Derese Kassa, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology

Chair, Criminal Justice & Sociology Department

Derese Kassa
Murphy Center, Room 113 I
(914) 633-2596 (914) 633-2596


  • Ph.D., University of Louisville
  • MA, University of Bath
  • BA, Addis Ababa University

Dr. Derese Kassa teaches courses in introduction to sociology, race and ethnic relations, urban society, sociology of family and social problems. His research interests include issues of wellbeing, urban development, urban public places, urban commons and state-society relations in East Africa. Dr. Kassa is a member of the African Studies Association and the American Political Science Association and his doctoral dissertation, “Stranded Strangers: Ethiopian Refugees and the Quest for Urban Citizenship in Nairobi, Kenya,” won the Best Dissertation Award of the Department of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville in May 2013.


  • Kassa, Derese Getachew, 2018. Refugee Spaces and Urban Citizenship in Nairobi: Africa’s Sanctuary City. Maryland: Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc

Other Publications

  • Kassa, Derese G (2020), “Beyond the Limits of Theory: Qualifying Electoral Authoritarianism in Ethiopia (2005-2015)”, The South African Review of Sociology (SARS), Taylor and Francis Group, Routledge Publishers, Vol. 51, Issue 1.
  • Kassa, Derese G (2017), “Right to the African City: New Frontiers for Theorizing Urban Citizenship”, Notes and Records: The International Journal of African and African diaspora Studies, Vol. II Number 1, Kentucky State University Press.
  • Kassa, Derese G (2016), “The Obama Presidency and the Quest for Democracy in Africa" in International Journal of Ethiopian Studies Vol. X. No 1&2, TSEHAI Publishers.

Web Publications

  • Derese Getachew Kassa (Nov. 2019), “Refugee Spaces and Urban Citizenship in Nairobi: Africa’s Sanctuary City”, 62nd Annual Meeting of African Studies Association, Boston Marriot Copley Place, Boston, MA.
  • Derese Getachew Kassa (Sep. 2018), “Refugee Spaces and Urban Citizenship in Nairobi, Kenya”, Yale Macmillan Center, Program on Refugees, Seminar Series of the Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses (PRFDHR), Yale University, New Haven.
  • Derese Getachew Kassa (Feb. 2018), “Right to the African City: New Frontiers for Theorizing Urban Citizenship”, in the Annual Conference of the Eastern Sociological Society, February 22-25, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Derese Getachew Kassa (April 2017), “The Obama Presidency and the Quest for Democracy in Africa: Legacy or Interlude?” 98th Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association (SSSA), Austin, Texas, April 12-17, 2017.
  • Derese Getachew Kassa (2017), “Beyond Grievances: Roadblocks to Ethiopia’s Democratization and the Ethnic Factor,” Ethiopia in Crisis Summit, organized by Stanford University and the Ethiopian-American Council, January 21-22, 2017.
  • Derese Getachew Kassa (2016), “Post-Colonial States in Africa: Land and the National Question of Oromo People in Ethiopia,” Keynote Speaker on the “Africa Initiative” (AI) Speakers Series of Syracuse University’s Department of African American Studies, February 11, 2016.