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Assistant Professor of Sociology, Tulane University

PhD, Sociology, Northwestern University, 2018
Urban sociology, environmental justice, legal studies, occupations and organizations, housing, cultural sociology, inequality, race and gender, mixed methods.

I study housing, with a focus on its physical and environmental aspects.

In my book, Stacked Decks, I show how building code inspectors in Chicago assess built environments to make inferences about their inhabitants. These assessments often cause them to act in unexpected ways, by protecting some of the city’s most precarious residents. The fact that urban inequality prevails in spite of these actions reveals the contours of persistent inequality.

As a 2021-22 American Bar Foundation/ JPB Foundation Access to Justice Faculty Scholar, I am currently collecting data for my next book, which investigates how cities plan for aging housing stock and environmental risks. I am particularly interested in racialized and gendered articulations of responsibility for damage, repair, maintenance, and depreciation.

Selected Publications
Robin Bartram. 2022. Stacked Decks: Building Inspectors and the Reproduction of Urban Inequality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Robin Bartram. 2021. “Cracks in broken windows: How objects shape professional evaluation” American Journal of Sociology. 126(4): 759–794.

Winner, ASA Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section Article Award, 2022
Honorable Mention, ASA Sociology of Law Section article award, 2022
Honorable Mention, ASA Community and Urban Sociology Section Jane Addams article award, 2022
Robin Bartram* Japonica Brown-Saracino* and Holly Donovan. 2021. "Uncertain Sexualities and the Unusual Woman: Museum Depictions of Jane Addams and Emily Dickinson.” Social Problems. 68 (1): 168–184. * = equal authors

Robin Bartram. 2020. “The Infidelity of Place: Medical Simulation Labs and Disjunctures in Pedagogical Places.” Sociology of Health and Illness. 42(2): 293-306

Robin Bartram. 2019. “The cost of code violations: How building codes shape residential sales prices and rents.” Housing Policy Debate. 29(6): 931-946

Robin Bartram. 2019. “Going Easy and Going After: Building Inspections and the Selective Allocation of Code Violations.” City and Community 18(2): 594-617.

Robin Bartram. 2018. “Emplacing Risks in the City: Class, Politics, Risk and the Built Environment of Women’s Residential Clubs, 1896-1917.” The Journal of Urban History 44(2): 219–238.

Robin Bartram. 2017. “Housing Historic Role Models and the American Dream: Domestic Rhetoric and Institutional Decision-Making at the Tenement Museum.” Qualitative Sociology 40(1):1-22.

Robin Bartram. 2016. “Housing and Social and Material Vulnerabilities." Housing, Theory and Society 33(4): 469-483.


  • –present
    Assistant Professor of Sociology, Tulane University


  • 2018 
    Northwestern University, PhD Sociology