Executive Council Candidate List – From the Chair

Dear section colleagues:

At our upcoming business meeting on 9/1 all section members will have the opportunity to vote for 3 new members for a 2-year term to the Executive Council. This announcement contains the bios of each of the 10 candidates, in alphabetical order, as well as the relevant information from Section 5 of the section by-laws for those interested in how we will proceed with the election. The current Executive Council has decided not to endorse a slate of candidates, which is optional according to the by-laws.

As a reminder, the meeting will be held at 6:30pm in Room 104-A of the PA Convention Center on Sept. 1st, followed by a reception.

Thanks in advance for reviewing these materials.

Candidate bios for APSA Section 11 (Religion and Politics) Executive Council election (2-year term), listed in alphabetical order:

1. Gizem Arikan

I am an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of International Relations at Yasar University, Izmir, Turkey. I study the psychological mechanisms that underlie the effect of religiosity on various political attitudes using both cross-national survey data and experiments carried out in multiple political settings. My works on the effects of religiosity on political attitudes have been published in journals such as American Political Science Review, British Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, and International Journal of Public Opinion Research. I am also winner of Turkish Academy of Sciences 2015 Young Scientist Outstanding Achievement Award (GEBIP) and Science Academy‘s Young Scientist Award 2016. I have relevant professional service experience in international organizations. I have served as the Co-chair of the Junior Scholars Committee of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) between 2013 and 2015, and I am a Governing Council member of Society since 2015. I am also an occasional referee for various journals including American Political Science Review, Political Psychology, Political Research Quarterly, Political Behaviour, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Politics and Religion, and International Journal of Public Opinion Research. Website: http://garikan.yasar.edu.tr

2. Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom

Bloom is a Senior Lecturer with Tenure (U.S. Associate Professor) at the Department of Political Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in comparative political behavior and political psychology. Her research examines how religion and values form the basis of political behavior, and specifically how religiosity and moral values both hinder and enhance democratic norms (such as tolerance, support for democracy, social justice, country-level human rights, and good governance). She is the director of the Political Psychology Laboratory at the Hebrew University and a recipient of over 250000$ in grants including the Marie Curie Grant from the European Union and grants from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Her work appears in the leading venues of the field, such as The American Political Science Review, British Journal of Political Science, PLoS One, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Political Psychology and Political Behavior. She served as Co-Program Chair and Organizing Committee Member for the Annual Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), served on several ISPP and ISPSA committees, and frequently leads workshops and panels on religion and politics and political psychology in local and international conferences. She is a prize-winning scholar; her dissertation won the Best Dissertation Award from both ISPP and ISPSA, she was granted the prestigious Gillon lectureship at Hebrew University and appointed as a Golda Meir Fellow.

3. Ryan L. Claassen

Ryan L. Claassen is associate professor of Political Science at Kent State University.  He teaches a variety of courses in the areas of quantitative research methods, American politics, and political behavior – at both the doctoral and undergraduate levels at KSU. His research interests include religion and politics, political participation, citizen competence, public opinion, election administration, interest groups, and racial and ethnic politics.  He has published religion and politics research in the Journal of Politics and in "Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans?  Party Activists, Party Capture, and the ‘God Gap’" (Cambridge University Press 2015).  He was the Section Chair for Religion and Politics at the 2015 annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association and is currently working on a co-edited book (with Paul Djupe, Denison University) titled, “The Evangelical Crackup:  Will the Evangelical-Republican Coalition Last?”  He has appeared on local public opinion panels with John C. Green (University of Akron) and cowrites with Quin Monson (Brigham Young University)—both active members of the section.

4. Nandini Deo

Nandini Deo is an associate professor at Lehigh University.  Her most recent book is Mobilizing Religion and Gender in India (Routledge 2015), which is a political history of Hindu nationalism and the women’s movement in India.  She is currently working on an edited volume on postsecular feminisms, which examines how feminist thought must adapt to the post-secular turn in social science and society.  She received her doctorate from Yale University as a comparativist with a secondary focus on political theory.  Deo teaches courses on South Asian politics and Religion and Politics to undergraduate and graduate students.

5. Laura Dudley Jenkins

Laura Dudley Jenkins is Professor of Political Science and Director of the International Human Rights Certificate at the University of Cincinnati. Her current research is on historical and contemporary mass conversions and the politics of religious freedom in India, with a focus on ways “religious freedom” arguments and laws have undermined the rights of women and religious minorities. She has received two Fulbright fellowships for research, in India and South Africa. Jenkins’ articles, books, and chapters related to religion and politics include her research on affirmative action for Muslim minorities in South Asia, mass conversion to Buddhism as a form of political mobility, gender and religious family law systems, and India’s “anxious secularism.” As President of the South Asian Muslim Studies Association, she works to connect scholars from different disciplines and regions to create conference panels and exchange ideas. She would be honored to expand such work if chosen for the Executive Council of the Religion and Politics Section.

