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Department of Sociology at Lehman College

Christopher J. Bonastia

BonastiaI joined the Sociology Department at Lehman College in 2004, after spending one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Queens College and two years as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley. I was Associate Director of Honors Programs (Macaulay Honors College and Lehman Scholars Program) from 2009 to Fall 2020, and was the Sociology major advisor from 2007 to Fall 2020, when I became chair of the department.

While at Lehman, I have taught four Sociology courses: SOC 309 (Social Inequality), SOC 327 (American Social Policy Making), SOC 338 (Race & Ethnicity), and a course entitled Beyond the Icons: Local Activism and Resistance in the Struggle for Racial Equality. I have also taught courses at the CUNY Graduate Center and in the Honors Programs at Lehman, including a course on creativity and originality in modern music.

My research focuses on the politics of racial inequality. I have published two books: Knocking on the Door: The Federal Government’s Attempt to Desegregate the Suburbs (Princeton University Press, 2006) and Southern Stalemate: Five Years without Public Education in Prince Edward County, Virginia (University of Chicago Press, 2012). My third book, The Big Failure: The Persistence of School Segregation in New York City, will be published in early 2022 by Stanford University Press. My work has also reached non-academic audiences with published essays in Slate and the Huffington Post. PBS Newshour used Southern Stalemate as its sole source for a widely distributed school handout on the abandonment of public education Prince Edward County, Virginia.

My office is in Carman B64, and the easiest way to get in touch with me is via email at

  • CV (PDF)