Jooyoung Lee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He is also a Senior Fellow in the Yale University Urban Ethnography Project and was formerly a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.
He is broadly interested in how gun violence transforms the social worlds and health of young Black men in different contexts. His first book, Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central (University of Chicago Press, 2016), is a long-term ethnographic study of young Black men growing up in the shadows of gang violence and the glittering entertainment industries in Los Angeles. This book shows how hip hop culture shields young men from the dangers of gang violence. It also reveals the larger structural forces that inspire “existential urgency” during the transition to adulthood.
His second book, Gunshot, is an ethnographic study that traces the long-term health consequences of wounded gunshot victims across Philadelphia. He began this study in the outpatient trauma clinic at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and writes about young men who get shot in drive-by shootings, armed robberies, and other kinds of street violence. He follows these men over time to document their experiences living with chronic pain, disability, and PTSD. This study shines a light on gun violence as a major social determinant of health in urban poor Black communities.
His new work examines how murder transforms families and communities; how we can use videos to enhance research on interaction; and a collaborative SSHRC-funded study with Julian Tanner and Scot Wortley on youth experiences with guns in Toronto.