Ben Brucato is an interdisciplinary social scientist and humanist studying at the intersections of surveillance, technology, race, and media. His recent work focuses on the mediated visibility of police violence with a book, Watching Police: The Politics of Visibility, nearing completion.

Currently a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he primarily instructs in the Crime, Law, and Deviance area. His Race & Policing class, offered multiple times over the past years, is closely connected to a book manuscript in progress, on the historical co-origination and mutual reproduction of the unique race and police institutions in the United States. In the past year at UMass, he has published articles in Big Data & Society and American Studies Journal, and a book chapter in Why Don’t The Poor Rise Up?: Organizing the Twenty-First Century Resistance (AK Press, 2017).

In 2015-16, Brucato was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center For Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College. There, he continued research from his dissertation on the mediated visibility of racialized police violence. While at Amherst College, he published in Media & Communication and Surveillance & Society. The latter article won the 2015 Early Career Researcher award from the Surveillance Studies Network.

Brucato finished his PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in August 2015. His dissertation is titled “Watching Police Violence: Negotiating the Politics of Visibility.” His doctoral committee was chaired by Langdon Winner, who examined the dissertation along with members Nancy D. Campbell and Mike Fortun, and outside members David Murakami-Wood (Sociology, Queen’s University, Canada) and June Deery (Media & Communication, RPI). In 2013 and 2014, Brucato was a researcher in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center. While at RPI, he published in Humanity & SocietyAnarchist Studies, and Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, as well as chapters in The Surveillance Industrial Complex: A Political-Economy of Surveillance (Routledge, 2013) and Policing The Campus (Peter Lang Books, 2013).

Prior to his doctoral studies, Brucato earned a MA in Sociology at Northern Arizona University, where he also acted as the coordinator for the Laboratory for Applied Social Research. He earned an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree from the Honor’s College at Kent State University, with minors in Women’s Studies and Sociology, and extensive coursework in Pan-African Studies.

Brucato is on the editorial board of Criminological Encounters and on the advisory board of Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies. He has reviewed a number of proposals for grants and books, and many more articles for journals.

Since 2016, Brucato has coordinated graduate recruitment for the UMass Amherst Labor Center. He collaborated with Labor Studies faculty to redesign the master’s programs; to grow the limited-residency scholarship program, making it more accessible and diverse; and to recruit the inaugural class into a new accelerated MA program. Recruitment efforts have surpassed expectations, as Fall 2017 enrollment shows a nearly-45% increase over the best year of the past decade (2013) and a 235% increase over our 10-year average (2007-2016). Most recently, he has launched recruiting for the first students to enter the new “4+1” BA/MA program.

Academic Appointments

  • Current2016


    University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • 20162015

    Center for Humanistic Inquiry Fellow

    Amherst College

  • 20142014

    Adjunct Instructor

    Union College

  • 20132012


    Northern Arizona University


  • Ph.D. 2015

    Science & Technology Studies

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • M.S. 2015

    Science & Technology Studies

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • M.A. 2011


    Northern Arizona University

  • B.G.S. 1999

    Sociology, Women's Studies, Pan-African Studies

    Kent State University