james brennan

Dr. James Brennan


Ph.D. Harvard University, 1988

Research Areas

Modern Latin America

Political Economy

Industry and Labor

Human Rights

Environment and Public Health

Courses Taught
  • Twentieth-Century World History
  • Che Guevara and the Latin American 1960s
  • Nineteenth-Century Latin America
  • Twentieth-Century Latin America
  • The United States and Latin America since 1930
  • Global Human Rights
  • Modern Argentina: Democracy and Dictatorship
  • Modern Brazil: State and Society
Contact Information
Department of History

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, twentieth-century revolution and the history of capitalism. Brennan taught at Harvard and Georgetown before joining the faculty at UCR in 1996. Brennan is the author of three books and the editor of two others as well as having published a number of journal articles and book chapters. He 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 research fellowship for 2010-2011 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and during the 2011-12 academic year he was a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C.



I have begun a new book-length research project, a history of energy in the Americas during the Second Industrial Revolution (1870—1930), a kind of labor history but one focused on issues of health and the environment rather than labor history’s traditional concerns with unions, workers’ identity and politics. The project examines coal mining and coal miners in the Americas, addressing the geology and economics of coal, the role of energy in the global economy, the environmental impact of coal, and also its effects on miners’ health, including mining accidents. The project reflects my recent interest in environmental history and the history of public health as well as my long-standing interest in the history of capitalism.

I am also writing a series of essays comparing various themes in Latin America’s modern history (demography, industrialization, labor politics, race, political culture) to that of the United States.

Awards Received
  • 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
  • Woodrow Wilson Center International Center for Scholars Fellowship, 2011