Ruth Braunstein

Assistant Professor of Sociology

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. A cultural sociologist interested in the role of religion in American political life, her research explores the practices, discourses, narratives and ideals of activists across the political spectrum. Her research has been published in the American Sociological ReviewContexts, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, and Qualitative Sociology, among other outlets

Her first book, Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide, a comparative ethnographic study of progressive faith-based community organizing and Tea Party activism, was recently published by the University of California Press. She is also the co-editor of a volume exploring the role of religion in progressive politics, entitled Religion and Progressive Activism: New Stories About Faith and Politics, published by NYU Press. Her current research explores ongoing contests between defenders of Christian nationalism and religious pluralism; the ways in which accusations of incivility structure American politics and protest; and the roles of taxpaying and tax resisting in constructions of good citizenship and morality in the United States.

Ruth is a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and a core faculty member of the UConn Humanities Institute’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life Project. During 2015-2016, she was a Public Discourse Project Faculty Fellow, and during 2014-2015, 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 an M.A. and 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. 2017. Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide. University of California Press.

Braunstein, Ruth, Todd Nicholas Fuist, and Rhys H. Williams, Eds. 2017. Religion and Progressive Activism: New Stories about Faith and Politics. NYU Press.

Braunstein, Ruth and Malaena Taylor. 2017. “Is the Tea Party a “Religious” Movement? Religiosity in the Tea Party versus the Religious Right.Sociology of Religion 78(1): 33-59.

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.

Ruth Braunstein
Contact Information
Curriculum Vitae Ruth Braunstein
Office Location331 Manchester Hall