Research & Biography

Reuben Jonathan Miller is an Assistant Professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA). His research examines life at the intersections of race, poverty, crime control, and social welfare policy. He is completing a book, titled Halfway Home, based on 15 years of research and practice with currently and formerly incarcerated men, women, their families, partners, and friends.

Miller has conducted fieldwork in Chicago, Detroit, and New York City, examining how law, policy and emergent practices of state and third-party supervision changed the contours of citizenship, activism, community, and family life for poor black Americans and the urban poor more broadly. To capture the effects of crime control on social life in global cities with different public policies, Miller conducts ongoing fieldwork in Glasgow, Belgrade, and Malmo. He is launching a comparative study of punishment and social welfare policy in the port cities that were most involved in the transatlantic slave trade. This project, titled “On the Tracks of Empire” takes place in the archives, courtrooms, prisons, halfway houses and homes of prisoners and former prisoners in cities along the trade route from Dakar to New Orleans and from Bristol to Baltimore.

Prior to joining SSA, Miller was an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan where he served as a Faculty Associate in the Population Studies Center and a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Afro American and African Studies. He was selected as a 2016 Member in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, the world’s leading center for curiosity driven research. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals across a range of fields and is frequently called upon to give commentary on issues of crime, punishment, race and poverty.

A native son of Chicago’s Southside, Miller received his Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago, an AM from the University of Chicago (SSA 2007), and a BA from Chicago State University.