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Feb. 13, 2008
CONTACT: Ron Podell
ron.podell@emich.edu 734.487.4400

EMU's Barak receives ASC's Critical Criminology Division's Lifetime Achievement Award

YPSILANTI — From working with juvenile offenders to sharing perspectives on the O.J. Simpson trial, Eastern Michigan University Criminology Professor Gregg Barak has spent a career immersed in issues of crime and social justice.

And though, at 59, Barak says he’s not done yet, the American Society of Criminology’s (ASC) Critical Criminology Division recently honored him with its lifetime achievement award. The award, which recognizes outstanding contributions in research, teaching and service, is the division’s highest honor.

Presented in November at the ASC’s national meeting, the lifetime achievement award comes on the heels of  EMU’s Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award for creative/scholarly activity, which Barak received in April 2007.

“I’m on a run, I guess,” said Barak who, in 2003, became the 27th Fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. “It’s different groups from different professional bodies recognizing you, and they’re all nice. I’m not sure one is more meaningful than the others.”

Barak’s most recent work has dealt with issues of crime, social justice, violence and nonviolence in a global context. In 2007, he published “Violence, Conflict and World Order: Critical Conversations on State-Sanctioned Justice.” But, the criminologist also has written or edited a dozen other books that run the gamut from criminal law to media to human rights, including his 1991 work, “Gimme Shelter: A Social History of Homelessness in Contemporary America.”

Though he compares setting one book above the rest to choosing a favorite child, “Gimme Shelter” may be the most widely read. It’s still considered required reading at the U.S. Bureau of Housing and Urban Development, he said.

Not long after the book came out, he became a funding board member of Avalon Inc., a nonprofit that purchases property in Washtenaw County to permanently house formerly homeless and low-income people.

Barak, who’s been at EMU since 1991 and lives in Ann Arbor, teaches graduate seminars in “Transnational Crime and Violence” and “Theories of Criminal Behavior”, and an undergraduate class in “White-Collar Crime.” In 2004, he received a visiting distinguished professorship from Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Justice and Safety.

Eastern Michigan criminologists have a record of excellence in the CSA’s Critical Criminology Division. Colleague Paul Leighton, a professor of sociology, received the Critical Criminologist of the Year Award in 2001 and graduate student Lisa Kruse was acknowledged for an outstanding graduate student research paper in 2006.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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