Category: Religion & Politics


David Smith on Episodic Religious Persecutions (Encore Presentation)

Prof. David Smith of the University of Sydney returns to discuss the role religion plays in international relations and foreign policy. We chat about why international relations scholars have de-emphasized the role religion plays in cross-national interactions and how this might be changing. David also reviews how scholars now think that religion plays a role in diplomacy and foreign policy.

We are still sorting things out with the podcast. Please be patient.

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Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics

What motivates some Islamic clerics to advocate political violence? Prof. Richard Nielsen (MIT) talks about the frustrated pathways that many imams — who see themselves as scholars — face. When their intellectual ambition is blocked by actions of the state and other social conditions, one possible pathway is to advocate rebellion.

We are back from a short sabbatical and hope to have more fresh episodes in the offing.

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David Patel on Religion & Social Order in Iraq (Encore Presentation)

We are still on a break.  In the meantime, enjoy one of Tony’s favorite interviews from the past. Why have many women in the Middle East resorted to increasingly conservative modes of dress in recent decades?  And what happens after a political regime rapidly collapses leaving society in near total chaos as happened in Iraq […]

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Barry Hankins on Jesus, Gin, and the Culture Wars (Encore Presentation)

We are still on a sabbatical but hope to return with new audio formatting and access modes in the next month. Please stay tuned.

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Charles North on Religion, Economic Development, and Rule of Law (Encore Presentation)

While we are still on a short sabbatical, please enjoy this popular “blast from the past.”

Prof. Charles North discusses his research linking religion to the rule of law and economic development. We survey the literature on religion and economic growth, and then chat about North’s findings wherein Protestantism, Catholicism, and Hinduism were statistically linked to higher support for “rule of law” and lower levels of corruption. We discuss some of the potential causal reasons for this connection, which takes us back to medieval Europe and the rise of canon law.

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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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Jared Rubin on Religion & Credit Risk in the Ottoman Empire (Encore Presentation)

Return with us to winter 2016 when Prof. Jared Rubin explained to us why the economic, political, and religious elite did not always get the best credit deals in the Ottoman Empire, and what this all has to do with being a member of a minority religion. When we last talked with Jared, he was finishing up his book manuscript entitled “Rulers, Religion, & Riches.” Let this discussion give you insights into this fascinating work that helps explain the differing historical trajectories between two great world cultures, as well as a fascinating project he conducted with economist Timur Kuran (also a frequent guest on RoR).

We will be returning soon with some crescent fresh episodes, so join us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates!

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Anthony Gill on the Political Origins of Religious Liberty (Encore Presentation)

While we are solving some technical difficulty problems, please enjoy this “blast from the past,” as Prof. Steven Pfaff interviews me about my work on the origins of religious liberty.

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