Honorable Mention – 2020 Hubert Morken Best Book in Religion and Politics Award

Honorable Mention:

Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti. What is Christian Democracy? Politics, Religion and Ideology. Cambridge University Press, 2019.


Christian Democratic actors and thinkers have been at the forefront of many of the twentieth century’s key political battles – from the construction of the international human rights regime, through the process of European integration and the creation of postwar welfare regimes, to Latin American development policies during the Cold War. Yet their core ideas remain largely unknown, especially in the English-speaking world. Combining conceptual and historical approaches, Carlo Invernizzi Accetti traces the development of this ideology in the thought and writings of some of its key intellectual and political exponents, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. In so doing he sheds light on a number of important contemporary issues, from the question of the appropriate place of religion in presumptively ‘secular’ liberal-democratic regimes, to the normative resources available for building a political response to the recent rise of far-right populism.


2020 Hubert Morken Best Book in Religion and Politics Award

The winner:

Laura Dudley Jenkins. Religious Freedom and Mass Conversion in India. UPenn Press, 2019.


Hinduism is the largest religion in India, encompassing roughly 80 percent of the population, while 14 percent of the population practices Islam and the remaining 6 percent adheres to other religions. The right to “freely profess, practice, and propagate religion” in India’s constitution is one of the most comprehensive articulations of the right to religious freedom. Yet from the late colonial era to the present, mass conversions to minority religions have inflamed majority-minority relations in India and complicated the exercise of this right.

In Religious Freedom and Mass Conversion in India, Laura Dudley Jenkins examines three mass conversion movements in India: among Christians in the 1930s, Dalit Buddhists in the 1950s, and Mizo Jews in the 2000s. Critics of these movements claimed mass converts were victims of overzealous proselytizers promising material benefits, but defenders insisted the converts were individuals choosing to convert for spiritual reasons. Jenkins traces the origins of these opposing arguments to the 1930s and 1940s, when emerging human rights frameworks and early social scientific studies of religion posited an ideal convert: an individual making a purely spiritual choice. However, she observes that India’s mass conversions did not adhere to this model and therefore sparked scrutiny of mass converts’ individual agency and spiritual sincerity.

Jenkins demonstrates that the preoccupation with converts’ agency and sincerity has resulted in significant challenges to religious freedom. One is the proliferation of legislation limiting induced conversions. Another is the restriction of affirmative action rights of low caste people who choose to practice Islam or Christianity. Last, incendiary rumors are intentionally spread of women being converted to Islam via seduction. Religious Freedom and Mass Conversion in India illuminates the ways in which these tactics immobilize potential converts, reinforce damaging assumptions about women, lower castes, and religious minorities, and continue to restrict religious freedom in India today.


2020 VIRTUAL Business Meeting – September 10

Dear Religion and Politics Section Colleagues,

Our business meeting will take place through APSA’s virtual meeting platform on September 10, at 4:30 pm (mountain time), followed by a virtual reception. All registered participants have access to the program and the platform – there will not be a separate zoom link.

Our business agenda is below. We look forward to seeing you and catching up on Thursday!

Best wishes,
Religion and Politics Section Executive Committee

APSA Religion and Politics
Section Meeting Agenda
9/10/2020 – 4:30-5:30 Mountain Time

Executive Committee 2019- 2020

Nukhet A. Sandal (Chair)
Amy Erica Smith (Chair Elect)
Güneş Murat Tezcür (Secretary/Treasurer)
Rina Williams
Chris Hale
Andrea Hatcher
Andre Audette

2020 Program Chairs

Andrew Lewis
Sultan Tepe


1. Section Chair’s Welcome & Overview (Nukhet Sandal)

2. Treasurer’s report (Güneş Murat Tezcür)

3. Journal report (Elizabeth Oldmixon)

4. Program Chairs’ Report (Sultan Tepe and Andrew Lewis)

5. Religion and Politics Mentoring Program Updates & Discussion (Laura Dudley Jenkins & Brian Calfano)

6. Research Awards Updates (Amy Erica Smith)

7. 2020 Religion and Politics Awards

a. Hubert Morken Best Book in Religion and Politics Award (presented by Rina Williams)
b. Aaron Wildavsky Best Dissertation in Religion and Politics Award (presented by Chris Hale)
c. Kenneth D. Wald Best Graduate Student Paper Award (presented by Güneş Murat Tezcür)
d. Weber Best Conference Paper in Religion and Politics Award (presented by Nukhet Sandal)
e. Ted Jelen Best Journal Article in Politics and Religion Award (presented by Amy Erica Smith)
f. Updates on Susanne Hoeber Rudolph Outstanding Scholar in Religion and Politics Award

8. Introduction of New Section Officers and Program Chairs

9. New business from the floor

Save the date – September 10 – *Virtual* Section Business Meeting

Dear Religion and Politics Section Members,

As part of APSA’s *Virtual* Annual Meeting, our section business meeting will take place on September 10, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm (Mountain Time) which will be followed by the Section reception/social at 5:30 pm- 7pm (Mountain Time).  We will send a Zoom link closer to date, but we wanted to reach out now to make sure that you put the business meeting and reception onto your calendars!

Please keep in mind that, similar to the in-person conventions, attendance in the business meeting and reception will require APSA Annual Meeting registration.

For questions, please contact Section Chair, Nukhet A. Sandal (sandal@ohio.edu).

Reminder-Call for Proposals: Small Grants for Research in Religion and Politics

Reminder-Call for Proposals:
Small Grants for Research in Religion and Politics
Due August 15, 2020

Deadline Approaching: The Religion and Politics section of the American Political Science Association is requesting proposals for small grant awards of up to $3,000 for research on religion and politics. Proposals may address any topic of theoretical, empirical, and practical significance for the study of religion and politics.

Effective proposals will make clear what the author(s) intend to do, why that research is important, and how the project will be executed.

Proposals should have the following components:

  1. Cover Page: This should contain project title, author(s), institutional affiliation(s), title(s), email address(es), and a project abstract of 250 words or less.
  2. Narrative: This text should be no more than three pages, single-spaced, in a standard font. The narrative should have (at a minimum) the following sections:
    • Project Overview
    • Background and Literature Review
    • Research Design and Analysis Plans
      • In the current context of COVID-19, please address the feasibility of any travel plans, and discuss possible modifications that you might need to make.
  1. Brief Budget and Narrative Explaining Budget: Authors may request up to $3,000, though smaller budgets may be viewed favorably.
    • Please note that funds may be used for research purposes, such as hiring of research assistants, survey data collection and interviews, purchasing of data, or travel expenses (e.g., travel, lodging, food, ground transportation).
    • Funds may not be used for salary or honoraria for the researcher. University indirect costs (NDCs) will not be allowed.
  2. Bibliography containing only references cited within the proposal.
  3. Biography(ies): Please limit each author’s biography to no more than 200 words.
  4. CV(s) of author(s)
  5. Applicants who have not completed their PhDs should request a letter of support from their advisor. Letters should be emailed to APSA.Religion.Politics@gmail.com.

Award terms and requirements:

  • Please submit proposals to APSA.Religion.Politics@gmail.com by 11:59 PM on August 15, 2020.
  • Awards will be announced by September 30, 2020.
  • Funds may be spent through September 30, 2021.
  • Applicants must be members of the Religion & Politics section (note that section membership is free to graduate students).
  • Preference will be given to graduate students, recent PhDs, and untenured faculty.
  • Questions may be addressed to Amy Erica Smith, aesmith2@iastate.edu.

Download Microsoft Word Document