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Karen Heimer

College positions:
Visiting Fellow
Criminology, Sociology
University of Iowa
Contact details:

Professor Karen Heimer

Karen Heimer is Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Collegiate Fellow at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Distinguished Research Fellow of the Public Policy Center, and courtesy faculty at the Boyd College of Law at the University of Iowa.

Professor Heimer researches and teaches in the areas of gender and violence, criminal punishment, and causes of crime and violence. Her recent publications include studies of the violent victimisation of women and minorities, motherhood narratives of women in prison, gender differences in juvenile delinquency, and gender and race differences in patterns of incarceration. Professor Heimer’s research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Justice. She served on the National Academies of Sciences’ CNSTAT panel on Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault. She currently serves on the Social, Political and Communication Sciences review panel of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). Heimer is an elected fellow of the American Society of Criminology and has received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the ASC’s Division on Women and Crime. She was President of the American Society of Criminology in 2018, and Vice-President in 2014. She has received the State of Iowa’s Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and the Hancher-Finkbine medallion from the University of Iowa, as well as several awards for her teaching.

In addition to being a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Professor Heimer is also a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University. She is working on three projects that focus on women, race, crime, and justice. All three concern the social, political, and economic contexts linked with women’s experiences with crime and justice. She will be studying the impact of these factors on violence against women and minorities, and women’s incarceration in prisons.

Select publications

  • Heimer, Karen, Sarah E. Malone, Stacy De Coster. Forthcoming, 2023. “Trends in Women’s Incarceration Rates in U.S. Prisons and Jails: A Tale of Inequalities.” Annual Review of Criminology.
  • Levchak, Philip, Karen Heimer, Joseph B. Lang, and Janet L. Lauritsen. Forthcoming. “Race and Trends in Men’s Imprisonment in the United States.” British Journal of Criminology.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Karen Heimer. 2022. “Techniques of Identity Talk in Reentering Mothers’ Self-Narratives: (M)othering and Redemption Narratives.” Feminist Criminology. 17: 3–25. DOI 10.1177/1557085120983444
  • Heimer, Karen. 2019. “American Society of Criminology Presidential Address: Inequalities and Crime.” Criminology. 57: 377-394. DOI: 10.1111/1745-9125.12220
  • De Coster, Stacy and Karen Heimer. 2017. “Choice within Constraint: An Explanation of Crime at the Intersections.” Theoretical Criminology 21: 11-22. DOI: 0.1177/1362480616677494
  • Heimer, Karen, Kecia R. Johnson, Joseph B. Lang, Andres F. Rengifo, and Don Stemen. 2012. “Race and Women’s Imprisonment: Poverty, African American Presence, and Social Welfare.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology. DOI 10.1007/s10940-011-9144-8.28: 219-244.
  • Lauritsen, Janet L., Karen Heimer and James P. Lynch. 2009. “Trends in the Gender Gap in Violent Offending: New Evidence from the National Crime Victimization Surveys” Criminology 47: 361-399.
  • Heimer, Karen and Stacy De Coster. 1999. “The Gendering of Violent Delinquency.” Criminology 37: 277-317.

Select awards

  • Collegiate Fellow, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa, 2018-
  • Hancher-Finkbine Faculty Excellence Medallion, University of Iowa, 2019
  • Fellow, American Society of Criminology, elected 2015
  • Distinguished Scholar Award, Division on Women and Crime, American Society of Criminology, 2012

Further links