Waverly Duck, PhD


2619 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
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Waverly Duck is an urban sociologist and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of No Way Out: Precarious Living in the Shadow of Poverty and Drug Dealing (University of Chicago Press 2015), which was a finalist for the American Sociological Association’s 2016 C. Wright Mills Book Award. His research examines the social orders of poor Black neighborhoods, as well as manifestations of race and gender among the upwardly mobile, using ethnographic and ethnomethodological approaches that focus on how meanings are created and sustained in contexts of inequality (interactional, neighborhood, and organizational). His research extends further into a broad range of topics, including the social organization of communication in settings troubled by autism, welfare reform, and gender disparities.

After receiving his Ph.D. in sociology from Wayne State University in 2005, Professor Duck was a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Following this, he held a three-year post-doctoral appointment at Yale University before joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. Professor Duck also served as Associate Director of the Yale Urban Ethnography Project, where he is currently a Senior Fellow. From 2013 to 2014, he was a visiting professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he conducted research at the Waisman Center, a research clinic dedicated to examining childhood psychopathology. He teaches on a wide number of topics, including urban sociology, inequality (race, class, gender, health, and age), qualitative methods, culture, communication, ethnomethodology, and ethnography, and is a two-time winner of the University of Pittsburgh Student Choice Teaching Award. Professor Duck was recently a CAUSE Fellow/Visiting Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for African American Urban Studies & the Economy, and is currently the Director of Urban Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. His upcoming academic appointments include Visiting Distinguished Professorship at the University of Trento-Italy (December 2018) and Davis Family Distinguished Visiting Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University (Spring 2020). His new book on unconscious racism, A Nation Divided, co-authored with Anne Rawls, is under contract with the University of Chicago Press.

Fields of Interest

  • Urban Ethnography
  • Deviance
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Gender
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Inequality/Stratification
  • Ethnomethodology


  • PhD, Wayne State University, 2005

2015, No Way Out: Precarious Living in the Shadow of Poverty and Drug Dealing. University of Chicago Press

  • Social Change
  • Social Theory
  • Urban Sociology
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Race and the City