Category: Countries


Shari Rabin on Jews on the American Frontier

What is it like to be a stranger in a strange land on the move, and how does that affect one’s ability to preserve their religious identity?  This is a central question take up by Prof. Shari Rabin, an assistant professor of Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston and director of the Pearlstine/Lipov Center […]

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Anselm Rink on Missionaries and Political Authority

Missionaries often go forth into new territory seeking to win souls for their faith, but can they also affect the relationship between citizens and political leaders? Prof. Anselm Rink (University of Konstanz) discusses a study conducted on Protestant missionaries in Peru and how they altered levels of obedience and persuadability that regular people held toward government officials. Interestingly, the effects run in contrary directions. We also spend a bit of time discussion religious radicalization among Christians and Muslims in Kenya.

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Kenneth Vaughan on Consociationalism, Religion, and Lebanon (and more)

Lebanon is one of the more religiously diverse nations in the Middle East with a mix of Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, and Maronites. How does this country maintain stability and have there been any stresses to the political arrangement known as consociationalism that helps to negotiate these differences? Kenneth Vaughan, a PhD candidate in sociology at Baylor University, explores this question and also discusses his other research and experiences in post-Soviet republics and China.

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Quin Monson on Norms, Religion, and Politics

How are different religious traditions viewed at the ballot box? Prof. Quin Monson, a political scientist at BYU, discusses a recent study he and several colleagues conducted on religious biases and sanctioning of norm violations during the 2012 presidential election. Our conversation covers how norms are used in society, when violations of norms are punished by individuals, what religious groups are considered “outside the norm” and by whom, and whether and how attitudes towards different groups may change over time.

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Tracy McKenzie on the First Thanksgiving (Annual Encore)

We are taking an extended sabbatical to catch up with other academic-related work and to try to improve some issues with our audio files. In the meantime, enjoy this encore presentation with Tracy McKenzie (Wheaton) on a very seasonal topic — The First Thanksgiving. We hope to return shortly with some new episodes and fresh content, but until then please feel free to dip into our extensive archives that now contain over 350 unique episodes, nearly one for every day of the year!

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Carmel Chiswick on the Economics of Being Jewish in America (Encore Presentation)

How does an economist discuss being a religious minority in America? Prof. Carmel Chiswick returns to the podcast to discuss her new book “Judaism in Transition.” Using the tools of economics — particularly the concepts of full price, time costs, and human capital — explains the challenges American Jews face in a Christian culture and how Judaism has changed over time to reflect responses to various costs and benefits. We also talk about some of the newer demographic challenges facing Jews, including intermarriage, later marriage, and empty nesters.

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Robert Nelson on Lutheranism and Nordic Social Democracy

The Nordic states are known for their high levels of socio-economic equality, good governance, and high levels of social trust. While some scholars have attributed this to their unique brand of secular social democracy, Prof. Robert Nelson (U of Maryland) argues that Nordic social democracy has deep roots in the “Lutheran ethic.” We discuss how the Lutheran ethic is different than the Calvinist ethic (as seen by Max Weber), how contemporary social democratic thought in Nordic countries has similar elements to Lutheranism, and what is in store for social democracy.

Check out our other podcasts related to the Protestant Reformation this year!

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James Hudnut-Beumler on the History of Church Financing in the US

While pastors often don’t want to talk about the subject of church funding, it is an established fact that religious groups need finances to survive and thrive. Prof. James Hudnut-Beumler (Vanderbilt University) discusses the importance of thinking about church funding and takes us on a tour of how church financing has changed in the United States over the past two and a half centuries. We cover topics such as pew rentals, competition from benevolence groups, and automatic debiting. Technological and social changes have affected how religious organizations collect revenue and, in turn, has shaped our religious landscape in interesting ways.

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Peter Henne on Religion-State Relations and Counterterrorism

During the 1990s, following the end of the Cold War, the United States began to ramp up counterterrorism efforts around the globe. Some nations proved relatively cooperative with these efforts whereas others did not. Prof. Peter Henne (University of Vermont) explains how religion-state relations condition the response of different governments to these counterterrorism examples. We examine this in a broad perspective and with specific attention to Pakistan, UAE, and Turkey.

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Donald Kraybill on The Amish (Encore Presentation)

As we take a short summertime break, we bring back a superb interview by Donald Kraybill regarding the theology and lifestyle of the Amish and Old Order Mennonites.

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