M.A., Ph.D. University of Notre Dame
B.A. Eastern Mennonite University
Courses I Teach:
- A special topics course titled "God, Gangs, and Globalization"
- Deviance, Norms, and Social Control
- Introductory Sociology
- Social Problems
- Social Theory
My research focuses on the impact of violence and violent social structures on human flourishing. I want to use the tools of sociology to understand human attraction to violence—especially violence linked to cultural symbols and group identities--and to use this knowledge to inform contextual approaches to de-escalating violent conflict.
My book, Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America (Oxford University Press 2011) takes a close-up look at the lives of 63 former gang members, many of whom joined an evangelical congregation as part of their attempt to extricate themselves from gang violence. Currently, I advise a team of Guatemalan researchers studying the impact of Pentecostal and Catholic Charismatic movements on civic participation and social capital in Guatemala City.
Read My Blog Here:
Robert Brenneman, assistant professor of sociology, in July 2012 was one of two featured guest speakers at a seminar on "Religion and Violence in Central America" at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars" in Washington, D.C. His recent book, Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America, (Oxford, 2011), was recently reviewed very positively in Books & Culture: A Review and in Sociology of Religion, which described the work as an important study with a "wealth of valuable information."