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Robin Stryker

Robin Stryker

Distinguished Professor // Sociology

Research focus:
Law & Society

Curriculum vitae

Office and Contact

Room: BRNG 1148


Phone: (765) 496-6336

Stryker received her BA summa cum laude, with highest honors in Sociology, from Smith College, and her MS and PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her legal training at Yale Law School and the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University.



Stryker's specialty areas include Law and Society/Sociology of Law, Political Sociology and Public Policy, Organizations and Institutions, Inequality: Race, Class and Gender, Economy and Society, Theory, Methods, the Social Psychology of Identity, and Democracy and Political Culture.

Robin Stryker joined the Purdue faculty in 2018 from the University of Arizona, where for ten years she was professor of sociology, affiliated professor of law and affiliated professor of political science and public policy. She received training in law at Yale Law School and the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University. From 2011-16, she was Research Director of the University of Arizona’s National Institute for Civil Discourse. Prior to joining the University of Arizona, she was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota (2000-08) and University of Iowa (1986-2000). She has been a visiting professor at EHESS and Sciences-Po, LIEPP, both in Paris.

Stryker’s scholarship spans multiple disciplines, including sociology, law, political science, communication and history. Among her research foci are law, politics and inequality, organizational and institutional change, political and legal legitimacy, the comparative welfare state and social policy, discrimination, civil and social rights, sociological theory and methods, the social psychology of identity, and incivility, politics and the media. She has written extensively on the politics of social and behavioral science in US regulatory law, including labor law, antitrust law, and the law of employment discrimination and affirmative action. She publishes regularly in such journals as the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, Sociological Methods and Research, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Research in Stratification and Social Mobility, Law & Social Inquiry, the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Social Politics, Politics & Society, and Communication Monographs. With LaDawn Haglund, she recently co-edited Closing the Rights Gap: From Human Rights to Social Transformation (University of California Press, 2015).

Stryker has received numerous research grants, fellowships and awards for scholarship and teaching. She received multiple undergraduate teaching awards from the University of Iowa, where she taught the introductory sociology course and undergraduate courses inequality/social stratification. She received a faculty mentoring award for her work with graduate students at the University of Minnesota, where she served as Associate Chair and taught graduate courses in the sociology of law, the comparative welfare state and social policy, and sociological theory. At the University of Arizona, Stryker served multiple terms as Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Sociology, and developed a graduate-level professional socialization curriculum. She also developed a seminar in law, politics and inequality taught within the Rogers College of Law as well as the School of Sociology. In 2014, she received the university-wide Graduate and Professional Teaching and Mentoring Award.

In 2001-02, Stryker was a Jean Monnet Fellow at the Robert Schuman Center of the European University Institute, in Florence, Italy. In 2008, she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and in 2016-17, she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. At the University of Arizona, she was Earl H. Carroll Magellan Fellow in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (2011). At the University of Minnesota, she was Scholar of the College of Liberal Arts (2004-2007), and at the University of Iowa, she was a University Faculty Scholar (1993-1996).

She has been a member of numerous editorial and advisory boards. She is a past president of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (2000-01), a past chair of three sections of the American Sociological Association (Political Sociology, in 2011-12, Theory, in 2005-06, and Sociology of Law, in 1999-2000), and has served as an elected council member for the American Sociological Association (2007-2010), during which time she chaired the Council’s Subcommittee on the Production and Uses of Social Science Data. She has served in numerous other elected and appointed positions within the ASA and its various sections. Stryker also has served a member of the National Science Foundation’s Law and Social Science Review Panel (2008-10). From 2015-17, she was a member of the National Resource Council’s Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Science.

In 2018, with her co-author and former student Nicholas Pedriana, Stryker received the Distinguished Article Award from the Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association and the Best Scholarly Article Award from the ASA’s Human Rights Section for her article “From Legal Doctrine to Social Transformation? Comparing US Voting Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity and Fair Housing Legislation” (American Journal of Sociology, 2017). Also with co-author Pedriana, she received the 2005 Distinguished Article Award from the ASA’s Sociology of Law’s Section, as well as the 2005 Honorable Mention for Distinguished Article Award from the ASA’s Political Sociology Section for her article “The Strength of a Weak Agency: Title VII of the1964 Civil Rights Act and the Expansion of State Capacity, 1965-71” (American Journal of Sociology, 2004). She and Pedriana received the 1997 Founder’s Prize from the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics for their article “Political Culture Wars 1960s Style: Equal Employment Opportunity-Affirmative Action and the Philadelphia Plan (American Journal of Sociology, 1997). Stryker received the1997 Barrington Moore Award for Best Article in Comparative and Historical Sociology from the ASA’s Comparative and Historical Sociology Section for her article “Beyond History vs. Theory: Strategic Narrative and Sociological Explanation” (Sociological Methods and Research, 1996). In 2014, with then graduate students Bethany Conway and J. Taylor Danielson, she received a Top Paper Award from the Political Communication Section of the National Communication Association. This paper became their 2016 article, “What is Political Incivility? (Communication Monographs).

Stryker enjoys traveling (and teaching) across Europe, especially in Italy and France. But she was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana and is delighted to have returned to the state. Despite her great affection for Indiana University, where her father Sheldon Stryker taught for over 60 years, she is now becoming an enthusiastic Boilermaker!