Sharon Cornelissen

IMG_9979Sharon Cornelissen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. She received her Master in Sociology at the New School for Social Research, and a Bachelor in Liberal Arts at University College Utrecht, in the Netherlands.

Her research interests include ethnography, urban sociology, social inequality, race and ethnicity, the sociology of culture, and sociological theory.

In her dissertation she draws on three years of ethnographic fieldwork while she lived in a depopulated black neighborhood in Northwest Detroit. Half the land was empty here, and every third house stood abandoned. Residents saw deer as often as they heard gunshots. Yet, while hundreds of vacant bungalows lined the streets, wildflower fields and vegetable gardens flourished. In the last decade new white urban farmers had moved in next door to black and white Detroiters. She is looking how historical and present inequalities shaped how residents unequally experienced Northwest. Her work foregrounds experienced places as underappreciated dimension of the unequal city.

Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, and the Princeton University Program in American Studies. She also received a Princeton Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Honorific Fellowship. She has published an article in Theory and Society based on previous ethnographic research with dumpster divers in New York City.

Cornelissen is a first-generation college student, and is originally from Dongen, a town in the south of the Netherlands.

You can contact her at sjcc [at]