2018 Hubert Morken Best Book Award – Call for Nominations

Dear APSA Religion and Politics Section Members,

We would like to invite nominations for APSA’s 2018 Hubert Morken Best Book Award.  The Hubert Morken Award is given for the best book dealing with religion and politics published during the last two years. The criteria for the award include the originality of the argument presented, quality of the research, innovative methods, readability of the text and the policy or practical implications of the scholarship.

To be eligible for the award, books must have been published in 2016 or 2017. The nomination should include a brief statement (250-750 words) summarizing the book’s contributions and why it is nominated for the award. This statement can be sent by email. As part of the nomination, publishers should send a copy of the nominated book to EACH member of the awards committee at the addresses below, making sure that the books arrive by the nomination deadline, March 15th, the latest.

Self nominations are welcome.

If you have any questions, please contact the committee chair, Nukhet A. Sandal (sandal@ohio.edu).

Committee Members Contact Information

Nukhet A. Sandal
Associate Professor
Ohio University
Department of Political Science
Bentley Annex 259
Athens OH 45701

Jim Guth
Department of Politics and International Affairs
111T Johns Hall
Furman University
Greenville SC 29613

Ani Sarkissian
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
Michigan State University
368 Farm Lane, S303
East Lansing, MI 48824

Amy Erica Smith
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
Iowa State University
503 Ross Hall
Ames, IA 50011

Call for Proposals: 2018 APSA Annual Conference

DUE: January 16, 2018

Questions about the impacts of religion on democratic processes are often at the heart of debates about religion and conflict/peace, secularism, multiculturalism, and globalization. In line with the theme for this year’s general conference, the APSA Religion and Politics Section invites submissions of individual papers, panels and roundtables that explore the relationship between religion (and/or secularism) and democracy from various perspectives and vis-à-vis diverse issue areas.

What is the relationship between religion and democracy? Do strong democracies require a strict separation of religion and the state? Is such a separation even possible? When does religion (or secularism) contribute to illiberal vs. liberal practices? How does religion interact with other factors such as gender, class, and race within the context of democratic politics? How are immigration and refugee flows changing or challenging understandings about the appropriate role of religion in democracies? How do different religious actors conceptualize democracy? Can religious understandings provide new ways to think about democratic possibilities? How are religious organizations contributing to or challenging democratic institutions? How do religious or secular discourses shape democratic norms, including norms related to human rights? How does secularism manage multicultural challenges? What is the role of religious freedom in furthering and maintaining democratic ideals? What is the role of scholars, especially political scientists and IR scholars, in contributing to, informing and supporting common narratives about the relationship between religion (or secularism) and democracy?

We invite panels and individual papers addressing these and other related questions at the intersection of religion and politics in either contemporary or historical frameworks, as well as across diverse geographic and cultural contexts. In addition, we encourage submission of new and innovative program formats, such as mini-workshops, interactive discussion and conversation style sessions, and other styles and formats. Religion and Politics is an interdisciplinary field and panels and papers that foster exchange between diverse theoretical and analytical approaches are welcome.

Posted on APSA Connect by Tanya Schwarz

Louis “Tracy” Bolce

The Political Science Department at Baruch College, City University of New York, is saddened to announce the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Louis “Tracy” Bolce on November 24th, 2017. Tracy, a native of Ohio, was educated at the University of Cincinnati. He concentrated on public opinion, political parties, and elections.

Tracy’s early work in the 1970s focused on urban riots and the emerging African American middle class. In a series of articles with Abraham Miller and Mark Halligan in the American Political Science Review and Ethnicity, they tested the J-Curve thesis’s applicability to the riots of the 1960s. It generated a lively debate among social scientists. This was followed by a subsequent article with Susan Gray in The Public Interest which called into question the extent of polarization among blacks and whites and diversity in the African American community on issues such as affirmative action.

At Baruch, Tracy was involved in projects addressing the determinants contributing to the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, African American voting behavior, and the Christian Fundamentalist factor in contemporary American politics. These too found outlets in well regarded journals. Their finding were disseminated by journalists in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, the Atlantic, The Wilson Quarterly, and many others.

The ERA papers (with Gerald De Maio and Douglas Muzzio) focused that the impact of intensity and nationally distributed majorities, articulated by political theorists Willmoore Kendall and Martin Diamond, had on the amendment’s defeat. The empirical findings demonstrated that relatively small numbers in the public were intensely involved and that the amendment failed to achieve nationally distributed majorities crucial to success. In a related paper for Social Science Quarterly, the impact of dissonance that the abortion issue had on ERA supporters was delineated.

During the era when the gender gap surfaced, focusing on the Democrats’ advantage with women, Tracy’s article in Presidential Studies Quarterly called attention to a “reverse gender gap” among men favoring Republicans.

Tracy and his colleagues also examined the presence of bloc voting in the African American electorate and explored ideology and class factors that might lead to a “20% solution” and Republican victories. They found scant evidence for this, a fact later verified in elections since 1964.

In the 1990s, Tracy contributed an early article on the “talk radio” phenomenon which has spawned a great deal of literature over the last twenty years, calling attention to this trend in democratic discourse.

During the last phase in his career, Tracy focused on the culture wars and the role of religion in political polarization. An article he published with De Maio in The Public Interest, calling attention to the secularist trend in the Democratic Party, received a much attention in media and has become a staple in discussions of party coalitions. A particular interest in the culture wars and polarization arena was on the anti-Christian fundamentalist factor in American politics and how it has become an important determinant in voting behavior. The results, published in Public Opinion Quarterly, American Politics Research, The Public Interest, and in more popular journals, garnered considerable attention and are widely cited in the academic literature.

Most recently, Tracy had been researching media portrayals of conservative Christians and secularists. His data revealed that there has been a paucity of stories identifying seculars with the Democratic Party compared with the Christian Fundamentalist-Republican Party nexus.

Tracy was a good friend and colleague who took his departmental responsibilities very seriously. He would stop by colleagues’ office to chat about academic issues, current politics, and topics of a more general nature. We will miss him, and extend our condolences to his wife Natasha and his family in Ohio.

Links to Tracy Bolce’s publications can be found at his Google Scholar page.

Ted Jelen

Dear Religion and Politics Section Members,

Many of you may already have heard the sad news, but we wanted to let all section members know of the passing of Prof Ted Jelen. Prof Jelen was a giant of the field and a hugely influential and vibrant force in the APSA Religion and Politics section. His loss will be acutely felt by many of us. We will be sending flowers and condolences to the family on behalf of the section.

More will follow soon regarding plans to commemorate Prof Jelen’s life and contribution. If you have ideas or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact the exec.

In sadness,