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Tony Cheng

Assistant Professor of Sociology
417 Chapel Drive, Box 90088, Reuben-Cooke Building Rm 258, Durham, NC 27708


I study how strategies of state legitimation shape urban inequality, with a particular interest in the politics and inequalities of policing. My forthcoming book “The Policing Machine: Enforcement, Endorsements, & the Illusion of Public Input” (2024, University of Chicago Press) is about how police resist institutional reforms by cultivating political capital from the community constituents they empower.

My research has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Criminology, Social Problems, Law & Society Review, Criminology & Public Policy, City & Community, and Politics & Society. It has won awards from the American Sociological Association, American Society of Criminology, Law & Society Association, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. I have a Sociology PhD from Yale University and a J.D. from NYU Law School. Previously, I was an Assistant Professor in UC Irvine’s Department of Criminology, Law & Society.

Personal website: 

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Sociology · 2023 - Present Sociology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications

Yale University · 2021 Ph.D.
New York University · 2018 J.D.