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. This summer she will start as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies.

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 based on three years of dissertation fieldwork, preliminary entitled The Urban Homesteaders: Hardship and Privilege in Northwest Detroit. This book will show what happened when white newcomers moved into Brightmoor in Detroit, one of the most depopulated urban neighborhoods in the United States.

Doing so, it offers us new ways to think about place inequality. Urban scholars – from those studying neighborhood effects to gentrification – have usually emphasized inequalities between neighborhoods. However, neighborhoods have also always housed inequalities within. How do inequalities live in the same places? This book will address this question, by showing how historical and current inequalities shaped how residents experienced Brightmoor differently. It theorizes experienced places as underappreciated dimension of the unequal city.

This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, and the Princeton University Program in American Studies. It also received a Princeton Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Honorific Fellowship. Based on previous ethnographic research with dumpster divers (people who eat from the trash as a lifestyle choice), Sharon has 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 sjcc [at]