Ruth Braunstein

Ruth Braunstein

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Office: 331 Manchester Hall
Phone: (860) 486-5306

PhD, 2013, New York University
M.A., 2008, New York University
B.S., 2003, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University



Ruth Braunstein is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. Her research explores the diverse ways in which ordinary citizens across the political spectrum participate in American public life, and the complex roles of religion and culture in these efforts. Her research has been published in the American Sociological ReviewContexts, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and Qualitative Sociology, among other outletsShe is currently completing a book based on a comparative ethnographic study of progressive faith-based community organizing and Tea Party activism, entitled Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide; and an edited volume exploring the role of religion in progressive politics, entitled Religion and Progressive Activism: Understanding Faith and Politics in America.

Ruth is a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University, a core faculty member of the UConn Humanities Institute’s Public Discourse Project, and, during 2015-2016, a Public Discourse Project Faculty Fellow.  During 2014-2015, she was an American Fellow of AAUW.  She is also a member of the Editorial Board of The Immanent Frame, a digital forum on secularism, religion and the public sphere published by the Social Science Research Council’s program on Religion and the Public Sphere, for which she previously served as a consultant.

She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, where she studied international culture and politics.


Braunstein, Ruth. 2015. “The Tea Party Goes to Washington: Mass Demonstrations as Performative and Interactional Processes.” Qualitative Sociology 38(4): 1-22. (Lead article)

Yukich, Grace and Ruth Braunstein. 2014. “Encounters at the Religious Edge: Variation in Religious Expression Across Interfaith Advocacy and Social Movement Spaces.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 53(4): 791-807.

Braunstein, Ruth, Brad Fulton, and Richard L. Wood. 2014. “The Role of Bridging Cultural Practices in Racially and Socioeconomically Diverse Civic Organizations.” American Sociological Review 79(4): 705-25.

Braunstein, Ruth. 2014. “Who are ‘We the People’? Multidimensional identity work in the Tea Party,” Pp. 149-173 in Understanding the Tea Party Movement, Nella Van Dyke and David S. Meyer, Eds. Ashgate.

Braunstein, Ruth. 2012. “Storytelling in liberal religious advocacy.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51(1):110-127.

Braunstein, Ruth. 2011. “Who are ‘We the People’?” Contexts, Spring 2011.

Manza, Jeff and Ruth Braunstein. 2008. “Beyond the Ballot Box: Social Groups and Voting in Democratic Elections.” Harvard International Review, 30(1): 40-43.