Skip to content


I am trained as an anthropologist, with a PhD from Teachers College, Columbia University. I’m involved with a variety of real world and academic projects, primarily in New York City, and I was fortunate to have learned from colleagues at John Jay College, the potential that network theory holds for advancing these interests. I normally need to learn things twice before they actually stick in my head; I was the lead ethnographer on a 3-year project in the early 1990s that examined networks of injection drug users in Brooklyn, but the potential of this approach to advance theory, policy and practice never really occurred to me until the mid-2000s when a cadre of scientists who could take network analysis to the next level began to emerge. Since then, network theory and analysis has informed some very practical matters for me, for example, the ways that outreach work is performed at the three “harm reduction” non-profit agencies where I serve as Board Chair. Network theory and analysis has also proved useful helping us learn about a whole range of “hidden populations” in the New York City area, including drug dealers and users, sex workers, victims of violence, and illegal immigrants. Going forward, I hope to continue working with colleagues to bring network approaches to fields that might benefit from fresh perspectives, particularly in the areas of crime and public safety.

Ric Curtis