Simone Ispa-Landa

Simone Ispa-Landa

Assistant Professor, Human Development and Social Policy


Simone Ispa-Landa is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education & Social Policy and (by courtesy) Sociology at Northwestern University. She is a Fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR). She is a William T. Grant Scholar (2018-2023) and was a Spencer Dissertation Fellow (2009-2010).

Ispa-Landa’s scholarship concerns the sociology of education, race and gender, and punishment and stigma. Her work advances theoretical models about how race, gender, and inequality are linked within schooling and criminal justice contexts. She is interested in understanding how individuals and groups respond to stigma and discrimination, maintain the meaning systems that support it, and seek to overcome its negative consequences.

Ispa-Landa sits on the Editorial Boards of Sociology of Education (2016-2018) and Gender & Society (2017-2022).

Ispa-Landa’s research has been published in Sociology of Education, Journal of Marriage and Family, Criminology, and Educational Researcher. Her most influential papers are “Gender, Race, and Justifications for Group Exclusion: Urban Black Students Bussed to Affluent Suburban Schools” published in Sociology of Education and reprinted in The Structure of Schooling: Readings in the Sociology of Education and Gendered Lives, Sexual Lives: A Feminist Anthology; “Indefinite Punishment and the Criminal Record: Stigma Reports among Expungement-Seekers in Illinois,” co-authored with Charles Loeffler and published in Criminology; and “Once You Go to a White School, You Kind of Adapt”: Black Adolescents and the Racial Classification of Schools,” published in Sociology of Education and co-authored with Jordan Conwell.

Ispa-Landa’s efforts and commitment to gender equity and improving the lives of women were recognized by a Northwestern Women’s Center 30th Anniversary “Gender Equity in Action” Faculty Award.

Ispa-Landa has an M.A. in Regional Studies (Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia) and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University.


Curriculum Vitae

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  • 2018 - Northwestern University Women's Center 30th Anniversary Gender Equity in Action Faculty Award
  • 2018 - William T. Grant Scholar
  • 2009 - Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2008 - National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant


Selected Publications

Ispa-Landa, Simone (June, 2018). Persistently Harsh Punishments Amid Efforts to Reform: Using Tools From Social Psychology to Counteract Racial Bias in School Disciplinary Decisions. Educational Researcher: 1-7.
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Ispa-Landa, Simone (2018). Believing in a Positive Future as a Form of Stigma Resistance: Narratives of Denied Expungement-Seekers. Deviant Behavior: In press.

Ispa-Landa, Simone and Sara Thomas (2018). The Emotional Context of the Principal Role: Race, Gender, and Emotion Work among School Principals. Gender & Society: In press..

Ispa-Landa, Simone (April, 2017). Racial and Gender Inequality and School Discipline: Towards a More Comprehensive View of School Policy. Social Currents: 1-7.
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Ispa-Landa, Simone (January, 2016). Legitimizing Family Management: The Role of Adolescents' Understandings of Risk. Journal of Marriage and Family.
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Ispa-Landa, Simone and Charles Loeffler (2016). Indefinite Punishment and the Criminal-Record: Stigma Reports among Expungement-seekers in Illinois. Criminology.
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Ispa-Landa, Simone and Jordan Conwell (January, 2015). Once You Go to a White School, You Kind of Adapt: Black Adolescents and the Racial Classification of Schools. Sociology of Education: 1-19.
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Ispa-Landa, Simone. (2015). Review of Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, And Suburban Schooling . American Journal of Sociology: 121(1): 292-294.

Ispa-Landa, Simone (2015). Effects of Affluent Suburban Schooling: Learning Skilled Ways of Interacting with Educational Gatekeepers in Orlando Patterson and Ethan Fosse, The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth (pp. 393-414). Harvard University Press.

Ispa-Landa, Simone (2013). Gender, Race, and Justifications for Group Exclusion: Urban Black Students Bussed to Affluent Suburban Schools. Sociology of Education: 218-233.
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Research Interests

Race and ethnicity, gender, sociology of education, criminal records, sociology of youth and childhood, stigma, qualitative research methods.



HDSP 432

Field Methods This course is designed to introduce students to qualitative research, including field work, interviewing, and document analysis. Students will explore qualitative research approaches by undertaking their own research study as well as reading and discussing relevant writing on the subject.


Topics (21): Field Methods

SESP 372

Methods of Observing Human Behavior

SESP 388

Practicum in Human Development: Social Policy


Editorial Boards

Year Journal Name Position
2017 - 2023 Gender & Society Editorial Board Member
2016 - 2018 Sociology of Education Editorial Board Member

Last Updated: 2018-09-20 06:29:14