Katherine S. Newman

James B. Knapp Dean, Johns Hopkins University

Affiliated Faculty

 Curriculum Vitae




Katherine Newman started her teaching career in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Ph.D. program in the School of Law at UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall), where she offered courses in the comparative study of dispute resolution, law and development, and the application of social science research methods to the study of juries. Her first book, Law and Economic Organization, was a theoretical treatment of the dozens of ethnographic works on the social organization of legal systems in pre-industrial societies.

Since those early (practically prehistorical?) years, she has focused most of her research attention on more sociological questions of mobility and poverty. However, in 2000, she was approached by the National Academy of Sciences to participate in a project on rampage shootings on high school campuses which peaked with the notorious massacre at Columbine High School. This project plunged Newman and her four doctoral students (at Harvard) into the world of criminal behavior, juvenile justice, and the complicated dynamics of schools and neighborhoods that seemed unable to grasp the impending crisis, despite ample warnings that something terrible was on the way. Their research culminated in the publication of Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings.

More recently, Newman has been collaborating with a team of scholars in India on issues of labor market discrimination against Dalits (untouchables, who constitute 20% of the population) and the real impact of legal remedies that have been in effect since the passage of the Indian constitution in 1947. Using audit experiments, econometric studies of wage penalties, studies of employer attitudes and prospective studies of cohorts of highly skilled graduates of Indian universities, Newman and her collaborators hope to be able to describe more accurately the barriers that low caste Hindus and Muslims face, especially in the fast growing formal sector of India's economy.

In July of 2007, Newman will become the director of Princeton's Institute for International and Regional Studies. She hopes to collaborate with the Woodrow Wilson School and LAPA in focusing scholarly attention on questions of international law.