I am currently Senior Lecturer in Sociology within the Department of Social Science at Liverpool Hope University. Previously (2013-2014), I taught within the School of Government at Plymouth University, and prior to that (2008-2012), was Associate Professor in Sociology, head of the Sociology section within a combined department of Archaeology and Sociology, and Director of the Center for Death Education & Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, USA. Between 1996-2005 I taught Sociology at the Universities of Warwick, Leicester and Coventry.
I have a PhD in Sociology from the University of Warwick (2004); an MA in Social & Political Thought, also from the University of Warwick (1999); and a BA in Applied Sociology (First Class Hons.) from the University of Leicester (1996). I also possess a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) from Plymouth University (2013) and am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
My research interests are located primarily in the sociology of death and dying, and my work has been published widely in book form, in academic journals (including Mortality; Death Studies; Sociology; Omega: Journal of Death & Dying; and Illness, Crisis & Loss), as chapters in edited book collections, and in educational, professional and practice-driven outlets such as the 'A' Level journal Sociology Review, the British Sociological Association's (BSA) Network, the Association for Death Education and Counseling's (ADEC) Forum and Nursing Standard - the journal of the UK's Royal College of Nursing. Recent books include The A-Z of Death & Dying (2014) and Mourning & Disaster (2008). An edited collection of essays, Theorising the Popular, is forthcoming and will be published in 2017.
I am currently engaged in several ongoing research projects, including: on public dying and 'pathography' (i.e. first-person narrative accounts of long-term sickness, terminal illness and/or bereavement); the methodological uses and intersection of biography in death, dying and bereavement; public commemoration and memory focusing on the 'weeping window' exhibition of poppies marking the anniversary of the First World War; and the relationship between culture and loss as manifested in industrial ruination and dereliction tourism. I regularly present my work at conferences and in the last couple of years have contributed talks at the Centre for Death and Society's (CDAS) annual conference in Bath; the British Sociological Association's Death, Dying and Bereavement study group symposium; and at the Royal Geographical Society's (RGB) conference in London. I was recently a keynote speaker at the Materiality of Mourning workshop sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and hosted at the University of Warwick. I also serve on the editorial board of the journals Memory Studies, Methodological Innovations, and Illness, Crisis & Loss and regularly as a reviewer for journals including Mortality, American Journal of Sociology, Death Studies and Theory, Culture & Society.
I currently deliver teaching across all levels of the BA undergraduate programme and contribute to the MA programme in Sociology at Liverpool Hope University. My teaching reflects my research interests and is concentrated in the areas of social theory, qualitative methods, the sociology of health and illness, sociology of religion and in specialist (and interdisciplinary) areas of academic interest such as death, dying and bereavement and the sociology of the Holocaust. I welcome interest from PhD students with sociological research interests in death and dying or any of the areas of special interest highlighted above.
Brennan, M. (ed.) (2017) Theorising the Popular. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Brennan, M. (ed.) (2014) The A-Z of Death and Dying: Social, Medical and Cultural Aspects. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Brennan, M. (2008) Mourning and Disaster: Finding Meaning in the Mourning for Hillsborough and Diana. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Brennan, M. (2017) 'Closure for the 96? Sudden Death, Traumatic Loss and the New Hillsborough Inquests', in Thompson, N., Cox, G. and Stevenson, R. (eds.) Handbook of Traumatic Loss: A Guide to Theory and Practice (pp. 233-250). London and New York: Routledge.
Brennan, M. (2017) 'Christopher Hitchens, Public Dying and the Cultural Public Sphere', in Brennan, M. (ed.) Theorising the Popular (pp. 61-88). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Brennan, M. (2017) 'Why the Popular Matters', in Brennan, M. (ed.) Theorising the Popular (pp. 1-8). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Brennan, M. (2017) 'Emile Durkheim', in Thompson, N. & Cox, G. (eds.) Handbook of the Sociology of Death, Grief and Bereavement (pp. 13-30). London and New York: Routledge.
Croxall, J. and Brennan, M. (2017) 'Max Weber', in Thompson, N. & Cox, G. (eds.) Handbook of the Sociology of Death, Grief and Bereavement (pp. 31-45). London and New York: Routledge.
Brennan, M. and Letherby, G. (2018, forthcoming) 'Auto/Biographical Approaches to Researching Death and Dying: Connections, Continuums, Contrasts', in Borgstrom, E., Ellis, J. and Woodthorpe, K. (eds.) Researching Death, Dying and Bereavement. London and New York: Routledge.
Brennan, M. (2006) 'Echoes of Loss: Condolence Books and Collective Memory in the Mourning for Hillsborough', in Brown, A. (ed.) Historical Perspectives on Social Identities (pp. 154-170). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
Brennan, M. and Letherby, G. (2017) 'Auto/Biographical Approaches to Researching Death and Dying: Connections, Continuums, Contrasts', Mortality, 22(2): 155-169.
Brennan, M. (2017) 'Christopher Hitchens' Public Dying: Toward a Secular-Humanist Ars Moriendi?', Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, forthcoming.
Brennan, M. (2015) 'Loss, Bereavement and Creativity: Meanings and Uses', Illness, Crisis and Loss, 23(4): 1-19.
Brennan, M. (2012) 'Men and Grief', Illness, Crisis and Loss, 20(1): 71-75.
Brennan, M. (2011) 'Explaining Religion', Sociology Review, 20(3): 30-33.
Brennan, M. (2010) 'International Conference on Death, Grief and Bereavement', Illness, Crisis and Loss, 18(1): 65-68.
Brennan, M. (2009) 'Public Mourning and the Legacy of Hillsborough - 20 Years on', Illness, Crisis and Loss, 17(3): 261-264.
Brennan, M. (2008) 'Mourning and Loss: Finding Meaning in the Mourning for Hillsborough', Mortality, 13(1): 1-23.
Brennan, M. (2008) 'Condolence Books: Language and Meaning in the Mourning for Hillsborough and Diana', Death Studies, 32(4): 326-351.
Brennan, M. (2005) 'Death and Dying', Sociology Review, 14(3): 26-28.
Brennan, M. (2004) 'Social Factors are Important in Patient Care: Sociology has its lace in nurse education', Nursing Standard, 19(5): 25.
Brennan, M. (2001) 'Some Sociological Contemplations on Daniel J. Goldhagen's "Hitler's Willing Executioners", Theory, Culture and Society, 18(4): 83-109.
Brennan, M. (2001) 'Towards a Sociology of Public Mourning', Sociology, 35(1): 83-109.
Brennan, M. (1998) 'Choosing Ill Health? Gender, Class and Health Behaviour', Sociology Review, 7(3): 23-26.