James P. Brennan
Professor of History
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1988

Areas of specialization: Modern Latin America

(951) 827-1992


James Brennan specializes in modern Latin American history. Among his interests are industry and labor, the political economy of Latin American populism, the Latin American left, political violence, human rights, and twentieth-century revolution. Brennan taught at Harvard and Georgetown before joining the faculty at UCR in 1996. Brennan is the author of two books and the editor of two others as well as having published a number of journal articles and book chapters. He is now working on two separate research projects. The first is a socio-cultural study of political violence, human rights, and the 'dirty war' in Argentina in the 1970s. The second is a study of world and labor systems, work, community, and environmental change in mining economies in the Americas. Brennan has held postdoctoral fellowships from the Tinker Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Commission, and was a recipient of the University of California President's Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 1999-2000. He was awarded a fellowship for 2010-2011 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to conduct research for the project on political violence in Argentina. During the 2011-12 academic year he was a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C.


I am presently working on two projects: a socio-cultural study of political violence and the ‘dirty war’ in Argentina and an economic-social-environmental history of the global mining industry in the twentieth century. The NEH-funded study of the dirty war makes use of recently declassified archives in Argentina as well as several international archival collections related to the left, political violence, state terrorism, and human rights to explain the causes, character, and legacy of the dirty war. For the mining project, I am coordinating a group of international scholars from Asia, Africa and Latin America to study the political economy of mining, the distinct racial, ethnic and class relations found in mining economies, and the role of the natural environment as both a shaper and product of an extractive industry with global dimensions. As a part of this study, I am conducting research on the Brazilian and Mexican mining industries.


  • Tinker Foundation Summer Dissertation Research Grants, 1983
  • Fulbright-Hays Scholar in Argentina, 1984
  • Tinker Foundation Junior Faculty Research Award, 1989
  • Social Science Research Council Postdoctoral Research Grant, 1990
  • Fulbright "American Republics" Postdoctoral Research Grant, 1993
  • University of California Regents’ Research Fellowship, 1998
  • University of California President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 1999
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, 2010


  • Twentieth-Century World History
  • Che Guevara and the Latin American 1960s
  • Nineteenth-Century Latin America
  • Twentieth-Century Latin America
  • Environmental History of the Americas
  • Modern Argentina
  • Modern Brazil
  • Theory and Methods: Labor History