The RWJF Health & Society Scholars program ended February 2017. The site will no longer be updated. More »

Matt Wray, Ph.D., M.A.

RWJF Health & Society Scholar:

Sociology, American Studies

Area(s) of Expertise:
Medical Sociology, Race & Ethnicity, Cultural Sociology




My research and teaching interests include medical sociology, race and ethnicity, cultural sociology, and public sociology. I'm also affiliated faculty in the American Studies Program at Temple.   As a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at Harvard University, I examined the racial and spatial heterogeneity of suicide rates in the American West, with a particular emphasis on Las Vegas, the city with the highest metropolitan suicide rate in the U.S. My forthcoming book on this topic is currently under contract with Oxford University Press.  In addition to my work on suicide, I've researched multiple aspects of white identity, particularly the stigmatyping of poor rural whites. I'm also a long-time participant observer of the Burning Man Festival, an arts festival in northern Nevada.  My work has been profiled in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Business Week, and The Wall Street Journal, among dozens of other national and international publications, and I have been interviewed on numerous radio shows, including NPR's All Things Considered and Freakonomics Radio.  My published books and edited anthologies include Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness (Duke); White Trash: Race and Class in America (Routledge); Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life (NYU Press); and The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness (Duke).  In Fall 2012, I was a nonfiction fellow at The MacDowell Colony. I am a former Book Review Editor at Contexts and a current contributing editor at Public Books ( I serve as an elected member of the Chair's Council of the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities of the American Sociological Association. I'm also co-chair of the American Sociological Association's Task Force on Social Media, which focuses on bringing sociologists and their research into the public sphere. I'm also a member of the ASA's Task Force on Social Media where I chair the subcommittee on Strategic Influence. At Temple, I serve as president of the Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honor society. In 2014, I was awarded the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Teacher Award.

Journal Articles:

Click here for a list of Matt Wray's available publications in Google Scholar


  Wray, Matt.  Cultural Sociology An Introductory Reader. Routledge, W. W. Norton & Company, 2013)

  Wray, Matt. Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness. Duke University Press, 2006

  Rasmussen, Brander, Birgit, Eric Klinenberg, Eric, Nexica, Irene and Wray, Matt, eds. The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness. Duke University Press, 2001

  Bad Subjects Production Team, eds. Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life. New York University Press, 1998

  Wray, Matt and Newitz, Annalee, eds. White Trash: Race and Class in America. Routledge, 1997