Ranita Ray, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology


I joined the UNLV faculty in 2013 after completing my doctoral studies at the University of Connecticut in the same year. I am an ethnographer and my research focuses on various aspects of poverty, race and class, educational inequalities, culture, marginalized youth, and service industry. I teach undergraduate and graduate level courses on poverty, social inequalities, and contemporary theories.

Tentatively entitled Making of A Teenage Service Class (Under contract, University of California Press), I am currently finishing a book project based on my dissertation research. In this book, I draw on three years of immersed fieldwork among a group of black and Latina/o youth from an inner city community to underline the complex relationship between poverty, education, work, and upward social mobility. Making of A Teenage Service Class explores why and how some youth are able to overcome barriers, and pursue and achieve relative success (and what this success looks like) in an environment of deprivation and inequality while others in the same environment fall prey to the predicaments of poverty. You can read a journal article based on my fieldwork.

In graduate school, I also researched and wrote about the aging experiences of Asian Americans (Bandana Purkayastha and (alphabetically listed) Miho Iwata, Shweta Majumdar, Ranita Ray, Trisha Tiamzon. 2012. As The Leaves Turn Gold: Aging Experiences of Asian Americans. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers), localization of global human rights, drug use among college students, and participated in other community oriented research projects.

I'm currently planning ethnographic projects that will explore how racially and economically marginalized youth transition to service industry in the city of Las Vegas, and the relationship between education and policing in marginalized communities.