Executive Committee

2018 -2019


Ben Gaskins – 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 – 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 – 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.


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.


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.