Dr. Alexis McCurn

College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Sociology


(310) 243-3430


Alexis S. McCurn is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Her areas of teaching and research expertise include qualitative research methods, urban sociology, Black communities, gender studies and feminist theory, and inequality with a special focus on the intersections of gender, race, and class. Her current research explores issues related to gendered violence and inner-city life with a particular focus on inequality and survival in impoverished communities.

Dr. McCurn’s first book, The Grind: Black Women and Survival in the Inner City (Rutgers University Press) is an ethnographic study based on two years of naturalistic field research in Oakland, California and explores how Black women negotiate urban public space. This work examines how race, sex, class, violence, and the body are experienced, understood, and accomplished through encounters and interactions while negotiating public space in poor inner-city communities. Her research has received awards from the American Sociological Association's Race, Gender, and Class Section as well as funding from the National Science Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political & Economic Institute. At CSUDH, she teaches Understanding Social Relationships in a Global Context, Sociology of Black Communities, Black Women, Power, and Politics, Methods of Sociological Research, and a Seminar in Ethnographic Analysis.


Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013
M.A., Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2009
B.A., Sociology, University of San Francisco, 2005


Her areas of expertise include Qualitative Research Methods, Urban Sociology, Inequality, Intersections of Gender, Race, and Class, Black Communities, Gender Studies and Feminist Theory.



Alexis S. McCurn. 2018.The Grind: Black Women and Survival in the Inner City. Rutgers University Press.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Alexis S. McCurn. 2020. “Surviving the Grind’: How Young Black Women Negotiate Physical and Emotional Labor in Urban Space.” Sociological Spectrum 40(4): 227–246. 

Alexis S. McCurn. 2018.‘Keeping It Fresh’: How Young Black Women Negotiate Self-Representation and Controlling Images in Urban Space.” City & Community 17 (1) :134-149

Alexis S. McCurn. 2017. “‘I Am Not a Prostitute’: How Young Black Women Challenge Street-based Micro-interactional Assaults.” Sociological Focus 50 (1) :52–65.

Book Chapters

 Nikki Jones and Alexis S. McCurn. 2015. “Black Girls, Gender, and Violence.”  Pp. 78–91 in Understanding Diversity, edited by C. M. Renzetti and R. M. Kennedy- Bergen.  New York: Pearson.

The Grind