Saint Michael’s professor, student receive Fulbright awards
Two members of the Saint Michael’s community, Sociology Professor Robert Brenneman and graduating senior Conor Floyd ’16, are recent recipients of prestigious Fulbright awards, to be used to support extended and intensive international scholarship in the coming year.
As a Fulbright Teaching/Research Fellow for 2016-17, Brenneman will be in Guatemala, splitting his time between teaching a graduate course in Religion and Violence in Guatemala at Universidad Rafael Landivar, Guatemala’s Jesuit university, and conducting research on the rise and impact of the private security industry in that country.
Both aspects of the fellowship are a natural extension of the professor’s previous work studying and writing about the impact religion has in counteracting gang violence in Central America. His book examining the subject, Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America (Oxford University Press), was published in 2012.
Shifting his focus to the burgeoning private security industry in Guatemala, Brenneman will interview current and former private security officers, hired by individuals and families who can afford it, to protect them from gang and other forms of violence and theft. “Because of the nature of violence in that country, people are hopping to ‘islands of security.’ Hired security is everywhere. You’ll even see a bread truck with an armed guard riding along.”
Despite the environment, however, data shows that things are actually improving in Guatemala as investigations are yielding better intelligence to solve higher profile cases and bring them to justice in the courts. It is a complex country undergoing important changes, which make it fertile ground for research.
“I don’t have an explicit hypothesis going in,” says Professor Brenneman. “But I’m looking forward to discovering the questions when I’m there.”
The Saint Michael’s College Sociology-Anthropology Department has had other Fulbright award recipients, including Professor Patricia Delaney, who received a Fulbright Scholarship for teaching and research at the National University of East Timor, and St. Mike’s alum, Alyssa Cuddy ‘14, currently teaching English in Thailand under a post-undergraduate Fulbright award.
expertise abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.