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Joseph Richardson Ph.D.

Joseph Richardson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

African American Studies
2169G LeFrak Hall
College Park , Maryland 20742
Office Phone: 301-405-1163


  2. Doctorate of Philosophy in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy.
  3. Dissertation Title: To Resist, Desist or Persist: An Ethnographic Adolescent Life-Course Research Study of Social Capital in Urban Communities, Schools and Families and Its Influence on Serious and Chronic Violent Behavior Among At-Risk African-American Males.
  4. Committee members: Mercer Sullivan (chair); Frank F. Furstenberg (co-chair); Elijah Anderson; Jeffrey Fagan; Ko-Lin Chin; Leslie Kennedy (Dean).
  5. RUTGERS UNIVERSITY-, Newark, NJ (1992).
  6. Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy.
  7. THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, Charlottesville, VA (1990).
  8. Bachelor of Arts in African and African-American Studies.


Recent Accomplishments

Richardson’s research focuses on issues of race and poverty, specifically issues which impact the lives of African-American men. These areas include: poverty, employment, education, violence, the criminal justice system, health and fatherhood. From 1995-2000, while working as an ethnographer at the Vera Institute of Justice, he conducted an ethnographic adolescent life-course study on the social context of adolescent violence in schools and communities located in New York City. He found that changes in the ability to access, acquire, and utilize social capital over the adolescent life-course significantly impacted successful adolescent development among at-risk African-American males. His work has been published in an edited volume of Race and Ethnic Relations (Elsevier Press) and a book chapter in an edited volume on Social Work and Social Welfare Responses to African-American Males published by Oxford University Press. Much of his work examines the heterogeneity of poor African-American families and the role of African-American men within families as both biological and non-biological fathers. He has conducted extensive research on social fathers, often uncles, and their role in the pro-social development of African-American boys. He also has extensive research on the disruptive affects of incarceration on African-American children and families.

Funded Research

Richardson was principal investigator (P.I.) on a grant funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Transitions to Adulthood Research Network. It examined juvenile re-entry in Chicago.

Future Plans

Over the next few years, Richardson’s research agenda will continue to focus on the social, economic, health, cultural and policy issues which have an impact on the lives of African-American men. This research study will include a continuation of his life-course study on the cohort of at-risk African-American male youth he studied in New York City. He will also be initiating a longitudinal ethnographic research study of juvenile re-entry in the Washington, DC/Baltimore metropolitan area examining the social context of juvenile re-entry for African-American male youth.