Jeff Manza is Professor of Sociology and the chair of the Department of Sociology at New York University. He received his BA and PhD from the University of California – Berkeley in 1995. Before coming to NYU in 2006, he taught at Penn State (1995-98) and Northwestern (1998-2006). His teaching and research interests lay at the intersection of inequality, political sociology, and public policy. His research examines how different types of social identities and inequalities influence political processes such as voting, partisanship, and public opinion (at both the macro and micro level). In collaboration with Christopher Uggen, he was involved in a long-term project that has examined the causes and consequences of felon disenfranchisement in the United States; their book Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy (Oxford University Press 2006) is the standard work on the topic. Manza is the co-author of three books with Clem Brooks (of Indiana University): Social Cleavages and Political Change (Oxford University Press, 1999), a study of the changing social demography of the American electorate and its partisan consequences; an analysis of the comparative impact of public opinion on welfare state effort in the OECD democracies entitled Why Welfare States Persist (University of Chicago Press, 2007); and most recently Whose Rights? Counterterrorism and the Dark Side of American Public Opinion (Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2013), an examination of the sources and persistence of public support for harsh counterterrorism policies that highlights the role of American national identity in shaping individual attitudes. Manza and Brooks are currently working on a project on the trends and underlying mechanisms of public attitudes towards categorical versus economic inequality. He has also written recently on universal basic income, sociological pedagogy, and is beginning a long-term project on the postwar history of American sociology. His work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals in several disciplines, including the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Sociological Theory, Public Opinion Quarterly, and the Journal of Politics, as well as newspapers and general interest magazines.
In addition to his research, Manza is an award-winning teacher and deeply committed to the importance of undergraduate teaching. While chairing the NYU Sociology Department, Manza launched The Sociology Project: An Introduction to the Sociological Imagination (Pearson 2012, now in edition 3.0 as of 2023); the text is a unique joint venture of the Department faculty which seeks to develop a new model for the introductory textbook, with individual chapters authored by a faculty member who teaches and writes on that topic. The text, along with the companion volume Social Problems: The Sociological Project (2018), is also unique in that profits go to the NYU Department and are reinvested in the graduate and undergraduate programs at NYU (as of 2023, well over $1 million).
Beyond scholarship and teaching, Manza has served in a variety of administrative posts. Before coming to NYU, he served as the Associate Director and Acting Director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, the major social science and policy research center at Northwestern. He served a 6-year term on the Board of Overseers of General Social Survey. At NYU, in addition to two stints as chair, he was the director of the Faculty Review Board at NYU Press, has served on multiple university and Departmental Committees, and created the Department’s MA program in Applied Quantitative Research (AQR), which operated from 2014-22 before university disinvestment. AQR trained students in advanced data analytics and in computational methods in the social science. Program graduates have gone on to enter top PhD programs in sociology and other social science fields, while most have obtained data science positions in the private, nonprofit, or public sectors.