• Sebastian Leon
  • Sebastian Leon
  • Assistant Professor of Latino and Caribbean Studies
  • Areas of Specialization: Crimes of the Powerful; State-Corporate Crime; Race, Ethnicity and Criminal Justice; Political Economies of Justice Systems
  • Office: Lucy Stone Hall, Room A259
  • Campus: Livingston Campus
  • Education: Ph.D. (2017) American University, School of Public Affairs, M.A. (2013) George Washington University, Department of Sociology, B.S. (2011) Florida State University, College of Criminology and Criminal Justice


18-July-2019 Bio

Kenneth Sebastian León is an Assistant Professor of Latino and Caribbean Studies and Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. He specializes in crimes of the powerful and racialized social control. León is a former research contractor at U.S. Department of Justice – National Institute of Justice and has extensive experience studying localized public safety challenges using qualitative and mixed methods approaches. These include medium and large-scale collaborative studies of the Colombian National Police, the Honduran National Police, U.S. jails, and the transnational capacity of MS-13 in the United States and El Salvador.

León’s book, Corrupt Capital – Alcohol, Nightlife, and Crimes of the Powerful (Routledge), intimately describes and explains the social, political, and economic forces that make white-collar crime and corruption a staple feature of the nightlife economy. Methodologically, the research is innovative in advancing criminological inquiry into ethically and logistically challenging environments while avoiding the voyeuristic and reductionist tropes historically associated with "dangerous fieldwork.”

Additional works appear in Criminology & Public Policy; Critical Criminology; Crime, Law and Social Change; Ethnography; Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy; Journal on Migration and Human Security; Journal of Psychoactive Drugs; the Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology; Race and Justice; among other refereed and public outlets.

Since joining the Rutgers community, Dr. León has applied for over $5.2 million in extramural funding. Dr. León serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of White Collar and Corporate Crime, and is as a Guest Editor for a forthcoming special issue in Latino Studies. For more information about his research and teaching portfolio, please visit www.ksebastianleon.com.


Berg, Ulla D., Kenneth Sebastian León, and Sarah R. Tosh. 2022. Carceral Ethnography in a Time of Pandemic: Examining Migrant Detention and Deportation. Ethnography. Online First: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14661381211072414

Ken Ivy and Kenneth Sebastian León. 2022. Regulatory Theater in the Pork Industry: How the Capitalist State Harms Workers, Farmers, and Unions. Crime, Law and Social Change. Online First: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10611-022-10019-0