prior to joining the Maxwell School, Professor Drake was a member of the faculty at NYU Steinhardt, where he held successive appointments as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019) and a visiting assistant professor (2019-2021).  Professor Drake earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Irvine, and a B.A. (with honors) in psychology from Stanford University.


Ethnographic methods

Research Interests

Race and ethnicity, schools and education, childhood poverty and homelessness, children of immigrants

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Diversity Scholar, National Center for Institutional Diversity. 2017

Dissertation Fellow, Ford Foundation. 2016

Junior Fellow, Yale Urban Ethnography Project. 2014