ASU alum elected president of Society for the Study of Social Problems


Bryan Beach

ASU alum Luis Fernandez was recently elected president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP). While continuing his work in justice studies as a professor at Northern Arizona University, he will lead SSSP in its many initiatives and help mentor students further in the disciplines he has studied.

Fernandez has a long history with SSSP dating back to his days as a graduate student at ASU. Before becoming involved in justice studies, Fernandez earned his MA in political science. Feeling that this field of study was not centered on social justice, he decided to pursue a PhD in justice studies in order to focus on a more interdisciplinary approach.

“It’s been great to witness Luis' impact on his community, students and fields of work,” said professor Beth Swadener of ASU’s Justice and Social Inquiry Program at the School of Social Transformation. “From co-founding Local to Global Justice and helping the Jirani Project get started to leading the Center for Sustainable Community at NAU, professor Fernandez is a scholar activist I have long admired. His scholarship is powerful and widely recognized, and his election to president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems provides further evidence of the reach of his voice and work.”

Fernandez’s research interests include crime and immigration, as well as protest policing. He also examines political fanaticism in historical and contemporary contexts to distinguish between progressive movements and more zealous activities that can be met with both positive and negative responses.

In regards to his long-term goals, Fernandez believes that the future is directed more by philosophy than goals. He wishes to pursue efforts that produce positive change through gained knowledge and perspective.

“Much of my life has been filled with surprises and few expectations,” said Fernandez. “With that said, I am deeply grateful for all of the support I received from my justice studies professors who have taken such great efforts to train students and prepare them for their careers as scholars.”