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Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

John Major Eason is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Professor Eason, a native of Evanston, Illinois recieved a B.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a M.P.P. from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Before entering graduate school, he was a church-based community organizer focusing on housing and criminal justice issues. He also served as a political organizer for then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama.

His research interest challenges existing models and develops new theories of community, health, race, punishment, and rural/urban processes in several ways. First, by tracing the emergence of the rural ghetto he establishes a new conceptual model of rural neighborhoods. Next, by demonstrating the function of the ghetto in rural communities he extends concentrated disadvantage from urban to rural community process. These relationships are explored through his book, Big House on the Prairie: Rise of the Rural Ghetto and Prison Proliferation, at the University of Chicago Press.

Recently, through his collaboration with the National Immigrant Justice Center he is investigating health outcomes in immigrant detention centers. He uses multi-method, multi-level approaches in empirical investigations ranging from imprisonment, prisoner reentry, murder, healthcare access, and health disparities across the rural-urban continuum.


  • 2018–present
    Associate professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 2017–2019
    Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
  • 2013–2017
    Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University
  • 2010–2013
    Assistant Professor, Arizona State University


  • 2008 
    University of Chicago, Sociology


  • 2017
    Big House on the Prairie: Rise of the Rural Ghetto and Prison Proliferation, University of Chicago Press

Professional Memberships

  • American Sociological Association
  • American Society of Criminology