Chris Smith is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015 and was previously at the University of California, Davis. Her areas of specialization include crime and inequality, feminist criminology, historical research methods, organized crime, police violence, social network analysis, sociology of gender, and urban sociology. Chris’s research on crime and inequality, criminal relationships, and criminal organizations examines how relationships unequally embed individuals in criminal markets and violence situations, and how the consequences of these processes impact broader social inequalities.

Chris’s book Syndicate Women: Gender and Networks in Chicago Organized Crime (University of California Press 2019) is a historical social network analysis of gender, criminal markets, and organized crime from Chicago’s Prohibition era.


Syndicate Women is based on a relational database built from 5,000 pages of archival documents with information on 3,321 individuals and their 15,861 social relationships on historical organized crime networks. In addition to the book, Chris has several articles in the works, and has published on the topic of multiplexity in organized crime with Andrew Papachristos (Northwestern University).

Chris’s newest research is on violent police encounters. She has several collaborative projects using administrative data to examine race and gender differences across types of police violence.

Chris has published in American Sociological ReviewCity & Community, Crime & Delinquency, and three edited volumes. Chris’s research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chris has received multiple teaching awards including the university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has appeared on Capital Public Radio.

Click here for Chris’s extended bio.