Headshot of Ranita Ray, Ph.D.

Ranita Ray, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Office: CBC-B 236
Email: ranita.ray@unlv.edu


Ranita Ray joined the UNLV faculty in 2013 after completing her doctoral studies in the same year. Ray is an ethnographer specializing in children/youth, urban inequalities, race, class, and gender. Her book, The Making of a Teenage Service Class: Poverty and Mobility in an American City (University of California Press, 2017), challenges common wisdom that targeting “risk behaviors” such as drugs, gangs, violence, and teen parenthood is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. This book is based on her dissertation work (partially funded by a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant).

Ray has published journal articles on various issues related to children/youth and urban inequalities including reproductive justice and teen parenthood as a public/moral health panic (Social Problems); kinship ties under the constraints of poverty (Journal of Contemporary Ethnography); pediatric participation (The American Journal of Bioethics); neuroenhancers and educational inequalities (The American Journal of Bioethics). Ray has published several other book chapters on urban issues, youth, education, and human rights.

Ray has also co-authored a book titled As The Leaves Turn Gold: Aging Experiences of Asian Americans (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012)--an account of the aging experiences of Asians Americans in the U.S.

Current Project

Ray is currently preparing a new book manuscript drawing on a neighborhood based multi-year and multi-sited ethnography that explores how the relationship between policing, race, class, and gender shapes educational trajectories of children growing up in marginalized communities in Las Vegas. This rigorous ethnography began in summer 2016, and draws on fieldwork conducted in various contexts in Las Vegas including public schools, non-profit organizations, and disciplinary institutions, among others.

Ray is also actively involved in community-oriented research projects.

Teaching and Mentoring

Ray is currently working with graduate students interested in ethnography, race, gender, class inequalities, youth, and policing.

Ray regularly teaches the following graduate and undergraduate courses:

  • Modern Sociological Theories
  • Social Inequalities
  • Sociology of Deviance
  • Social Stratification