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Michael Leo Owens

Associate Professor of Political Science, Emory University

I'm a scholar of politics and punishment, urban and metropolitan politics, racial politics, and social welfare policy at Emory. Also, I was a 2012-2014 Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellow, sponsored by Emory University and The OpEd Project. The New York Times, the Guardian (UK), Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and others have published my Op-Eds and National Public Radio, for example, has broadcast my opinions and analysis.

The bulk of my research examines the receipt of “good” things by “bad” people and places through politics. The author of God & Government in the Ghetto: The Politics of Church-State Collaboration in Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2007), my current book project is Prisoners of Democracy, a study of the challenges and prospects of ex-felons for reclaiming their full democratic citizenship in the United States.

I'm the former chair of the governing board (i.e., president) of the Urban Affairs Association and a member of the board of directors of Prison Policy Initiative.


  • –present
    Professor of Political Science, Emory University


  • 2001 
    University at Albany, State University of New York, Ph.D./Political Science


2012-2014 Public Voices Fellow with the Op-Ed Project and Emory University