Social and Cultural Sciences
A sociologist by training, Professor Degenshein (Ph.D. 2019, Northwestern) examines the scope and consequences of the contemporary U.S. criminal justice system, with a particular interest in its relationship to social inequality. Her award-winning research has appeared in Theory and Society and is forthcoming in Contexts.
Prof Degenshein’s current book project, tentatively titled Speculative Justice: The Shifting Temporality of Crime in U.S. Counterterrorism Stings, asks how terrorism cases with numerous indicators of entrapment prevail in federal court despite case law designed to prevent these very policing practices. Using an original archive of court filings and official press releases, as well as in-depth case studies, she finds that a combination of policy, preventative policing tactics, and case law enable federal prosecutors to (lawfully) expand the temporality of crime, pushing the start of wrongdoing back before clear signs of criminal intent and projecting criminality into the future by speculating over what could have been but never was. Past research projects include an ethnography of a Chicago pawnshop as well as a study of state-level prosecutorial lobbying that draws on FOIA-requested audio files of legislative hearings and in-depth interviews legislators and lobbyists.
Prof Degenshein is a member of the Northwestern University Society of Fellows and a founding member of the Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP). She has also previously worked as an English as a Foreign Language teacher in Santiago, Chile, as well as a Court Advocate in the Manhattan felony courts for the Fortune Society's alternative to incarceration programs.
Teaching Interests: Criminal Procedure; Criminological Theory; Sociology of Terrorism; Surveillance Studies
Law and Society, Criminal Justice, Punishment, Surveillance and Digital Technologies, Cultural Sociology, Discourse and Narrative, Social Theory, Racial and Economic Inequalities
Court Advocate in the Manhattan Felony Courts for the Fortune Society’s alternative to incarceration program (2009-2011); Founding member of the Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP)
- Degenshein, Anya. 2017. “Strategies of Valuation: Repertoires of Worth at the Financial Margins,” Theory and Society 46(5): 387-409
- ASA Sociology of Culture Graduate Student Paper Award, 2018
- Sociology Open Access Recognition award, SocArXiv, 2018
- Winch Prize for Best Paper Published or Presented, Northwestern Sociology, 2018
- Degenshein, Anya. Forthcoming. “The Object Economy: The Banking Alternative of a Chicago Pawnsho,” Contexts.