The College of Liberal Arts at Temple University

Matt Wray

Associate Professor & Undergraduate Chair

751 Gladfelter Hall

(215) 204-1445


office hours

FALL 2013 TTH 11-12:20; W 12:30-2:15 & by appt.


  • BA, Univ. of Michigan
  • MA & PhD Univ. of California, Berkeley

areas of expertise

  • Medical Sociology
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Cultural Sociology

courses taught

  • History and Significance of Race
  • Urban Health
  • Cultural Sociology

links i like

Download my vita. My work is profiled here and here. Link to me on LinkedIn and follow me on Twitter @profmattwray. See my Google Scholar profile here.


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 2006-2008 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.

I treat suicide rates as important measures of population health because they reflect dimensions of health missed by narrow biomedical models: namely, the social and cultural health of groups and communities. Especially in times and places of rapid social transformation, the study of suicide can expose hidden health and mortality effects of social isolation and dislocation. I'm currently at work on a book devoted to this topic.

In addition to this more recent 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 currently serve as the Book Review Editor at Contexts and 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 a member of the ASA's Task Force on Social Media where I chair the subcommittee on Strategic Influence. At Temple, I serve as an officer of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honor society.



recent publications

Wray, M. 2014. "It's Not So Sunny in Philadelphia." Contexts. 13:1 (Winter).


Wray, M. 2013. "What Durkheim Missed." Contexts. 12:4 (Fall).


Wray, M. ed. 2013.Cultural Sociology: An Introductory Reader. New York: W.W. Norton. Table of Contents and Introduction here.


Klugman, J, G Condran, M Wray. 2013. "The Role of Medicolegal Systems in Producing Geographic Variation in Suicide Rates." Social Science Quarterly. Abstract here.


Wray, M, J Gurvey, M Miller, I Kawachi. 2012."Estimating Visitor Suicide Risk in Destination Cities: A Reply to Zarkowski and Nguyen." Social Science & Medicine. 74(10):1471-73.


Wray, M. 2012. "Surviving the Odds: Preventing Suicide in Las Vegas." Contexts. Vol. 11:1 (Winter).


Wray, M, T Poladko, M V Allen. 2011. "Suicide Trends in Nevada: An Update." In D. Shalin, ed. The Social Health of Nevada, Vol. 2.


Wray, M., C Colen, B Pescosolido. 2011. "The Sociology of Suicide." Annual Review of Sociology #37.




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department of sociology | 713 gladfelter hall | 1115 west polett walk
philadelphia, pa 19122 | (215) 204-7760 | fax: (215) 204-3352 |