Sharon Cornelissen

Sharon Cornelissen is a Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology at Princeton University, her M.A. in Sociology at the New School for Social Research, and a B.A. in Liberal Arts at University College Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Sharon professional picture

Her research interests include urban sociology, social inequality, race and ethnicity, culture, sociological theory, and qualitative methods.




She is currently working on a book manuscript with as preliminary title Unequal Detroit: Hardship and Privilege in a City after Depopulation. Drawing on three years of ethnographic fieldwork while she lived and became a homeowner in Brightmoor, Detroit, she showed what happened when white newcomers moved next door to black and white Detroiters in one of America’s most depopulated urban neighborhoods.

This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, and Princeton University’s Program in American Studies. It also received a Princeton Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Honorific Fellowship. An article based on this ethnography, entitled “National Politics, Neighborly Politics: How Trump’s Election Impacted a Black and White Detroit Community,” is forthcoming in Sociological Forum (an advance copy is available on request). Based on previous ethnographic research with dumpster divers (people who eat from the trash as a lifestyle choice), Sharon has also published an article in Theory and Society.

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

You can contact her at sharon_cornelissen [at]