Associate Professor

Office: Social Sciences 427
Phone: 773-834-8970

B.A. University of Chicago, 1994
M.A. Harvard University, 1997
Ph.D. Harvard University, 2000


Omar M. McRoberts is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and The College.

McRoberts' scholarly and teaching interests include the sociology of religion, urban sociology, urban poverty, race, and collective action.

His first book, Streets of Glory: Church and Community in a Black Urban Neighborhood is based on an ethnographic study of religious life in Four Corners: a poor, predominantly black neighborhood in Boston containing twenty-nine congregations. It explains the high concentration, wide variety, and ambiguous social impact of religious activity in the neighborhood. It won the 2005 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

McRoberts currently is conducting a study of black religious responses to, and influences on, social welfare policy since the New Deal, culminating with George W. Bush's Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. He is also initiating an ethnographic project on cultures of death and dying among black congregations in low-income urban contexts.


Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture

Selected Publications

"Beyond Mysterium Tremendum: Thoughts toward the aesthetic study of religious experience," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2004

"H. Richard Niebuhr meets the street," Taking Faith Seriously: Valuing and Evaluating Religion in American Liberal Democracy, Harvard University Press, 2004

Streets of Glory: Church and Community in a Black Urban Neighborhood, University of Chicago Press, 2004

"Black Church .Activism' in an Urban Religious District," Handbook for the Sociology of Religion, Cambridge University Press, 2003

"Black Churches, Community, and Development," Shelterforce, 2001

"Religion and the Boston Miracle: the Effect of Black Ministry on Youth Violence," Who Will Provide?: The Changing Role of Religion in American Social Welfare, Westview Press, 2000