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636.03 HH

Ph.D.   Sociology, Columbia University


A native New Yorker, I joined the faculty at John Jay College after earning my Ph.D. in Sociology at Columbia University. I primarily use qualitative approaches and a feminist standpoint to investigate 1) intimate partner violence, 2) the unintended consequences of crime control policies and punishment, and 3) perspectives on community-engaged and anti-racist criminology. To discover new knowledge, I unpack data by applying, extending, and improvising with concepts like resistance, intersectionality, and embodiment.

Over the past several years, I have worked to contribute to criminal justice education and practice. I served as an Executive Officer of the Criminal Justice Ph.D. program at John Jay College/ The Graduate Center for several years. I have also engaged in various forms of professional service to promote diversity and inclusion in the discipline. I co-chaired the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the American Society of Criminology's Division of Women and Crime (DWC) as part of this work. I am honored to have received the 2021 Sarah Hall Award, which recognizes outstanding service contributions to the DWC and professional interests regarding feminist criminology and women and crime. Finally, I have also worked on several applied research projects, including evaluation studies in New York City.

My research has appeared in The British Journal of CriminologyPunishment & Society, The Journal of Trauma, Violence & AbuseViolence Against WomenThe Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and other scholarly outlets. I am grateful for the financial support of The National Institute on Drug Abuse, The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, The RISM Landes Foundation, and the American Association of University Women.

JJC Affiliations
Criminal Justice PhD Program; Criminal Justice MA Program
Courses Taught

Race & Ethnic Relations (undergraduate level); Introduction to Sociology (undergraduate level); Research Design & Methods in the Social Sciences (MA level); Race & Crime (MA level); Survey of Research Methods (Ph.D. level); Race and Ethnicity in American Society (Ph.D. level)

Scholarly Work

Selected publications:

Rajah, V., Thomas*, C., Shlosberg, A, Chu*, S. (2021). Enhancing the Tellability of Death-Row Exoneree Narratives: Exploring the Role of Rhetoric. Punishment & Society: 10.1177/14624745211016304.

Rajah, V., and M. Osborn. (2020). Understanding Women’s Resistance to Intimate Partner Violence: A Scoping Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse: 1524838019897345.

Rajah, Valli, Ronald Kramer, and Hung-En Sung. 2015. "The Mis-synchronization of Juvenile Reform Competing Constructions of Temporality and Risk Among Rehabilitation Programs and Young Offenders." British Journal of Criminology 55.1: 184-202.

Rajah, Valli, Ronald Kramer, and Hung-En Sung. 2014. "Changing narrative accounts: How young men tell different stories when arrested, enduring jail time and navigating community reentry." Punishment & Society 16.3: 285-304.

Rajah, Valli. 2007. “Resistance as edgework in violent intimate relationships of drug-involved women.” The British Journal of Criminology, 47, 196-213.

Rajah, Valli, Victoria Frye & Mary Haviland, M. 2006. "Aren't I a victim?" notes on identity challenges relating to police action in a mandatory arrest jurisdiction. Violence Against Women, 12, 897-916.