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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Sociology & Criminology


Faculty & Staff

Michael C. Campbell

Michael Campbell

Michael C. Campbell

Associate Professor
Sturm Hall 418
Phone: 303-871-6008
View CV




areas of expertise/research interests

Punishment and Society; Law and Politics; Race, Law and Inequality; Sociology of Law; History 

professional biography

Michael Campbell is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Denver. His research employs mixed research methods to examine the social, historical and political forces that shape law and policy, especially those associated with mass incarceration. His work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Law and Society Review, Criminology and other sociological and criminological journals. His current research includes a collaborative project (with Heather Schoenfeld of Boston University) that examines state-level criminal justice reforms that affect correctional populations and mass incarceration. The goal is to compare and contrast reforms across state contexts since 2000 to better understand how state and national forces have shaped policy reform efforts in the United States.

Personal website


PhD   Criminology, Law & Society, University of California, Irvine
MA    History, Indiana University
BA     History, Indiana University

selected publications

Campbell, Michael, Matt Vogel and Joshua Williams*. 2015. “Historical Contingencies and the Evolving Importance of Race, Violent Crime and Region in Explaining Mass Incarceration in the United States.” Criminology 53(2): 180-203.

     - 2017 American Society of Criminology Outstanding Article Award Winner

     *Graduate student

Campbell, Michael C. 2014. “The Emergence of Penal Extremism in California: A Dynamic View of Institutional Structures and Political Processes.” Law & Society Review 48(2), June: 377-409.

Campbell, Michael C. and Heather Schoenfeld. 2013. "The Transformation of America’s Penal Order: A Historicized Political Sociology of Punishment." American Journal of Sociology 118(5), March: 1375-1423.

     -2014 American Sociological Association Law Section Distinguished Article Award Winner

     -2014 Law and Society Association Article Prize Honorable Mention

Campbell, Michael. 2012. “Ornery Alligators and Soap on a Rope: Texas Prosecutors and Punishment Reform in the Lone Star State.” Theoretical Criminology 16(3): 289-311.

Campbell, Michael. 2011. “Politics, Prisons, and Law Enforcement: An Examination of the Emergence of ‘Law and Order’ Politics in Texas.”  Law & Society Review 45(3): 631-666.