Joel Best is a Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Delaware, where his research examines how and why cultures come to focus on particular social problems at various times. Among numerous books, he is the author of Threatened Children (University of Chicago Press, 1990), Random Violence (University of California Press, 1999), and The Stupidity Epidemic: Worrying about Students, Schools, and America’s Future (Routledge, 2011). He is the recipient of the 2012 Francis Alison Faculty Award, the University of Delaware’s highest faculty honor.

Best holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. in history from the University of Minnesota.