Bobby Alexander

Associate Professor of Sociology
Tags: Sociology Social Data Analytics and Research

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Religious Studies/Social-Scientific Study of Religion
Columbia University, and Union Theological Seminary - 1985
Ph.D. - Systematic Theology
Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York - 1985
M.Phil. - Religious Studies
Columbia University, New York - 1981
M.Div. - Systematic Theology
Union Theological Seminary, New York - 1976
B.A. - Religion and English Literature
Baylor University - 1973

Research Areas

Research Interests

Dr. Alexander's research treats religion and social change.  Informed by theories of religion and ritual as agents of change found in sociology, anthropology, Religious Studies, and Ritual Studies, his research examines social change within the overlap of religion and other social forces.  A special focus has been ways in which minority and marginal social groups have engaged their religious institutions, ideologies/theologies, and ritual within the context of broader patterns of social conflict and change.  Alexander currently is working on a book monograph and related journal articles on the contribution of religion and Mexican immigrant women’s leadership in their churches to assimilation of these women and their families into U.S. society and various social institutions.  He is working on a co-authored journal article on performance of credibility in pursuit of political asylum, a concept emerging in the legal literature. 


Barriers Faced by Hispanic Students Transferring from Community Colleges to University: An Ethnographic Approach, edited by Bobby C. Alexander and Victor Garcia.  Lewis, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press. 2012 - Publication
"Rites of Passage."  Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago, Illinois. 2011 - Publication
"Liminal/Liminality." Vocabulary for the Study of Religion, edited by Kocku von Stuckrad and Robert Segal.  Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. 2011 - Publication
"Public Art in the Ritual Construction of Human Community." Holy Hiatus: Art as Ritual and Community, edited by Ruth Jones. London: Parthian Books. 2010 - Publication


Associate Professor of Sociology
UTD [2002–Present]
College Master and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies
UTD [1999–2002]
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Southern Methodist University [1986–1993]
Dedman College
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Hunter College of The City University of New York
Adjunct Lecturer in Religious Studies
Hunter College of The City University of New York


Bobby C. Alexander
2010–2018 “Ritual Liminality as ‘Holy Play.’”  Symposium: “Holy Hiatus: Performing Ritual, Community, and Space,” Cardigan, Wales, September 25, 2010, organized by the University of West England.

Additional Information

Professional Organizations
  • American Academy of Religion, 1986-present
Ritual Studies Group, Steering Committee, 1987-1990
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1986-2000
Awards and Fellowships
• Coolidge Fellow CrossCurrents: The Association for Religion and Intellectual Life Research Colloquium, with cooperation from Columbia University and Union  Theological Seminary, New York, New York, July 5-28, 2006   • Resident The Rockefeller Foundation Residency, The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study and Conference Center  Bellagio, Italy, July 15-August 13, 2004            
Teaching Awards and Nominations
  • Outstanding EPPS Faculty Comet Award, presented by the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences, UTD, Spring 20112 6
    • This award is based on student nominations.
  • Distinguished Teacher in Diversity and Multicultural Education Award, presented by
    • UTD Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, Spring 2011
  • Student Choice Teaching Award, presented by the students in the School of Social Sciences, UTD, Fall 1996, and Spring 2001
    • The award is given by students.
  • Nominee, Chancellors Council Outstanding Teaching Award, UTD, 1996, and 1997
  • Nominee, Margareta Deschner Teacher Award, nominated by female students andawarded by the Womens Center, Southern Methodist University, 1988-1989, 1989-1990, and 1990-1991


Professional Memberships
  • American Academy of Religion, 1986-present
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1986-2000
University Activities and Commitees


  • Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects (Institutional Review Board)
  • Faculty Advisor, UTD Intercultural Women’s Society
  • Faculty Advisor, UTD Baha’i Club
Member: Friends of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (Yale ISM)

Members of this body advise the Director of the Yale University ISM (2007-present).


American Academy of Religion


The Asylum Research Project
$35,000 - The Overbrook Foundation [2007–2009]
An Ethnographic/Social Science/Community-Based Model to Recruit and Retain Hispanics
$600,000 - U.S. Department of Education (FIPSE) [1999–2004]