Jennifer Darrah, Faculty, Department of Sociology, UH Mānoa

Jennifer Darrah

Associate Professor
Office: Saunders 235
Telephone: 1 (808) 956-7950

Browse My Publications:

UH Award Winner


I am an urban and community sociologist with interests in race, ethnicity, identity, and inequality. My work is motivated by an appreciation for how place—land, neighborhood, community, or home—grounds community, culture, well-being, opportunity, and empowerment. I care about the politics and inequalities that shape places and afford access to quality homes and communities. I pay attention to how racism, colonialism, and ethnic inequality influence urban processes, and to the resistances against these structures. My sociological interests flow from my upbringing on the island of Oʻahu. Before joining UH, I was a post-doctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University where I received training in cutting-edge qualitative approaches to the study of neighborhoods and poverty.


  • PhD, Sociology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 2010
  • MA, Sociology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2005
  • BA, magna cum laude, Social Studies, 2001


  • SOC 301: Survey of Urban Sociology
  • SOC 321: Survey of Sociological Theory
  • SOC 401: Analysis in Urban Sociology
  • SOC 456: Racism and Ethnicity in Hawai‘i
  • SOC 725 (Alpha): Seminar in Race and Ethnicity
  • SOC 753: Urban Sociology


My research lies at the intersections of urban sociology, the study of race/ethnicity, and politics. In Hawaiʻi, I’ve done research related to local and Indigenous peoples’ resistance to high-end luxury housing developments, and more recently I’ve studied homelessness and affordable housing. In other metropolitan areas, I have studied how access to safe and high-quality neighborhoods makes a difference in peoples’ lives. Finally, I research the household choices and perceptions behind racial and economic residential segregation. I collaborate with graduate students and especially welcome the opportunity to work with graduate students interested in research and engagement in communities of Hawaiʻi.

Community Engagement

My research aims to inform public debates on pressing housing and equity issues in Hawai‘i and beyond, and I encourage my students to lend their voices to these debates as well. I also serve as co-director of the Hawai‘i Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN), which supports community and academic partnerships and dialogue. Students in almost all of my courses participate in service-learning programs, including the Mālama i nā ahupa‘a service and sustainability initiative, as well as others, that have been transformative for students.