Faculty Profile

Robert Balch

Robert Balch

Professor Emeritus

Email: rob.balch@umontana.edu
Office: Social Sciences 325
Office Hours:

Teaching Fal 2019.

Current Position

Professor Emeritus


Spring 2018:

SOCI 130S.01 Sociology of Alternative Religions


B.A. Sociology, Arizona State University, 1966

M.A. Sociology, Arizona State University, 1968

Ph.D. Sociology, University of Oregon, 1972

Research Interests

How new religions originate and change over time; commitment-building processes; conversion and defection; charismatic leadership

Field of Study

New religious movements, collective behavior, deviance

Selected Publications

Robert W. Balch. 1982. "Bo and Peep: A Case Study of the Origins of Messianic Leadership." Pp. 13-72 in Millennialism and Charisma, edited by Roy Wallis. Belfast: The Queen’s University.

Robert W. Balch, Gwen Farnsworth, and Sue Wilkins. 1983. "When the Bombs Drop: Reactions to Disconfirmed Prophecy in a Millennial Sect." Sociological Perspectives 26:136-158.

Robert W. Balch. 1995. "Charisma and Corruption in the Love Family: Toward a Theory of Corruption Charismatic Cults." Pp. 155-179 in Sex, Lies, and Sanctity: Religion and Deviance in Contemporary North America, edited by Mary Jo Neitz and Marion Goldman. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Robert W. Balch, John Domitrovich, Barbara Mahnke, and Vanessa Morrison. 1997. "Fifteen Years of Failed Prophecy: Coping with Cognitive Dissonance in a Baha’i Sect." In Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem, edited by Thomas Robbines and Susan Palmer. London: Routledge.

Robert W. Balch. 1999. "Making Sense of the Heaven’s Gate Suicides." Pp. 109-228 in Cults, Religion, and Violence, edited by David G. Bromley and J. Gordon Melton. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Robert W. Balch. 2006. "The Rise and Fall of Aryan Nations: A Resource Mobilization Perspective." Journal of Political and Military Sociology 34 (summer): 81-113.

Robert W. Balch and David Taylor. 2011. "Seekers and Saucers: The Role of the Cultic Milieu in Joining a UFO Cult." In Heaven’s Gate: Postmodernity and Popular Culture in a Suicide Group, edited by George Chryssides. Farnham: Ashgate.