Faculty Profile

Karen Snedker

Karen Snedker

Professor of Sociology

Email: snedker@spu.edu
Phone: 206-281-2177
Office: Alexander Hall 307

Education: PhD, New York University; MA, New York University; BA, University of California-Santa Barbara. At SPU since 2006.

Dr. Karen Snedker has been at SPU for over 15 years. Her teaching focuses on urban sociology, law, homelessness, and criminal justice. She also teaches introductory sociology courses for the general curriculum. Prior to teaching at SPU, Dr. Snedker spent several years as an NIH researcher at the University of Washington in the Psychosocial and Community Health department. She maintains her ties to the UW as a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing, affiliate faculty in sociology and a CSDE research affiliate. Prior to moving to Seattle, Dr. Snedker lived in New York City and received her master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from New York University.

Dr. Snedker’s research addresses mental health, homelessness, crime and violence, and neighborhood effects. The scope of her published work is broad, and it has appeared in sociology, geography, demography, public health, and crime academic outlets. Her current research areas are mental health and courts and homelessness.

Dr. Snedker’s 2018 book, Therapeutic Justice: Crime, Treatment Courts and Mental Illness, exploresthe intersection between mental health and the criminal justice system. The book provides a unique mixed method study of mental health courts within the framework of the larger trend towards problem-solving courts. Findings from this research have also been published in Society and Mental Health and appeared in The Conversation.

Dr. Snedker is actively involved in homelessness and tent cities in terms of research, teaching, and public outreach. She recently conducted a tent census in the City of Seattle with an undergraduate student research team. This research project and its findings have been published in The Seattle TimesThe Economist, and National Public Radio. She has also worked on campus wide efforts to better engage our community around homelessness. Read a New York Times article highlighting her involvement in Tent City 3. In collaboration with Dr. Jennifer McKinney, they designed an innovative research project while SPU hosted a homeless encampment known as Tent City 3. Research findings from this project were recently published in ContextsTeaching SociologyThe Chronicle for Higher Education, and The Conversation.

Selected publications

McKinney, Jennifer and Karen A. Snedker. 2017. "Hosting a Tent City: Student Engagement and Homelessness.” Teaching Sociology 45(3):252-259.

McKinney, Jennifer and Karen A. Snedker. 2016. “From Charity to Change.” Contexts. Spring: 80-82. 

Snedker, Karen A. and Jerald R. Herting. 2016. “Adolescent Mental Health: Neighborhood Stress Effects on Emotional Distress.” Youth & Society 48(5):695-715.

Snedker, Karen A.  2016. “Unburdening Stigma: Identity Repair through Rituals in the Mental Health Court.” Society and Mental Health 6(1):36-55. 

Bailey, Amy K. and Karen A. Snedker. 2011. “Practicing What They Preach?  Lynching and Religion in the American South 1890 - 1929.” American Journal of Sociology 117(3): 844-887.

Snedker, Karen A., Lindsey Beach and Katie Corcoran. 2017. "Beyond the 'Revolving Door'? Incentives and Criminal Recidivism in One Mental Health Court.Criminal Justice and Behavior 44:1141-1162. 

Books authored:

Therapeutic Justice: Crime, Treatment Courts and Mental Illness, 2018, Palgrave. 

Please view Karen Snedker's CV for more information. 

Karen Snedker

Why I Teach at SPU

Karen Snedker, Associate Professor of Sociology

“I teach at SPU because I believe in liberal arts education and enjoy teaching in a student-centered learning environment. I am an enthusiastic and passionate teacher and appreciate opportunities to mentor students. At SPU I am able to equip my students with the tools of social science and push them intellectually to think more critically about the social world within a caring and supportive community.”