Anthony M. Johnson is a 2018-2020 Postdoctoral Fellow with the Inequality in America Initiative in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in the Social Science Division. He completed his Ph.D. in Sociology at Northwestern University. Anthony’s research is broadly at the intersection of inequality; education; culture; and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
His current book project, tentatively titled Becoming Study Buddies: How Inequalities Persist at Elite Colleges in an Era of Collaborative Learning, examines how undergraduate students form academic peer groups in ways that reproduce educational inequalities. Drawing on a qualitative case study of an engineering school at an elite private university, he shows that academic peer sorting is the result of the interaction between the diverse cultural, social, and economic resources students bring to college—based on social class, race/ethnicity, and gender—and the institutional practices and structures of the university. Anthony analyzes how institutionalized grading practices and the structure of extracurricular activities on campus can have the unintended consequence of concentrating learning opportunities that best align with the academic norms and expectations of the school firmly in the hands of students who already enjoy social group privilege. In the wake of the adoption of collaborative learning approaches designed to reduce persistent achievement gaps in America, Anthony’s research reveals how these innovative approaches, in fact, facilitate the reproduction of educational disparities and the reforms needed to reduce achievement gaps perpetuated through peer networks.
Anthony’s most recent manuscript, which examines the heterogeneous navigation strategies of an ethnoracially segregated academic peer group landscape among black and Latino/a engineering students at an elite university, is forthcoming in Sociology of Education. Anthony’s research has also been supported by fellowships from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation and the National Science Foundation.