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James E. Hawdon

James Hawdon, Professor and Director, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention

James Hawdon, Professor and Director, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention

Department of Sociology
205A Norris Hall
495 Old Turner Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-7476 |

Cybercriminology Lab

James Hawdon is director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech.

Broadly speaking, Hawdon’s research investigates the role of communities in promoting, deterring, or reacting to crime, violence, and tragedies. His most recent work focuses on how communities are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and his ongoing research has studied online communities and how these pattern exposure to and participation in online extremism.

He has published eight books or edited books and more than 100 articles, book chapters, or research reports in the areas of terrorism and violent extremism, criminology, the sociology of drugs, the sociology of policing, disaster research, and research methodologies. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, the National Funding Collaboration on Violence Prevention, and several foundations. He has conducted dozens of interviews for various local, national, and international media outlets, and his work has been cited in media outlets in countries from around the world.

Hawdon earned a B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. From 1992 to 2004, he was a faculty member at Clemson University, where he served as graduate director from 1995 to 2004 and director of the Lab for Survey Research from 1993 to 1999. He joined Virginia Tech in 2004 and served as the director of graduate studies from 2005 until 2011, when he became director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention.

  • Causes and Consequences of Violence and Mass Tragedies
  • Violent Extremism
  • Sociology of Drugs
  • Sociology of Policing
  • Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Virginia, 1992
  • M.A. in Sociology, University of Virginia, 1988
  • B.A. in Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, 1985
  • Director, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention
  • Executive Board Member Southern Criminal Justice Association
  • Associate Editor, American Journal of Criminal Justice
  • Member Editorial Board, Traumatology
  • 2020    Member of the Academy of Faculty Service. Virginia Tech.
  • 2019    Winner of the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology’s Wayman Mullins Award for Best Journal Article
  • 2013    Winner of College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Excellence in Research Award.
  • 2011    Winner of the Department of Sociology’s E. Gordon Ericksen Award. Virginia Tech.
  • 2008    Winner of the Department of Sociology’s Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award. Virginia Tech.
  • 2006    Winner of the Department of Sociology’s Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award. Virginia Tech.
  • 2005    Winner of the Adele Mellen Prize for Contributions to Scholarship for the book Drugs and Alcohol Consumption as a Function of Social Structure: A Cross-cultural Sociology.


  • Hawdon, James Bryan Miller, and Matthew Costello (editors.). 2021. Marijuana in America: Culture, Political, and Medical Controversies.  ABC-CLIO. Marijuana in America: Culture, Political, and Medical Controversies.  ABC-CLIO.
  • Quigley, Paul, and James Hawdon (editors). 2018. Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives. New York: Routledge.
  • Hawdon, James, John Ryan, and Marc Lucht (editors). 2014. The Causes and Consequences of Group Violence: From Bullies to Terrorists. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.
  • Hawdon, James, Atte Oksanen, Pekka Räsänen, and John Ryan. 2012. School Shootings and Local Communities: An International Comparison between The United States and Finland. University of Turku Press: Turku, Finland.
  • Klieman, Mark, and James Hawdon (editors).  2011.  Encyclopedia of Drugs and Drug Policy,  volumes I and II. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage.

