Executive Committee

2019 -2020


Amy Erica Smith – Associate Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University

My research examines how citizens around the world interact with each other and their representatives to shape democracy and authoritarianism. In my recent work, I focus on the religious communities and ideas that mold politics. My areas of greatest regional expertise are Latin America, and particularly Brazil. Over the past couple of years, I have also been studying the intersection of gender and academia.

My book, Religion and Brazilian Democracy: Mobilizing the People of God, is forthcoming at Cambridge University Press, and my articles have appeared in a number of peer-reviewed outlets, including the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, and Comparative Political Studies. I am on the editorial board of Politics & Religion and an Associate Editor of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion and Politics. I’ve recently joined the in-house blogging teams of Vox Mischiefs of Faction and Religion in Public, and I’ve also blogged for the Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage and Duck of Minerva, among other venues.

In September 2016, I received the Award for Early Achievement in Research from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State. My work has been funded by Fulbright and the National Science Foundation; I have been a Visiting Fellow at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies (2016-2017 academic year); and I am proudly affiliated with the Latin American Public Opinion Project.


Güneş Murat Tezcür – University of Central Florida, School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Güneş Murat Tezcür (PhD, University of Michigan, 2005) is the Jalal Talabani Chair and Professor at the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs at the University of Central Florida at UCF. He also directs the UCF’s Kurdish Political Studies Program. He is a social scientist studying political violence, religious politics, democratization, and human security with a focus on Iranian, Kurdish, and Turkish human geography. His articles has been published in American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Journal of Peace Research, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Perspectives on Politics, Politics and Gender, Politics of Religion in addition to many other journals. He is also the author of Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey (University of Texas Press, 2010) and the editor of several books and volumes including the Oxford Handbook of Turkish Politics (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). He serves as an Associate Editor of Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion and served on the editorial board of International Journal of Middle East Studies. His main current research project examines the relationship between religion and violence with a historical focus on minorities in the Middle East including Yezidis and Alevis.

Andre Audette – Monmouth College

Academic Biography:
I am what you might call a lifelong politics nerd. In kindergarten my claim to fame was that I could name all of the U.S. presidents in order, so studying political science was a natural fit for me. (But don’t worry, naming presidents is not a prerequisite for taking political science classes!) What I find truly fascinating about politics is that it is all around us; it affects everyday choices like the foods we eat, to the people we associate with, and how we see the world. I am a political scientist because I enjoy exploring how politics shapes our identities and our communities. I hope to inspire students to think about these connections and then apply them to their own diverse interests.

Research Interests:
My main areas of teaching and research are within American politics, focusing on political behavior, identity politics, and political inequality, especially among religious groups and racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. In my research, I often draw on three major themes: 1) how individuals, especially those from historically marginalized or underrepresented groups, gain political voice, 2) how churches and other linkage institutions mobilize members for political action, and 3) how inequality is reflected in political institutions and affected by a range of public policies.

Selected Research and/or Creative Work:
Audette, Andre P., Maryann Kwakwa, & Christopher L. Weaver. Forthcoming. “Reconciling the God and Gender Gaps: The Influence of Women in Church Politics.” Politics, Groups, and Identities.

Audette, Andre P., Mark Brockway, & Christopher L. Weaver. 2017. “Adapting Identities: Religious Conversion and Partisanship among Asian American Immigrants.” American Politics Research 45(4): 692-721.

Audette, Andre P. & Christopher L. Weaver. 2016. “Filling Pews and Voting Booths: The Role of Politicization in Congregational Growth.” Political Research Quarterly 69(2): 245-257.

Andrea Hatcher – Associate Professor and Chair of Department of Politics, Sewanee, The University of the South

A native of Bagdad, Florida, Andrea Hatcher received a B.A. and M.A. in political science from the University of West Florida. She began teaching at Sewanee as she was completing a Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University.

Her research and teaching interests focus on American political institutions. As well as survey courses in American government and politics, she offers courses on the Presidency, Legislative Process, Constitutional Law, Religion and American Politics.

Selected Activities:
Among her campus activities, she serves as faculty advisor to Sewanee’s delegation to the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature as well as a legal team that competes in the annual Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge.

She is also director of Sewanee’s Pre-Law Program.

Selected Research:
Her book, Majority Leadership in the U.S. Senate: Balancing Constraints (Cambria Press, 2010), is the first comprehensive study of the office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader and finds, among other trends, that Senate Majority Leaders emerge from the party’s ideological median but tend to become more ideologically extreme as their margin of majority increases.

“The Electoral Risks of Senate Majority Leadership, or How Tom Daschle Lost and Harry Reid Won” explains the (rare) conditions under which Senate Majority Leaders lose re-election.

Currently, her research interests diversify to include a comparative study of the political behaviors of American and British Evangelicals. On this, she has contributed to Is There A ‘Religious Right’ Emerging in Britain? A book, Political and Religious Identities of British Evangelicals, was published in 2017 from Palgrave Macmillan.

Rina Williams

University of Cincinnati
Associate Professor of Political Science; Affiliate Faculty, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies

A.M and Ph.D. in Political Science, Harvard University
B.A. (Political Science) and B.S. (Chemistry), University of California at Irvine

Areas of specialization include South Asian politics; women and gender; ethnicity and nationalism; religion and politics; and politics of the developing nations. Her first book, Postcolonial Politics and Personal Laws: Colonial Legal Legacies and the Indian State, was published by Oxford University Press in 2006. Her current research examines the role of women and gender in religious nationalism in Indian politics.

Publication: “Hindu Law as Personal Law: State and Identity in the Hindu Code Bills Debates, 1952-56.” Timothy Lubin et. al., eds. Hinduism and Law: An Introduction. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Christopher Hale

Assistant Professor
Political Science Department
The University of Alabama

PhD, Arizona State University, 2013
MA, Ohio University, 2005
BA, Marietta College, 2003

Teaching Interests:

Introduction to Comparative Government
Politics of Developing Nations
Introduction to Politics
Topics on Cultural Diversity: U.S. Immigration
World Politics
Politics of Latin America Religion and Politics

Section Journal Article:

Religious Institutions and Collective Action: The Catholic Church and Political Activism in Indigenous Chiapas and Yucatán.” Politics and Religion 11, No. 1


Why do religious organizations facilitate secular political activism in some settings but not others? I contend that where religious institutions are characterized by decentralized local governance, they are more likely to facilitate political activism. Drawing on nine months of field research and 60 interviews, I conduct a qualitative comparison between the Mexican states of Chiapas and Yucatán. I argue Chiapas exhibits highly decentralized governance by the Catholic Church whereas Yucatán exhibits centralized clerical management. This difference accounts for why Chiapas experiences high levels of indigenous political activism while Yucatán experiences very little political activism.