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2022_10_07 Yale Poly Sci Matthew Denney_Lavitt-9327_R.jpg


I am a postdoctoral fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. I received my B.A. from Wheaton College (IL) and my PhD in Political Science from Yale University. I study how faith communities work toward justice and the common good amidst structural constraints. I am working on a book project on the response of Black faith communities to race and policing in the United States. I trace how Black churches and faith communities have responded to policing as a gateway for seeking a broader racial justice. This project, which began as my dissertation, draws on interviews, focus groups, participant observation, quantitative analysis, and historical-archival research. I have also written on the historical development of policing, the effects of college-in-prison, and COVID-19 in detention centers and prisons. My current work includes a project on housing inequality and responses to it, and a project on congregations and other Christian ministries in the United States (with Hahrie Han).

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