Executive Committee

Laura Dudley Jenkins is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati and is affiliated with Asian Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her research focuses on social justice policies in the context of culturally diverse democracies, especially India, but also Indonesia, South Africa and the United States.

She is particularly interested in: politics of caste, class, religion, and gender; religious freedom and conversion; comparative affirmative action; sustainable development and culture; colonial and contemporary government anthropology; role of social science in anti-discrimination law; reserved legislative seats for women; religious family law systems. More here.


Ryan Claasen teaches a variety of courses at Kent State University in the areas of quantitative research methods, American politics, and political behavior – at both the doctoral and undergraduate levels. My research spans several literatures including political participation, citizen competence, public opinion, election administration, religion and politics, interest groups, and racial and ethnic politics; however, the common thread is political engagement. In the broadest sense, I investigate whether engagement shapes the capacity of individuals and groups of individuals in the American public to effectively contribute to public opinion and compete democratically. My first book, “Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans?  Party Activists, Party Capture, and the ‘God Gap’” (Cambridge University Press) challenges a conventional wisdom in which recently mobilized religious and Secular extremists captured the parties and created a God gap. I also have book under advance contract with Yale University Press (with Steve Hook) exploring citizen competence in the realm of public opinion about foreign policy. My work has appeared recently in American Politics Research, The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Political Science Education, Political Behavior, Political Research Quarterly, and Public Opinion Quarterly. More here.


Ben Gaskins is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lewis & Clark College.

He teaches both American and Comparative Politics, including religion and politics, mass media, public opinion, group politics, and political institutions. His research focuses mainly on the effect of religious commitment on opinion formation, voting behavior, and democratic citizenship. His work also looks at how citizens learn about politics and how they make political choices. His research has been published in The American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics, Politics & Religion, and The International Journal of Press/Politics.


Nukhet Sandal is Associate Professor of Political Science at Ohio University and Director of Global Studies in Ohio’s Center for International Studies.

Her research and teaching interests include human security, religion and global politics, conflict management and politics of divided societies.

Nukhet Sandal earned her Ph.D. in Politics and International Relations from University of Southern California in 2010, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University from 2010-13. She has published articles in the European Journal of International Relations, International Politics, Review of International Studies, Alternatives, Political Studies, West European Politics, Human Rights Quarterly, and Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Dr. Sandal is the author of Religious Leaders and Conflict Transformation (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and Religion and International Relations Theory (with Jonathan Fox; Routledge, 2013).

Dr. Sandal is the Chair of the Religion and International Relations Section of the International Studies Association, and she served as the chair of the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration Section from 2015-2017.

Dr. Sandal is the recipient of the 2017 University Professor Award and 2016 Jeanette G. Grasselli Brown Faculty Teaching Award.


Tanya B. Schwarz is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Global Politics and Societies department at Hollins University.

My research and teaching interests are in global governance, peace and security, and religion. My book, Faith-Based Organizations in Transnational Peacebuilding (2018, Rowman & Littlefield) examines the meanings and roles of religious phenomena for transnational faith-based organizations working in areas of peacebuilding, humanitarianism, development, and human rights. I have a PhD in Political Science, with concentrations in International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory, from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA and BA in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside.