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Simone Ispa-Landa

Simone Ispa-Landa

  • Associate Professor, Human Development and Social Policy
  • Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research

Affiliated Center(s)

Institute for Policy Research

Research Interests

Race and ethnicity, gender, sociology of education, sociology of youth and childhood, qualitative research methods.


Simone Ispa-Landa is associate professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University. She also holds the position of associate professor of sociology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and is a faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.

Ispa-Landa’s publications cover topics of race and gender inequality and peer status hierarchies in educational settings. She employs qualitative methods to delve into the issues of isolation, exclusion, and violence in K-12 and higher education environments, exploring students’ and teachers’ lived experiences of social policies and potential avenues for change.

Her recent projects include partnership-oriented, engaged studies that focus on high school discipline and student attendance. Her projects have been funded by the Spencer Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 

Currently, Ispa-Landa is working on a book project that examines accountability policy, race, and gender inequality at a suburban high school. This book is under contract with the University of California Press. She was recently elected incoming chair of the Sociology of Education section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). In addition, she is a contributing member of several editorial boards, including Sociology of EducationGender & Society, and AERA Open.

Awards and Honors

  • 2022 – Mid-career Scholar, William T. Grant Institutional Challenge Grant
  • 2018 – Northwestern University Women’s Center 30th Anniversary Gender Equity in Action Faculty Award
  • 2018 – William T. Grant Scholar
  • 2009 – Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2008 – National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant

Selected Publications

Race, Gender and Social Status Hierarchies

Ispa-Landa, Simone and Sara Thomas (2023) Navigating the Risks of Party Rape in Historically White Greek Life at an Elite College. Sociology of Education. (Download)

Ispa-Landa, Simone and Mariana Oliver (2020). Hybrid Femininities: Making Sense of Sorority Rankings and Reputation.  Gender & Society. (Download)

Ispa-Landa, Simone and Sara Thomas (2019). Race, Gender, and Emotion Work among School Principals.Gender & Society(Download )

Ispa-Landa, Simone (2016). Legitimizing Family Management: The Role of Adolescents’ Understandings of Risk. Journal of Marriage and Family(Download )

Ispa-Landa, Simone and Jordan Conwell (2015). Once You Go to a White School, You Kind of Adapt: Black Adolescents and the Racial Classification of Schools. Sociology of Education: 1-19. (Download )

Ispa-Landa, Simone (2013). Gender, Race, and Justifications for Group Exclusion: Urban Black Students Bussed to Affluent Suburban Schools. Sociology of Education: 218-233.

Discipline and Stigma

Ispa-Landa, Simone (2019). Believing in a Positive Future as a Form of Stigma Resistance: Narratives of Denied Expungement-Seekers. Deviant Behavior: 1-17(Download)

Ispa-Landa, Simone (2018). Persistently Harsh Punishments Amid Efforts to Reform: Using Tools From Social Psychology to Counteract Racial Bias in School Disciplinary Decisions. Educational Researcher: 1-7. (Download)

Ispa-Landa, Simone (2017). Racial and Gender Inequality and School Discipline: Towards a More Comprehensive View of School Policy. Social Currents: 1-7(Download)

Ispa-Landa, Simone and Charles Loeffler (2016). Indefinite Punishment and the Criminal-Record: Stigma Reports among Expungement-seekers in Illinois. Criminology(Download)