Robert Vargas' research examines how laws, politics, and bureaucracies shape the conditions of cities, with a particular focus on violence and health care. The author of a multi award-winning book Wounded City: Violent Turf Wars in a Chicago Barrio (2016), brings political sociology to the study of urban violence by showing how ward redistricting shapes levels of block-level violence in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.
A Chicago native, Asst. Professor Vargas also consults on numerous local policy initiatives for foundations and nonprofit organizations and is director of the Violence, Law, and Politics Lab at UChicago. In addition, his work has been published in a variety of journals such as Criminology, Social Science and Medicine, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.