Mahesh Somashekhar

Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago

About Mahesh

Somashekhar's research focuses on how economic development and social inequality affect one another in U.S. cities. Overarching themes in Somashekhar's writings include analyzing how communities deal with business creation and retail change in immigrant neighborhoods, gentrifying areas, and gayborhoods. Somashekhar serves a variety of community efforts. Somashekhar recently provided expert advice to a venture capitalist looking to establish a venture capital fund for minority-owned businesses.

In the News

Opinion: "Why Some Immigrant Entrepreneurs Thrive Where African-American Entrepreneurs Cannot," Mahesh Somashekhar, Work In Progress: Sociology, August 7, 2019.
Research discussed by "Study Examines How Gentrifiers’ Race Affects Retail Development," Chicago Defender, July 24, 2019.


"Racial Inequality between Gentrifiers: How the Race of Gentrifiers Affects Retail Development in Gentrifying Neighborhoods" City and Community (forthcoming).

Shows how retail development, including growth in coffee shops and boutiques, thrives when gentrifiers are white. Shows there is hardly any additional retail growth when gentrifiers are black.

"Neither Here nor There? How the New Geography of Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship Disadvantages African Americans" Social Problems 66, no. 3 (August 2019): 373-391.

Shows how African-American business owners are unable to draw on financial and social support in the same ways that immigrant business owners can in the United States.