By Paul A. Djupe and Angelia R. Wilson
One of the exciting features of this blog is its integration with the APSA Religion and Politics Section Journal, Politics & Religion. These are exciting times in the section and at the journal in part because of the slew of new awards the section is able to give out. One of them that we had the privilege of being involved with is The Ted G. Jelen Award for the best article published in the journal for each volume. First a word about Ted.
Ted (PhD OSU 1979) is an outstanding political scientist with a special relationship to the subfield and journal. He was a founding member of the organized section and was the co-founding editor of Politics & Religion with Sabrina Ramet in 2007, handing it over to Angie and I in great shape after five years (volumes from 2008-2011). But that scratches the surface of Ted’s service to the subfield. Ted has served on innumerable award committees, was the editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and has shared his expertise regularly with authors as panel discussant. There is arguably no political scientist who has helped other scholars more to move their religion and politics ideas to print than Ted.
The first volume considered covered 2016 (vol 10). We had a wealth of articles from which choose the inaugural award winner and it was difficult to settle on just one. In the end, we chose:
Gershon, Sarah Allen, Adrian D. Pantoja, and J. Benjamin Taylor. 2016. “God in the Barrio?: The Determinants of Religiosity and Civic Engagement among Latinos in the United States.” Politics & Religion 9(1): 84-110.
The piece challenges the conventional wisdom that religious engagement is tightly tied to political activity, finding that the tether weakens across the generations of Latinos in the US. The paper also demonstrates that Latinos are secularizing along with other Americans, but is able to conclude that a vibrant public sphere does not have to suffer as a result.