6. Ahmed Khanani

Ahmed is Assistant Professor of Politics at Earlham College. His areas of research and teaching include Islamic Politics, the contemporary Modern Middle East and North Africa, and Democracy and Human Rights in the Muslim World. Ahmed’s current book project draws on two years of fieldwork (funded by Fulbright (IIE), FLAS, and POMEPS grants) and employs Wittgensteinian-inspired ordinary language philosophy to examine how Moroccan Islamists articulate democracy. Drawing on over 100 focus groups and interviews, his research reveals that Moroccan Islamists present a rich and multifaceted articulation of democracy that challenges Western democratic theory in part because religion and politics are, for his interlocutors, invariably intertwined. His next project involves unpacking the meaning and practices of human rights by Islamists in the Middle East and North Africa. Ahmed would be thrilled to serve on this council and hopes to bring his understanding of the Muslim tradition to the table.

7. Matthew Scherer

Matthew Scherer is an assistant professor of Government and Politics at George Mason University. He served as division chair of the Religion & Politics section for this year's annual APSA conference. His primary areas of research are secularism, political theologies, and religion and politics. His first book, Beyond Church and State: Democracy, Secularism, and Conversion was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. His current book project is tentatively titled Secular Exceptions. He recently published one part of this project on religious freedom in American law in Politics & Religion, and another part on modern secularism in The Hedgehog Review. He greatly values the multi-disciplinary intellectual space created within Political Science by the Religion and Politics section. As section chair he sought to create panels that would stimulate multi-disciplinary conversations. If elected to the Executive Council, he would continue working to enhance the connections between scholars of religion and politics and to promote this field within the larger discipline of Political Science.

8. Benjamin Schonthal

Ben is Senior Lecturer in Buddhism and Asian Religions in the Religion Programme at the University of Otago, in New Zealand.  Ben received his Ph.D. in the field of History of Religions at the University of Chicago. His dissertation, partially supervised by Dan Slater in the Political Science Department, received the 2013 Law & Society Association Dissertation Award.  Ben's research examines the intersections of religion, law and politics in late-colonial and contemporary Southern Asia, with a particular focus on Sri Lanka and the Theravada Buddhist world. His work appears in The Journal of Asian Studies, Modern Asian Studies and elsewhere. Ben's first book, Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of Law, will be published this year with Cambridge University Press. His current research project, supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand, looks at the history and politics of regulating Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka.  Ben has served as President of the NZ Association for the Study of Religions and as a fellow at the ZIF (Institute for Advanced Study) in Bielefeld, Germany as part of an international research group on Religion, Constitutionalism and Human Rights.  Ben would love an opportunity to contribute to the council.

9. Tanya B. Schwartz

Tanya B. Schwarz is Visiting Research Fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine. Tanya's research focuses on the meaning and role of religious phenomena for transnational actors in areas of peacebuilding, humanitarianism, human rights, and peacebuilding. She has conducted extensive ethnographic research with several Christian and inter-religious faith-based organizations and was a Luce Graduate Fellow with the CIHA Blog: Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa. Tanya has an article forthcoming in International Studies Quarterly and is currently preparing her book, Instruments of the Divine? Faith-Based Organizations in International Politics, for publication.

10. David Siroky

David Siroky is Associate Professor of Political Science in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University, where he is affiliated with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, the Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity and the Center on the Future of War. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science and M.A. in Economics from Duke University and was then the Henry Hart Rice Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University before arriving at ASU. His research has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Journal of Political Science, Caucasus Survey, Civil Wars, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Sociology, Defence and Peace Economics, Democratization, European Political Science Review, International Organization, Nationalities Papers, Political Analysis, Politics and Religion, Polity, Post-Soviet Affairs, Problems of Post-Communism, Security Studies, Social Science Quarterly, Statistics Surveys, Swiss Political Science Review, World Politics and elsewhere.  Since arriving at ASU, he has received grants as PI and co-PI from the US Department of State and the National Science Foundation.  


By-Laws, Section 5: Nominations and elections for members of the Executive Committee and other section officers will be conducted at the Annual Business Meeting under the following provisions:

A. Members of the Executive Committee will normally be elected to scattered two-year terms with three being elected each year by secret ballot or acclamation (if only three nominees are presented) of the section members attending the Annual Business Meeting.

B. In the event of a contested election for members of the Executive Committee, each section member is entitled to vote for a maximum of three candidates for the Committee, and the leading three vote-getters will be deemed elected to the Committee.  In the event of tie votes that would affect the composition of the Committee, section members attending the meeting will take another ballot among the tied nominees.  Each member is entitled to cast as many votes as there are vacancies remaining to be filled.  The vacancies will be filled by the leading vote-getters on the runoff ballot.  The members of the Executive Committee will serve until the subsequent election.

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