Stuart A. Wright

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Stuart A. Wright is an American Professor of Sociology and Director of Research in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas who has served as a legal expert in several high profile trials in the United States.


Wright is a former National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow (Yale University) and Rockefeller Foundation Scholar (Bellagio, Italy). In 2000, Lamar recognized Wright with a career achievement award as University Scholar.

Wright has authored over fifty publications in scholarly books and journals. He is known internationally for his research on religious and political movements, conflict and violence. Wright was recently working on a cross-national study of government raids on new or minority religious communities to be published by Oxford University Press (coauthored with Susan J. Palmer).

Wright has published five books, including

Wright also serves as legal expert in his field. He has testified in Congressional hearings on state-sect conflict and served as an advisor to the FBI’s FBI Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG). Wright worked as an expert or consultant in the Branch Davidian criminal and civil trials, the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh, the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. and the trials of polygamists after the Texas raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints YFZ Ranch in 2008.

Dr. Wright has served on the Executive Councils of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR), the Religious Research Association (RRA) and the Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR). He has served on the Board of Directors for the Association for the Academic Study of New Religions since its inception in 2001.


  • Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict , University Of Chicago Press (September 20, 1995), ISBN 0-226-90845-3
  • Patriots, Politics, and the Oklahoma City Bombing (Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics), Cambridge University Press (June 30, 2007), ISBN 0-521-69419-1
  • Saints under Siege: The Texas State Raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (with James T. Richardson) (August 2011), New York University Press, ISBN 978-0-8147-9529-3.
  • Storming Zion: Examining Government Raids on New or Nontraditional Religious Communities (with Susan J. Palmer) (forthcoming) Oxford University Press[1]


  1. ^ Wood, Louise (February 2010). "Sect Under Siege". Cardinal Cadence (PDF)|format= requires |url= (help). 38 (1): 13–15. Under contract with Oxford University Press, Wright and Palmer are completing what they believe will be the first comprehensive study ever conducted of government raids on religious communities —from Central and West Texas to European locales. Storming Zion is scheduled for publication in late 2014 or early 2015.