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Robert J. DuránRobert J. Durán

Associate Professor
Ph.D. 2006 University of Colorado

University of Tennessee
McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0490

Curriculum Vitae

Interest Areas

Urban Ethnography, Racial and Ethnic Inequality, Social Control, Gangs, Officer-Involved Shootings, Public Health

Dr. Durán has been at the University of Tennessee since 2014. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Colorado in 2006 and previously taught at New Mexico State University. His research focuses upon four areas: 1) youth gangs; 2) officer involved shootings; 3) disproportionate minority contact for juveniles; and 4) neighborhood segregation shaped by racial and ethnic inequalities. As a criminologist and urban ethnographer, I have concentrated my research on institutions of social control in Mexican American barrios of the Southwest and individual and group efforts to resist this unequal treatment. My overall devotion to my academic career is towards bringing empowerment to marginalized communities by using research to change policies and institutional practices.


  • Applied Research: Gangs
  • Criminology
  • Juvenile Delinquency and Social Policy
  • Race, Ethnicity, Crime and Justice


  • Foundations of Criminology


  • Durán, Robert J. The Gang Paradox: Inequality and Miracles on the U.S.-Mexico Border. New York: Columbia University Press. Advance contract.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2013. Gang Life in Two Cities: An Insider’s Journey. New York: Columbia University Press.


  • Durán, Robert J. 2017. “Racial and Ethnic Inequality in the Criminal Justice System.” ACJS Today 42 (1).
  • Durán, Robert J. and Oralia Loza. 2017. “Exploring the Two Trigger Fingers Thesis: Racial and Ethnic Differences in Officer Involved Shootings.” Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice. Under contract. 
  • Durán, Robert J. 2016. “No Justice, No Peace: Examining Controversial Officer Involved Shootings.” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 13, no. 1: 61-83.
  • Durán, Robert J. and Carlos E. Posadas. 2016. “The Policing of Youth on the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Law Enforcement Perception of Leniency.” Race and Justice: An International Journal 6, no. 1: 57-83.
  • Durán, Robert J. and Carlos E. Posadas. 2013. “Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Land of Enchantment: Juvenile Justice Disparities as a Reflection of White-over-Color Ascendancy.” Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice 11, no. 1-2: 93-111.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2011. “Gang Organization: Slangin,’ Gang Bangin,’ and Dividin’ a Generation.”Latino Studies 8, no. 3: 373-398.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2009. “The Core Ideals of the Mexican American Gang: Living the Presentation of Defiance.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 34, no. 2:99-134.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2009. “Legitimated Oppression: Inner-city Mexican American Experiences with Police Gang Enforcement.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 38, no. 2: 143-168.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2009. “Over-Inclusive Gang Enforcement and Urban Resistance: A Comparison between Two Cities.” Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict and World Order 36, no. 1: 82-101.

Book Chapters

  • Durán, Robert J. 2016. “Legitimated Suppression: Inner-City Mexican-Americans and the Police.” Pp. 192-205 in Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context, and Interaction, edited by Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler. Belmont, CA: Cengage Wadsworth. Eighth Edition.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2015. “Mexican American Law Enforcement Officers: Comparing the Creation of Change versus the Reinforcement of Structural Hierarchies.” Pp. 129-147 in Latino Police Officers in the United States: An Examination of Emerging Trends and Issues, edited by Martin G. Urbina and Sofia Espinoza Álvarez. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2014. “Borders, Immigration and Citizenship: The Latino Experience with Gringo Justice.” Pp. 59-80 in Twenty-First Century Dynamics of Multiculturalism: Beyond Post-Racial America, edited by Martin G. Urbina. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2012. “Policing the Barrios: Exposing the Shadows to the Brightness of a New Day.” Pp. 42-62 in Hispanics in the US Criminal Justice System: The New American Demography, edited by Martin G. Urbina. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2012. “Urban Youth Encounters with Legitimately Oppressive Gang Enforcement.” Pp. 97-111 in Voices from Criminal Justice: Thinking and Reflecting on the System, edited by Heith Copes and Mark Pogrebin. New York: Routledge.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2011. “An Attempt to Change Disproportionate Minority Contact by Working in Youth Corrections.” Pp. 149-164 in Experiencing Corrections: Lessons from the Field, edited by Mike Johnson. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
  • Durán, Robert J. 2011. “Racism, Resistance, and Repression: The Creation of Denver Gangs, 1924-1950.” Pp. 121-138 in Enduring Legacies: Ethnic Histories and Cultures of Colorado, edited by Arturo Aldama, Reiland Rabaka, Daryl Maeda, and Elisa Facio. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.

Major Forthcoming Articles and Books

  • Durán, Robert J. “Latinos and the Police: A Critical Analysis of Officer Involved Shootings.” Aztlán Dossier on Latinos and the Law, Edited by Alfredo Mirandé.
  • Durán, Robert J. and Oralia Loza. “Three Decades of Legalized Violence: Law Enforcement Shootings in Denver, Colorado from 1983 to 2013.”
  • Urbina, Martín Guevara, Robert J. Durán, Vera Lopez, and Edwardo L. Portillos. “Making Sense of the American Juvenile Justice System: Race, Ethnicity, and Social Control.” Book Proposal.
  • Durán, Robert J. “Ethnographic Reflexivity: The Contribution of Comparison and Ethical Issues of Social Justice.”

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