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Honoring the Life and Work of John Hagedorn

April 1 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm CDT



On Tuesday morning, October 31st, 2023, John Hagedorn died peacefully in his home with his family at his side. We deeply mourn the loss of our dear friend and colleague. John had a long-time affiliation with the Great Cities Institute and in 2016 was given the official title of James J. Stukel Senior Faculty Fellow. He was also Professor Emeritus from the Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice. We offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Mary, and to his family.

On the afternoon (from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM) of April 1, 2024, at Student Center East at UIC (750 S. Halsted), we will be hosting, with the family, an event honoring John and his work. We will feature many of his colleagues as well as former students who themselves have gone on to do incredible work in multiple arenas. To download the PDF version of the flyer, please click here. To RSVP, please click here.

[    Event Speakers    ]

Featuring David Brotherton

David Brotherton is professor in sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is also the director of the Social Change and Transgressive Studies Project. Among his recent books are: Routledge International Handbook of Critical Gang Studies edited with Rafael Gude (Routledge 2021); Immigration Policy in the Age of Punishment: Detention, Deportation and Border Control with Phil Kretsedemas (Columbia 2017); Las Pandillas Como Movimiento Social with Luis Barrios (University of Central America Press 2016); Youth Street Gangs: A Critical Appraisal (Routledge 2015); Banished to the Homeland: Dominican Deportees and Their Stories of Exile, with Luis Barrios (Columbia 2011); Keeping Out The Other: A Critical Introduction to Immigration Control, edited with P. Kretsedemas (Columbia 2009); and  The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation: Street Politics and the Transformation of a New York City Gang, with Luis Barrios (Columbia 2004). He is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Critical Criminology: An International Journal and the founding editor of the “Studies in Transgression” book series at Temple University Press.

David Brotherton Introduced by Avelardo Valdez

Avelardo Valdez is professor of social work and sociology at the University of Southern California. He is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar with an extensive publication record in his field of research, which is in the intersection between substance abuse and violence and health issues among high-risk groups. His most recent book is Mexican American Girls and Gang Violence: Beyond Risk. He is also a director of the NIDA Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute on Hispanic Drug Abuse, has served as a member of the Committee for National Academy of Sciences Study of High Rates of Incarceration in the United States (2013-2014), and served on Governor Gavin Newsom‘s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Law and Policy in California (2015) and appointed to the Advisory Cannabis Working Group by the Los Angeles County Office of Cannabis Management.

Robert Aspholm

Roberto Aspholm is assistant professor in the school of social work at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He has spent more than a decade working in community practice and research capacities on issues affecting young people in marginalized urban neighborhoods, particularly street gangs, community violence, and violence prevention. His work in these capacities has taken place primarily on the South Side of Chicago and in East St. Louis, Illinois, an industrial suburb of St. Louis and the city with the highest homicide rate in the United States. He recently wrote a book titled, Views for the streets: The transformation of gangs and violence on Chicago’s South Side (2020), as well as co-authored several publications on gun and gang violence in Chicago: Interpersonal gun violence research in the social work literature (2019); The fracturing of gangs and violence: A research based reorientation of violence prevention and intervention policy (2019); and How the coronavirus and Chicago’s gun violence are related (2020). 

Lance Williams

Lance Williams is professor of urban community studies at the historic Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. He currently works with Chicago area violence prevention groups that serve young men who are at high risk for being shooting perpetrators or victims. For over 20 years, Dr. Williams has worked as an expert witness in Federal and local gang and violence-related cases. He is the author of Culture and Perceptions of Violence Related Behaviors Among Adolescents (2009), co-author of the book titled The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Fall, Rise and Resurgence of an American Gang (2011) and author of King David and Boss Daley: The Black Disciples, Mayor Daley and Chicago on the Edge (2023).

Words from Meda Chesney-Lind

Meda Chesney-Lind is professor emeritus in women, gender and sexuality at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She is nationally recognized for her work on women and crime, and her testimony before Congress resulted in national support of gender responsive programming for girls in the juvenile justice system. Her most recent book on girls’ use of violence, Fighting for Girls (co-edited with Nikki Jones), won an award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for “focusing America’s attention on the complex problems of the criminal and juvenile justice systems.” She also co-edited, with John Hagedorn, Female Gangs in America: Essays on Girls, Gangs, and Gender, which is the only edited volume ever published in the U.S. on female gangs.

