Category Archives: Notes

The Idea of the Muslim World and the global politics of religion

Responding to Cemil Aydın’s exceptional new book, The Idea of the Muslim World,
Harvard University Press 2017.  [amazon]

by past Section Chair, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

“Recently, a friend of mine originally from Calcutta was outside his house gardening on a Sunday morning when a neighbor came by and asked, “How was church this morning?” “I didn’t go to church,” he replied, “I’m Hindu.” “I’m sorry,” she responded. Another day, also while gardening, a different neighbor approached to ask how much my friend charges for landscaping. He explained that he owns the house.

We live in a moment in which for some Americans, to be perceived as Muslim, dark-skinned, and/or non-Christian, generates confusion and, at times, hostility. This is not new.”

Read it all here

New 2017 APSA Council Members


On PSNow.

Rogers Smith – President-Elect

Rogers M. Smith is Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.  His BA is from James Madison College, Michigan State University, and his MA and PhD degrees are from Harvard.  Trained in the history of political thought and American constitutional law and politics, his scholarship blends empirical and normative concerns focused on the politics of citizenship and identity, especially issues of race, gender and religion in American constitutional development.  He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Political Peoplehood (2015) and Civic Ideals (1997), which won the APSA’s Bunche, Easton, and Greenstone awards.  He has authored or co-authored over 90 articles in journals and edited volumes, including the American Political Science ReviewJournal of PoliticsStudies in American Political Development, and Political Theory.  He received the Law and Courts Section’s 2004 Wadsworth Award for his APSR article on “The ‘New Institutionalism’ and the Future of Public Law.”  Smith has supervised 39 PhD theses and received Penn’s Provost Award for Distinguished PhD Mentoring; Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching; Dean’s Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research, and a Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Prize from Yale, where he taught from 1980 to 2001.

At Penn he served as department chair from 2003-2006 and is now Associate Dean for Social Sciences. He founded the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism in 2006 and has since directed it.  He also co-founded the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia, a university-public school partnership.  His APSA roles include chair of the Politics and History Section, 2001-2002; program chair of Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence, 2001-2002; co-chair of the Task Force on Graduate Education, 2002-2003; member of the Committee on the Status of Blacks in the Profession, 2004-2007; Council Member, 2005-2006; chair of the Perspectives on Politics editor search committee, 2008; Vice President, 2008-2009; member of the Task Force on Public Engagement, 2013-2014; and co-chair of the Migration and Citizenship Section, 2013-2015.  He received the Frank J. Goodnow Award in 2010.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the American Philosophical Society.

Statement of Views: I have long championed a discipline that uses plural methods to address major pressing and enduring political questions.  I hope to promote an association that is broadly inclusive and responsive, and a profession that aids in the flourishing of all research that advances these ends; that strengthens teaching; and that fights in the public sphere to protect and improve higher education in an era of declining support for honest, innovative scholarship and pedagogy.

Religion and Critical Junctures: Divergent Trajectories of Liberalism in Modern Europe

by Andrew C. Gould, University of Notre Dame

in Qualitative & Multi-Method Research, Spring 2017, Vol. 15, No.1

“The study of cleavages, critical junctures, and resulting trajectories in the evolution of politics and party systems was launched by Lipset and Rokkan in their classic study of Western Europe. They focused on fundamental societal cleavages: center-periphery, church-state, land-industry, and owner-worker. According to their argument, the resolution of these cleavages crystallized in critical junctures, which in turn set countries on distinctive historical paths. In the intervening decades since 1967, numerous studies have extended, refined, and in some ways corrected their arguments about Western Europe, and a substantial body of research has applied this framework to other regions.

This essay discusses my work on critical junctures, presented in Origins of Liberal Dominance: State, Church, and Party in Nineteenth-Century Europe. This study focused on the politics of liberalism in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany from the restoration of conservative monarchies in 1815 to the outbreak of continental war in 1914. In this historical context, liberals sought to build representative and constitutional government, to develop national economic systems, and to confine clerical authority to religious affairs. Most scholars viewed 19th-century liberals through a prism that emphasized battles over private property and socialism; my work took the religious implications of liberalism as equally decisive.

This brief article traces the lines of influence that shaped my book, emphasizing among other points how the critical juncture framework provided a fresh, powerful, and most welcome new perspective on the study of religion and politics.

2017 APSA Annual Meeting: New Directions in the Study of Religion and Politics


Sat, September 2, 4:00 to 5:30 pm, Hilton Union Square, Franciscan C

Session Description

What do we mean when we talk about ‘religion and politics’ in political science today? This panel will pursue an interdisciplinary and post-separationist approach to religion and politics, bringing together political scientists from different subfields to present recent research and reflect on new directions in the study of religion and politics. Through this exchange, we hope to challenge key assumptions that each subfield brings to the study of religion and politics, both in the concepts and definitions that we use, as well as the events, theories, and historical developments that are deemed relevant to this field of study.

The four papers, to be presented by Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Amy Gais, Matthew Nelson, and Elizabeth Pritchard, represent a diverse approach to the study of religion and politics. Hurd will discuss recent work on the politics of religion in the Genocide Convention. Gais will rethink the implications of the liberty of conscience in terms of religious conduct in the public sphere. Nelson examines the role of state-level administration procedures in the principle of freedom of religion with focused attention on conversions in Malaysia. Pritchard explores recent attempts to delineate the sphere of religion from politics, asking what is obscured by the insistence that religion is not fundamentally political? Despite their methodological and theoretical differences, these four scholars share a commitment to thinking carefully about the extent to which concepts in the study of religion and politics privilege (and inevitably, exclude) specific modes of religiosity, as well as specific modalities of politics.

Andrew Murphy will serve as the discussant for these four papers and Matthew Scherer will chair the panel. We include four paper abstracts.

American Religion, American Politics: An Anthology

American Religion, American Politics: An Anthology


American Religion, American Politics: An Anthology
Joseph Kip Kosek (Editor)

Essential primary sources reveal the central tensions between American politics and religion throughout the nation’s history

Despite the centrality of separation of church and state in American government, religion has played an important role in the nation’s politics from colonial times through the present day. This essential anthology provides a fascinating history of religion in American politics and public life through a wide range of primary documents. It explores contentious debates over freedom, tolerance, and justice, in matters ranging from slavery to the nineteenth-century controversy over Mormon polygamy to the recent discussions concerning same-sex marriage and terrorism.

Bringing together a diverse range of voices from Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and secular traditions and the words of historic personages, from Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Frances Willard to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., this collection is an invaluable introduction to one of the most important conversations in America’s history.

Yale University Press
Publication date: 05/30/2017