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Kevin T. Leicht is a professor and past chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and science team lead for the Social Media Misinformation research team at DPI. He is a former program officer for the sociology and Big Data programs at the U.S. National Science Foundation, former director of the Iowa Social Science Research Center at the University of Iowa, former editor of Research in Social Stratification and Mobility (the official journal of the Social Stratification Section of the International Sociological Association) and The Sociological Quarterly (the official journal of the Midwest Sociological Society). 

He has written extensively on issues relating to organizational and workplace change, economic development, globalization, cultural fragmentation and political sociology. His work has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and his published articles have appeared in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, the Academy of Management Journal, Law and Society Review, and other outlets. 

His published books include Professional Work (Blackwell, 2001), and Post-Industrial Peasants: The Illusion of Middle-Class Prosperity (Worth, 2008) winner of the Midwest Sociological Society Best Book Award for 2009, and Middle Class Meltdown (Routledge, 2012, second edition in 2022) His most recent book, Crisis in the Professions: The New Dark Age, (Routledge, 2023) examines the decline in status and prestige experienced by professional workers in the United States and elsewhere.

The Social Media Misinformation team is developing AI and machine learning software to identify health-related misinformation on social media, deliver information about trends in health misinformation to relevant constituencies and provide a search-based interface for healthcare practitioners and public health officials to track and understand trends in healthcare misinformation. For more information, go to

Research Interests

  • Political and Cultural Fragmentation
  • Globalization
  • Social Inequality
  • Computational Social Science

Research Areas


  • Ph.D. in sociology, Indiana University-Bloomington , 1987
  • Master’s degree in sociology, Indiana University-Bloomington,1983
  • Bachelor of science degree in sociology, Creighton University, 1981


Awards and Honors

  • 2022 Kevin T. Leicht, Joseph Yun, ChangXiang Zhai, Mary E. Stapel. “Developing an Easy-to-use Application for Combatting Health Misinformation in Healthcare Settings.” Jump/Arches OSF Healthcare ($100,000)
  • 2021 Ian Brooks, Kevin T. Leicht, Katie McDowell. “A Health-Related Infodemic Center for the Pan American Region.” World Health Organization ($110,000)
  • 2020 Kevin T. Leicht, Joseph Yun, Brant Houston. “Rapid: Tracking and Network Analysis of the Spread of Misinformation Regarding Covid-19.” National Science Foundation ($195,850)
  • 2019 Kevin T. Leicht, Brant Houston, Loretta Auvil. “The War on Professional Expertise: The Global Spread of Online Myths about Medicine and Health.” National Center for Supercomputing Applications Fellowship, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign ($24,932).
  • 2011-present  Contributing Scholar, Scholars Strategy Network, Harvard University 
  • 2006-present  Faculty Fellow, Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University
  • 1997 Elected to membership in the Sociological Research Association


In The News


Recent Publications

  • Kevin T. Leicht and Mary L. Fennell. 2023. “Crisis in the Professions: The New Dark Age” Routledge
  • Kevin T. Leicht and Scott T. Fitzgerald. 2022. “Middle Class Meltdown in America: Causes, Consequences and Remedies”  Routledge (second edition)
  • Kevin T. Leicht. 2022. “Inequality and the Status Window: Inequality, Conflict, and the Salience of Status Differences in Conflicts over Resources” (revise and resubmit, Russell Sage Foundation Social Sciences Journal)
  • Kevin T. Leicht, Joseph Yun, Brant Houston, Loretta Auvil and Eamon Bracht. 2022. “The Presentation of Self in Virtual Life: Disinformation Warnings and the Spread of  Misinformation Regarding COVID-19” Russell Sage Foundation Social Science Journal 
  • Arne L. Kalleberg and Kevin T. Leicht. 2021. “United States: Eight Key Themes in Sociology of Work” La Nouvelle Revue du Travail
  • Kevin T. Leicht. 2020. “Occupations and Inequalities in the 21st Century: What’s in Your Wallet?” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
  • Kevin T. Leicht and Phyllis L. Baker. 2019 “Gender Through the Looking Glass: The Role of Low-Status  Men in the Production of Global Gender Violence and Racial and Ethnic Bigotry” Pp. 175-188 Samuel  Cohn and Rae Lesser Blumberg (eds) Gender and Development: The Economic Basis of Women’s Power. Sage. Gender and Development | SAGE Publications Inc
  • Phyllis L. Baker and Kevin T. Leicht. 2017. “Globalization, Gender and Development: Toward a Theoretical Understanding of Public Gender-Based Violence Against Women and Girls” Sociology of Development, 4:323-345.
  • Kevin T. Leicht and J. Craig Jenkins. 2017. “State Investments in High-Technology Job Growth” Social Science Research, 65, 30-46. 

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