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Leslie H. Picca

Professor; Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Email: Leslie H. Picca
Phone: 937-229-3139


  • Ph.D., University of Florida


Dr. Leslie H. Picca is a Professor of Sociology and the Roesch (Endowed) Chair in the Social Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology, and Women's Studies and Gender Research Graduate Certificate from the University of Florida. She joined the faculty in 2005 and has been entrusted with many leadership positions at the University of Dayton, including Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work (2014-19), Interim Director of the Department of Criminal Justice and Security Studies (2016-17), President of the Academic Senate (2020-21) and Co-Chair of the University Inclusive Excellence Council (2019-22). Her research on racial relations has been internationally recognized, and she frequently delivers presentations and workshop trainings to academic, corporate, faith-based and non-profit organizations. 

Faculty perspective

"In sociology, we often tell students "we make the familiar, unfamiliar, and the unfamiliar, familiar." I push my students to understand their experiences beyond their individual interactions, and to examine the broader cultural context. We examine questions such as how do economics, laws, politics, religion, education, and other social institutions impact your daily interactions and life choices? My areas of research are the sociology of race/ethnicity, and sexualities, and people are sometimes surprised by the content of my courses at a Catholic and Marianist university. However, the Marianist charism calls for a focus on diversity, a critical evaluation of our times, and learning in community. It is truly a privilege to be a part of the UD community."

Research interests

  • Race and ethnicities
  • Privilege, Oppression and Intersectionality
  • Sociology of sexualities

Selected publications

Jim Crow's Legacy: The Lasting Impact of Segregation. Rowman & Littlefield 2015 (with Ruth Thompson-Miller and Joe R. Feagin)

"Everyday Racial Interactions for Whites and College Students of Color.” pp. 144-155 in Understanding Diversity: Celebrating Difference, Challenging Inequality, edited by Claire M. Renzetti, and Raquel Kennedy Bergen. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. (2015)

"‘It Opened My Eyes’: Using Student Journal Writing to Make Visible Race, Class, and Gender in Everyday Life.” Teaching Sociology 41 (1): 82-93. (2013, with Brian Starks and Justine Gunderson)

Two-Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage. Routledge, 2007 (with Joe R. Feagin)

"Unmasking Racism: Halloween Costuming and Engagement of the Racial Other." Qualitative Sociology 30(3):315-335. (2007, with Jennifer C. Mueller and Danielle Dirks)