Alistair Fraser

Alistair Fraser is professor of criminology at the University of Glasgow, and director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. Alistair is the author of two books: the first, Urban Legends: Gang Identity in the Post-Industrial City (OUP, 2015) was shortlisted for the BBC/BSA Ethnography Award and co-awarded the British Society of Criminology Book Prize. His second book, Gangs and Crime: Critical Alternatives was published by Sage in 2017. He is on the International Advisory Board for the Journal of Youth Studies, and is an Associate Editor of Criminology & Criminal Justice.

Benneth Lee

Benneth Lee is instructor in justice studies at Northeastern Illinois University, educating students about inner city gangs; prisons and jails; ex-convict recidivism; and prisoner reentry systems. He is also the founder and CEO of the National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated (NAEFI), which is a community-based organization working in the state of Illinois to empower formerly incarcerated men and women to work towards restorative citizenship. The program involves partnering of male and female formerly incarcerated individuals with trained mentors, providing one-on-one mentoring, through counselling, life skills workshops, leadership development training and support from trained mentors.

Kaitlin Devaney

Kaitlin Devaney is faculty in criminology at DePaul University. She received her Ph.D. with distinction and her M.A. in Criminology, Law and Justice with a concentration in Violence Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research lies broadly in neighborhood-level violence, community-level anti-violence strategies, critical race studies and comparative racialization, and outsider qualitative methodology. She is currently engaged in work that explores the drill rap subculture of violence in Chicago and evaluative prison education research on Northwestern’s Prison Education Program, where she did her postdoctoral research fellowship.

Tribute by Former Students Led by Xavier Perez

Xavier Perez is faculty in criminology at DePaul University. His research interests address two broad areas of study: criminology and latino(a) crime. Specifically, what distinguishes Latinos(as) from other ethnic/racial groups in America? Second, his research interests explore variation in legal traditions around the world and the implications of such variation on crime policies. Specifically, Xavier examines the impact of this training on police behavior and community relations in Puerto Rico, thus exploring how and why countries punish criminal offenders differently and how those differences are often the result of cross-national variation in culture, politics, economics, religion, and social organization.

Moderated by Teresa Córdova

Teresa Córdova is the Director of the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois Chicago.  She is also Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at UIC. Dr. Córdova received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Throughout her career, Teresa has engaged with communities in and outside the university and is an expert in community/university partnerships and methodologies of engaged research. In addition to strategies for community and economic development, her work focuses on global/local dynamics and the impacts of global economic restructuring on local communities, including impacts of resource extraction. She has been instrumental in affecting economic development policy and projects, the provision and design of infrastructure, local governance, and neighborhood change. She currently sits on the Cook County Economic Development Advisory Committee, The Board of Directors of Grand Victoria Foundation, and the Board of Illinois Humanities Council.  She publishes extensively in the fields of community development and Latino/a Studies.


John Hagedorn, Ph.D. was a James J. Stukel Fellow with the Great Cities Institute and Professor Emeritus of Criminology, Law, and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Hagedorn’s first book, People & Folks, Gangs, Crime, and the Underclass in a Rustbelt City, argued for more jobs than jails and applied William Julius Wilson’s underclass theory to gangs. He was the architect of a neighborhood-based, family centered social service reform in Milwaukee that became the subject of his dissertation, published as Forsaking Our Children: Bureaucracy and Reform in the Child Welfare System (1995). He was editor (with Meda Chesney-Lind), of Female Gangs in America: Essays on Girls, Gangs, and Gender, the only edited volume ever published in the U.S. on female gangs. His interest in Chicago gangs led him to become immersed in the history of the Vice Lords and the importance of race. His global travels further informed his understanding of gangs, which led him to edit the volume Gangs in the Global City based on an international conference at the Great Cities Institute. He was Principal Investigator of a Harry F. Guggenheim study at the Great Cities Institute of why Chicago’s homicide rate did not decline like New York City’s. He argued in 2007 that the decision to not invest in public housing but demolish it was a major correlate of high rates of violence.  In A World of Gangs (2008), he applied Manuel Castells’ work in analyzing gangs, arguing that understanding the cultural struggle for identity was crucial in working with gangs. His 2015 book, The In$ane Chicago Way: The Daring Plan by Chicago Gangs to Create a Spanish Mafia, looks historically at gangs, organized crime, and corruption in Chicago. John truly left a legacy at so many levels, including the many students who adored him. For more on John Hagedorn’s legacy, click here.



April 1
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm CDT


Great Cities Institute


UIC Student Center East
750 S. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60607 United States
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