Books To Watch For


By Andrew R. Lewis

A couple months ago, I asked for forthcoming books on religion and politics so that we could help promote them. I’m excited to release the first iteration.

These are some exciting books, and I am hopeful that it helps spread the word about the great work being done. Please share with your networks!

We will do this again in the summer. If you have a book that is about to be released, send me an email.

Margolis bookFrom Politics to the Pews: How Partisanship and the Political Environment Shape Religious Identity, by Michele F. Margolis (Chicago). June 2018.

From Politics to the Pews shows that individuals’ partisan identities profoundly shape their levels of engagement in the religious sphere. The findings refute the conventional wisdom that America’s current polarization is solely the product of religious sorting into the political parties, with seculars supporting the Democrats and the devout joining the Republican ranks. Instead, partisans also help produce this religious-political polarization, as Democrats select out of organized religion and Republicans select into it.

knoll book
She Preached the Word: Women’s Ordination in Modern America, by Benjamin Knoll and Cammie Jo Bolin (Oxford). July 2018.

Drawing on nationally-representative public opinion survey data and dozens of oral interview transcripts, She Preached the Word offers a timely and comprehensive examination of support for women’s ordination in America’s congregations and the effect of female clergy on those in the pews. It is an essential contribution to our understanding of the intersection of gender, religion, and politics in contemporary American society.

Wald textbookReligion and Politics in the United States, 8th Edition, by Kenneth D. Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown. (Rowman & Littlefield). January 2018.

Kenneth D. Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown have published the eighth edition of their influential textbook, Religion and Politics in the United States. Like its predecessors, the new edition presents an evidenced-based, social-scientific approach to religion in the political sphere. In this edition, the authors have given more emphasis to religion as a form of social identity that shapes ideas about politics and spills over into the behavior of political elites and ordinary citizens, the interpretation of public laws, and the development of government programs. The book has also been updated to cover new development in the political world (the 2016 election and Donald Trump’s outreach to evangelicals) and important new research.  To make the book even more classroom friendly, it includes all new discussion questions and further readings at the end of each chapter, as well as a companion website featuring self-quizzes (

Calfano book (muslims)Muslims, Identity, and American Politics, by Brian Calfano (Routledge). April 2018.

Calfano provides an examination of the pressures faced by Muslims, often considered political and social outsiders in western nations, especially in the United States. Though citizens and second generation residents in many cases, American Muslims face a combination of suspicion, government scrutiny, and social segregation in the United States, despite significant education and economic assimilation in America. The crux of the investigation advanced here centres on how group influence, emotions, and religious interpretation contribute to the political orientation and behaviour of a national sample of Muslims living in the American context. This book has wide relevance and will be of interest to scholars researching Muslims and political participation across the fields of political science, history, sociology, and religion.

The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics_Cover
The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars [paperback], by Andrew R. Lewis (Cambridge). April 2018.

The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics, now out in paperback, documents a recent, fundamental change in American politics with the waning of Christian America. Rather than conservatives emphasizing morality and liberals emphasizing rights, both sides now wield rights arguments as potent weapons to win political and legal battles and build grassroots support. Lewis documents this change on the right, focusing primarily on evangelical politics. Lewis explains how the prototypical culture war issue – abortion – motivated the conservative rights turn over the past half century, serving as a springboard for rights learning and increased conservative advocacy in other arenas. Challenging the way we think about the culture wars, Lewis documents how rights claims are used to thwart liberal rights claims, as well as to provide protection for evangelicals, whose cultural positions are increasingly in the minority.


Andrew R. Lewis is an Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars (Cambridge, 2017). You can follow him on Twitter and see more of his research on his personal website.

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