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Rob Eschmann

“Writer, educator, filmmaker, & scholar unraveling racism, inequality, & youth wellbeing.”


About Me

Rob Eschmann is a writer, educator, filmmaker, and scholar from Chicago. He is a proud product of the Chicago Public Schools and received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2017. 

Dr. Eschmann writes on educational inequality, community violence, racism, social media, and youth wellbeing. His research seeks to uncover individual, group, and intuitional-level barriers to racial and economic equity, and he pays special attention to the heroic efforts everyday people make to combat those barriers. 

For Dr. Eschmann, this work is a part of the freedom struggle. The function of racism is to reproduce racial inequality, but in the 21st Century the devices of racism are often hidden behind color-neutral laws or friendly interactions. Highlighting the mechanisms of racism, therefore, can demonstrate the continuing significance of race, raise consciousness, and promote and strengthen resistance efforts.

Dr. Eschmann’s first book, When the Hood Comes Off: Racism and Resistance in the Digital Age, is an engaging and comprehensive exploration of the ways technology and online communication are changing how we experience, understand, and respond to racism, both online and in-person. You can buy it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever books are sold.

Dr. Eschmann is among the first scholars to systematically explore the effects of online experiences on real-world outcomes. From his work on the relationship between online communication and community violence, to his current work on race and racism in the digital era, Dr. Eschmann’s research bridges the gap between virtual and face-to-face experiences. He directs the Digital Race Lab, a research center for studying the effects of online racial discourse on people of Color, and society.

Dr. Eschmann wrote and directed Choose Your Own Resistance, an immersive, multi-perspective film about choosing to challenge racism. Coming out of his research investigating the connection between racism, resistance, and mental health, this film is both art and intervention.

As an educator, Dr. Eschmann is equally comfortable teaching in the college classroom as he is in elementary schools. He is a hip-hop connoisseur who taught kids to rap and think critically about rap in Chicago Public Schools, and continues to use music excerpts as examples when teaching graduate students. 

Dr. Eschmann is an Associate Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and a Faculty Associate at at Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society. Previously he taught at the Boston University School of Social Work, where he also served as the Assistant Director of Research at the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He has taught courses on race, storytelling, urban education, poverty policy, statistics, and program evaluation. 

Dr. Eschmann has published papers in leading journals including Social Problems, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, Annual Reviews in Sociology, Computers in Human Behavior, Social Media + Society, and Youth & Society. He has also written several shorter thought pieces that communicate critical academic ideas in digestible language for The Brink, The Black Scholar and Sociological Lens

Dr. Eschmann is an avid reader and re-reader of fantasy fiction who uses his children as a justification for his continued interest in young-adult fiction and regular trips to the comic book store. In terms of creative endeavors, Dr. Eschmann has co-written and directed several short films for the 48 Hour Film Project Film Festival, and has written and workshopped fiction since his days as a graduate student. He is currently in the midst of his first novel project (stay tuned).

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