Journal Articles

  • Sedgwick, Donna, James Hawdon, Pekka Räsänen, and Aki Koivula. Forthcoming. The Role of Collaboration in Complying with Covid-19 Health Protective Behaviors: A Cross-National Study. Administration & Society.
  • Costello, Matthew, Salvatore J. Restifo, and James Hawdon. Forthcoming Viewing Anti-Immigrant Hate Online: An Application of Routine Activity and Social Structure Social Learning Theory. Computers in Human Behavior
  • Clifton, Stacey, Jose Torres, and James Hawdon. 2021. Examining Guardian and Warrior Orientations across Racial and Ethnic Lines. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology.
  • Dearden, Thomas, Katalin Parti, and James Hawdon. 2021. “Institutional Anomie Theory and Cybercrime – Crime and the American Dream, Now Available Online.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.
  • Sedgwick, Donna, Jason Callahan, and James Hawdon. 2021. “Institutionalizing Partnerships: A Mixed Methods Approach to Identifying Trends and Perceptions of Community Policing and Multi-Agency Task Forces.” Police Practice and Research: An International Journal. 22(1): 727-744.
  • Bernatzky, Colin, Matthew Costello, and James Hawdon. 2021. “Who Produces Online Hate?: An Examination of the Effects of Self-Control, Social Structure, and Social Learning.”  American Journal of Criminal Justice.
  • Reichelmann, Ashley, James Hawdon, and John Ryan. 2020. “Threatened Halos of Perception: Residents’ Accuracy of Crime Changes in a Developing Tourist Area” Tourism & Hospitality.  9:441. doi: 10.35248/2167-0269.20.9.441
  • Ireland, Leanna, James Hawdon, Bert Huang, and Anthony Peguero. 2020. “Sender Status: Relative Popularity of Bullies and Guardianship Intervention in Cyberbullying.”  Computers and Human Behavior.
  • Hawdon, James, Katalin Parti, and Thomas Dearden. 2020. “Cybercrime in America amid COVID-19: The Initial Results from a Natural Experiment." American Journal of Criminal Justice 45(4): 546-562. DOI: 10.1007/s12103-020-09534-4
  • Hawdon, James, Matthew Costello, Colin Bernatzky and Salvatore Restifo. 2020. “The Enthymemes of Supporting President Trump: Explaining the Association between Structural Location, Supporting the President, and Agreeing with Online Extremism.” Social Science Computer Review.
  • Reichelmann, Ashley, James Hawdon, Matthew Costello, John Ryan, Catherine Blaya, Vicente Llorent, Atte Oksanen, Pekka Räsänen, and Izabela Zych. 2020. “Hate Knows No Boundaries:  Online Hate in Six Nations.”  Deviant Behavior.
  • Hawdon, James, Colin Bernatzky, and Mathew Costello. 2019. “Cyber-routines, Political Attitudes, and Exposure to Violence-Advocating Online Extremism.” Social Forces. 98(1), 329-354.
  • Perdue, Robert Todd and James Hawdon. 2019. “Gateway or Cul de Sac? Using Big Data to Assess Legal Recreational Marijuana and Changes in the use of ‘Hard’ Drugs.” Sociation, 18(2), 20-28.
  • Hawdon, James, Mathew Costello, Colin Bernatzky, and Rebecca Barett-Fox. 2019. “The Perpetuation of Online Hate: A Criminological Analysis of Factors Associated with Participating in an Online Attack.” Journal of Hate Studies.  15(1): 157-181.
  • Costello, Mathew, James Hawdon, Colin Bernatzky, and Kelly Mendes. 2019. “Social Group Identity and Perceptions of Online Hate.” Sociological Inquiry, 427-452.
  • Sedgwick, Donna and James Hawdon. 2019. “Interagency Collaboration in the Era of Homeland Policing: Are Agencies Answering the Call?” American Journal of Criminal Justice, 44: 167-190.
  • Costello, Mathew, Joseph Rukus, and James Hawdon. 2019. “We Don’t Like Your Type around Here: Regional and Residential Differences in Exposure to Online Hate Material Targeting Sexuality.” Deviant Behavior. 40(3): 385-401.

Book Chapters

  • Hawdon, James and Matthew Costello. Forthcoming. “Confronting Online Extremism: Strategies, Promises, and Pitfalls.” In Barbara Perry, Jeff Gruenwald, and Ryan Scrivens (Eds.) Far-right extremism in North America. Palgrave.
  • Hawdon, James and Matthew Costello. Forthcoming. “Hate Movements.” David Snow (ed.). Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements, second edition. New York: Wiley.
  • Perdue, Robert Todd and James Hawdon. 2021. “Predicting the Emergence of Novel Pyschoactive Substances with Big Data.” In A. A. Moustafa (ed.). Big Data in Psychiatry and Neurology. New York: Academic Press, pp. 167- 179.
  • Hawdon, James and Matthew Costello. 2020.  “Learning to Hate: Explaining Participation in Online Extremism.” In Derek Silva and Mathieu Deflem (eds.) Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization. (Sociology of Crime, Law, and Deviance, vol. 25). Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 167-182.
  • Hawdon, James, Shyam Ranganathan, Scotland Leman, Shane Bookhultz, and Tanushree Mitra. 2020. Social Media Use, Political Polarization, and Social Capital: Is Social Media Tearing the U.S. Apart?” In Gabriele Meiselwitz (ed.) Social Computing and Social Media: Design, Ethics, User Behavior, and Social Network Analysis. Pp. 243-260. Springer.
  • Costello, Matthew and James Hawdon. 2020. “Hate Speech in Online Spaces.”  In A. Bossler and T. Holt (eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of International Cybercrime and Cyberdeviance. New York: Palgrave, pp. 1397-1416.
  • Hawdon, James. 2019.  “Crises of Security and Crises of Legitimacy: Organizational Evolution in American Policing, 1860-2017.” Pp 40-70 in Lisa Eargle and Ashraf Esmail (editors.) On These Mean Streets…People Are Dying: Police & Citizen Brutality in America. Lake Charles, LA: Green Legacy Publishing.


