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Robin Bartram, Department of Sociology Tulane University School of Liberal Arts

Robin Bartram

220G Newcomb Hall


PhD, Sociology, Northwestern University, 2018Affiliated Scholar, American Bar Foundation


Housing, urban sociology, environmental justice, legal studies, cultural sociology, inequality, race and gender, mixed methods.


I study housing, with a focus on its physical and environmental aspects.

In my book, Stacked Decks, I show how building code inspectors in Chicago assess built environments to make inferences about their inhabitants. These assessments often cause them to act in unexpected ways, by protecting some of the city’s most precarious residents. The fact that urban inequality prevails in spite of these actions reveals the contours of persistent inequality.

I am currently collecting data for my next book, which investigates how cities plan for aging housing stock, centering questions of health equity and environmental justice. I am particularly interested in the racialized and gendered articulations of responsibility for damage, repair, maintenance, and depreciation.


Robin Bartram. 2022. Stacked Decks: Building Inspectors and the Reproduction of Urban Inequality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Robin Bartram. Online first. “Making Babies Pay Rent: Race suicide, and the Subsidization of Whiteness through Rental Housing.” Qualitative Sociology

Robin Bartram. 2022. “Black women endure legacy of racism in homeownership and making costly repairs.” The Conversation.

Robin Bartram. 2022. “What’s Wrong With Chicago’s Building CodeSouth Side Weekly

Robin Bartram. 2021. “Cracks in broken windows: How objects shape professional evaluationAmerican Journal of Sociology. 126(4): 759–794.

  • Winner, ASA Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section Article Award, 2022
  • Honorable Mention, ASA Sociology of Law Section article award, 2022
  • Honorable Mention, ASA Community and Urban Sociology Section Jane Addams article award, 2022

Robin Bartram* Japonica Brown-Saracino* and Holly Donovan. 2021. "Uncertain Sexualities and the Unusual Woman: Museum Depictions of Jane Addams and Emily Dickinson.” Social Problems. 68 (1): 168–184. * = equal authors

Robin Bartram. 2020. “The Infidelity of Place: Medical Simulation Labs and Disjunctures in Pedagogical Places.” Sociology of Health and Illness. 42(2): 293-306

Robin Bartram. 2019. “The cost of code violations: How building codes shape residential sales prices and rents.” Housing Policy Debate. 29(6): 931-946

Robin Bartram. 2019. “Going Easy and Going After: Building Inspections and the Selective Allocation of Code Violations.” City and Community 18(2): 594-617.

Robin Bartram. 2018. “Emplacing Risks in the City: Class, Politics, Risk and the Built Environment of Women’s Residential Clubs, 1896-1917.” The Journal of Urban History 44(2): 219–238.

Robin Bartram. 2017. “Housing Historic Role Models and the American Dream: Domestic Rhetoric and Institutional Decision-Making at the Tenement Museum.” Qualitative Sociology 40(1):1-22.

Robin Bartram. 2016. “Housing and Social and Material Vulnerabilities." Housing, Theory and Society 33(4): 469-483.