Sandra L. Trappen, Ph.D.

Photo of Sandra L. Trappen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice
Main Building, 102B
Penn State Greater Allegheny, 4000 University Drive, McKeesport, PA 15132

Sandra L. Trappen is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Penn State University. She received her Ph.D. and M. Phil. in sociology from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York; she also has an M.A. from Fordham University, New York.  Her research and teaching interests focus on social problems in connection with deindustrialization and how they interact with the criminal justice system. She is published in Social Text, Perspectives on Politics, the Journal for Prevention and Intervention in the Community, and the Feminist Wire.

Teaching Interests:: Critical Criminology, Social Theory, Social Problems, Research Methods

Area(s) of Expertise : Intersection of Crime, Social Problems, and Deindustrialization; Community-based Research


  • Capitalism, race, and place
  • Classical and contemporary social theory; critical criminology
  • Veterans studies and working-class social identities
  • Structural racism, police violence, and gun violence
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Social inequalities and social change

2021. "Policing Pain: a qualitative study of non-criminal justice approaches to managing opioid overdose during the COVID-19 Pandemic." Sandra L. Trappen and Katherine J. McLean, Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community. Vol. 49, Issue 2, 2021. doi: 10.1080/10852352.2021.1908206.

2018. Trappen, S. Re-Imagining Public Space: The Frankfurt School in the 21st Century. Edited by Diana Boros and James M. Glass. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 250p. Perspectives on Politics, Cambridge University Press, 16(1), 224-226. doi:10.1017/S1537592717003309.

2017. "Knowledge is for Cutting: Waging War on the Human Terrain." Trappen, Sandra L. Transmissions: Journal of Film and Media Studies. September 30, 2017, Vol 2; pp. 100-116.

2013. "Always at War: Economy, Labor, Life, and Blood.” Sandra L. Trappen and Patricia Clough (Eds.) Social Text Periscope. Duke University, June 2013. Journal Guest Editor, Series Introduction, Online journal posted June 17, 2013. 

2013. “Mayberry R.F.D. Will Not Be Presented Tonight.” Social Text Periscope, Duke University, Online journal posted June 17, 2013.

Ph.D. Sociology, The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, 2016
M.Phil., Sociology, The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, 2011
M.A., Fordham University, 2006
B.A., Ohio University, 1985

American Sociological Society, August 2021. Trappen, Sandra L., "Using Student-centered Learning to Disrupt the School to Military to Prison Pipeline" [Paper].

8th Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference, University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy. June 2021. Panel Organizer: "Public Health Interventions: Global Problems, Local Solutions." Paper session: "The McKeesport Drug Overdose Project: Addressing the Intersection of Overdose, Crime, and Community [Paper].

American Society of Criminology (ASC), Atlanta, Ga, November 2018. Trappen,  Sandra L., "Guns, Drugs, and the War at Home" [Paper].