  • Gainey, Randy, Tancy VandercarBurdin, Jay Albanese, James Hawdon, Katalin Parti, and Thomas Dearden. 2021. CIVIIC: Cybercrime in Virginia: Impacts on Industry and Citizens. Requesting $149,682 for one year from COVA CCI Cybersecurity Research Collaboration Funding.
  • Hawdon, James and Ashley Reichelmann. RAPID: Effects of COVID-19 on Community Solidarity, NSF #2032452. Funded for $67,146 for one year by the National Science Foundation.
  • Ranganathan, Shyam, Peter Hauck, Scotland Leman, and James Hawdon. 2018. ATD:  Forecasting Threats due to Polarization Using Spatio-Temporal Topic Flows. NSF 1830501. Funded for $170,000 over three years by the National Science Foundation.
  • Reichelmann, Ashley, James Hawdon, and John Ryan. 2018. RAPID: Memorialization and Community. NSF-1822295. Funded for $49,909 over one year by the National Science Foundation. 
  • Mitra, Tanushree and James Hawdon. 2018. The Language of Online Extremism and Hate Speech: Computational Models for Discovery and Analysis of Framing around Extremists’ Narratives. $80,000 Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science Junior Faculty Awards.
  • Huang, Bert, Anthony Peguero, and James Hawdon. 2018. “Machine-learning approaches for automated detection of cyberviolence.” Funded for $25,000 for one year from the Data Analytics and Decision Science Destination Area. 
  • Hawdon, James and John Ryan.  2017. “Online Extremism in a Cross-National Context: Risk, Exposure, and Participation.”  Funded for $29,654 for one year by the Institute for 
  • Society, Culture, and Environment.  Virginia Tech.  
  • Ratliff, Thomas, James Hawdon, David Snow, Rebecca Barrett-Fox, and Matthew Costello.  2015-2017. “Radicalization on the Internet: Virtual Extremism in the U.S. from 2012 – 2017.” Funded for $769,906 over three years from The National Institute of Justice. 
  • Hawdon, James. 2017. "Status Relations and the Changing Face of Extremism in the United States Since 1960."  Les jeunes et l'incitation à la haine sur Internet: victimes, témoins, agresseurs? Comparaisons internationales.  Nice, France. January 23.
  • Hawdon, James. 2017. Perpetrators and Victims of Online Extremism: Status and Vulnerability." Presented at Les jeunes et l'incitation à la haine sur Internet: victimes, témoins, agresseurs? Comparaisons internationales. Nice, France. January 24.
  • Hawdon, James, Atte Oksanen and Pekka Räsänen. "Exposure to Online Hate Material: A Cross-National Test of Routine Activity Theory's Applicability in Cyberspace." Paper presented at the International Workshop on the Study of Hate Groups.  Fachhochschule der Polizei Brandenburg, Brandenburg, Germany. January 11, 2014.

Graduate Level

  • Workplace Crime and Deviance
  • Crime and Inequality
  • Crime, Community and Control

Undergraduate Level

  • Sociology of Policing
  • Sociology of Drugs and Alcohol
  • Criminology

Dr. Hawdon has chaired more than 100 MS/MA and Ph.D. committees.  His recently and currently chaired students include:

Recent Ph.D. Students Chaired

  • Dr. Leanna Ireland
  • Dr. Stacey Clifton
  • Dr. Lisa Robinson

Current Ph.D. Students Chairing

  • Jonathan Lloyd   
  • Shonetra Walker         

Current Masters Students Chairing

  • Kelsey McMahon (co-Chair)
  • Rachel Kid (co-Chair)
  • Christopher Miceli
  • Member of the Advisory Board for EU Horizon2020 Programme Network of Excellence in Training on HATE' (NETHATE).
  • Researcher on the project ‘Online Extremism in a Cross-National Context: Risk, Exposure, and Participation.” Funded by the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment
  • Researcher on the project “Hate Communities: A Cross-National Comparison.”  Funded by the Kone Foundation.
  • Researcher on the Cultural Capital, Consumption, and Social Networks among Older Adults: A Comparative Study of the United States and Finland.  Funded by Liikesivistysrahasto
  • Consultant to the Fachhochschule der Polizei Brandenburg, Brandenburg, Germany.
  • External Supervisor to Finnish National Graduate School on Social Inequalities.

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