John Eason

Position title: Associate Professor, Sociology


Professor John Eason is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before entering graduate school, he was a church-based community organizer focusing on housing and criminal justice issues. He also served as a political organizer for then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama. His research interest challenges existing models and develops new theories of community, health, race, punishment, and rural/urban processes in several ways. By tracing the emergence of the rural ghetto he establishes a new conceptual model of rural neighborhoods. These relationships are explored through his book, Big House on the Prairie: Rise of the Rural Ghetto and Prison Proliferation, at the University of Chicago Press.

Professor Eason is a member of UB’s inaugural Center for Diversity Innovation’s Distinguished Visiting Scholar cohort. Read more about the entire cohort:

As the Founder and Director of the UW Justice Lab ( we focus on reducing/ending racial, economic, and health disparities across the rural-urban interface by critically examining the causes of spatial inequality and offering creative solutions to address these issues. The UW Justice Lab incorporates a vertical integration model of mentorship including affiliated faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates across multiple research projects including Peeking Behind the Veil: Investigating Health and Violence in U.S. Immigrant Detention Centers ( and the COVID in Confined Spaces ( funded through the National Science Foundation.