RIPT 6 – Religion in Public Talks – Gwyneth McClendon and Elizabeth Sperber on Experimental Evidence of Religious Influence then a panel discussion with Mike Hoffman, Paul Djupe, and perhaps another – May 2, 5-6pm (e)

Series Conveners

Paul A. Djupe, Denison University, Political Science,

Amanda J. Friesen, Western University, Political Science,

Avital Livny, University of Illinois, Political Science,

Matthew R. Miles, BYU-Idaho, Political Science,

We invite you to join us for a monthly set of talks about religion and public life. Across the pandemic, one of the innovations that should remain is virtual gatherings to accompany academic conferences. Though there are many groups and organizations now convening such gatherings, missing from this space has been one focused on religion in public life for the professoriate (that is, beyond the excellent work being done for those in their early career by Shayla Olson and Hilary Zedlitz). This has always been needed since those who study religion in political science and sociology tend not to work in departments that host more than one religion scholar. 

  • Meetings will be the first Monday before the first Tuesday of every month, except during the summer months. 
  • They will last about an hour.
  • We hope to run them from 5-6pm (eastern) via Zoom.
  • Each session will feature two 15-20 minute talks (with 10-15 minutes of discussion). Except this one.
  • We aim for subfield concentrations; that may be comparative vs. American vs. international relations, or may be political behavior vs. institutions vs. social psychology, etc. 
  • Anyone with a PhD (or advanced graduate students) in the social sciences studying religion and public life is welcome to propose a talk  –  contact any or all of our conveners (emails above). 

To receive the Zoom link, you will need to register here. You can register there for one talk or for all talks. If you have registered for all talks, you do not need to register again.

You can always find the list of future and past presenters at the page.

RIPT 6 will be May 2, 2022, 5-6pm (eastern), with Avital Livny (University of Illinois) convening. The presenters and panelists are:

Disentangling the Roles of Civic Information, Self-Efficacy, and Religious Authority in Youth Political Participation: Evidence from a WhatsApp-based Experiment in Zambia
—Elizabeth Sperber (University of Denver), Gwyneth McClendon (NYU), and O’Brien Kaaba (University of Zambia)

Abstract  What kinds of civic education programs prompt young voters to participate in politics? Some scholars point to the importance of providing information; others have focused on cultivating non-cognitive skills and trust. We bring new evidence to this debate from a community-collaborative field experiment around Zambia’s 2021 elections. We randomized young adults into different versions of a WhatsApp course and compare attitudes and behavior after exposure to no civic content, civic information only, and civic information accompanied by either religious or non-religious motivational messages encouraging self efficacy and grit. Because Zambia is a religious country with high trust in religious authorities, we expected the religious course to have the largest effects. Instead, the non-religious non-cognitive skills course was the most effective, particularly among women. The study underscores the promise of non-cognitive skills-focused interventions and cautions against assuming religiously motivated courses will increase political participation, even in highly religious contexts where they abound.  

Elizabeth Sperber is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Denver.
Gwyneth McClendon is Associate Professor of Politics, New York University.
O’Brien Kaaba is Lecturer and Assistant Dean for Research, Faculty of Law, University of Zambia

Religious Influence on Political Participation—A Panel Discussion

Mike Hoffman is Assistant Professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. Michael Hoffman is a comparativist who works on religion and politics, primarily in the Middle East. His first book, Faith in Numbers: Religion, Sectarianism, and Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2021) examines the relationship between communal religious practice and attitudes towards democracy.  

Paul A. Djupe is the director of the new Data for Political Research program at Denison University. His interests include religion and politics, gender and politics, and social networks, and he is the author/editor of a number of books including the now published The Knowledge Polity: Teaching and Research in the Social Sciences (Oxford UP with Amy Erica Smith and Anand Sokhey) and ‘An Epidemic on My People’: Religion, Politics, and COVID-19 in the United States (Temple UP – end of the year, co-edited with Amanda Friesen). He is also the co-founder of the (post list) with Ryan Burge.

To receive the Zoom link, you will need to register here. You can register there for one talk or for all talks. If you have registered for all talks, you do not need to register again. Zoom links will be sent out the afternoon before the talk. We will endeavor to record the session for posterity.

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