Posts Tagged ‘religion and politics’


David Buckley on the Demand for Clergy in Politics

Do citizens in religiously-active countries prefer to have members of the clergy directly intervene in the politics of their nation? While one might assume they would, Prof. David Buckley (U of Louisville) discovers the opposite finding; religious individuals prefer to see their spiritual leaders less involved in governmental decision-making. Dr. Buckley discusses how religious leaders in such countries already have informal networks of influence and how direct involvement in politics runs the risk of tarnishing the moral authority of clergy and dividing their flock.

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Nathanael Snow on the Evangelical Coalition and Public Choice

How have evangelical Christians been involved in politics ever since evangelical Christians have been around. Studying how these religious individuals become involved in elections and social movements has largely been the fodder of sociologists and political scientists, but our guest — Nathanael Snow, a graduate student in economics at George Mason University — focuses the lens of public choice theory to understand how evangelical politics have changed over time. We learn what public choice theory is, why it can apply to religious groups, and the history of evangelical involvement in U.S. politics from the mid-19th century forward. Nathanael

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Jonathan Rose on Medieval Law and the Clergy

Prof. Jonathan Rose (emeritus) of ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law discusses the development of common law in medieval England and the various ways in which members of the clergy would manipulate it towards their benefit. We learn about the differences between civil, canon, and common law, as well as a bit about the medieval Church.

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Murat Iyigun on Monotheism, Conflict, Europe, the Ottomans, and the Blues

Did the Ottoman Caliphate have any impact on Europe’s socio-political and economic development? While we often examine Europe’s late medieval history in isolation from other world events, Prof. Murat Iyigun (University of Colorado) argues that the Ottoman Empire’s advances into southeast Europe affected the religious, political, and economic history of Europe in very interesting ways. We also look at the ability of monotheism to guarantee longer and more expansive sociopolitical control, and the influence of mothers on the military policy of Ottoman sultans. At the end of the podcast, we have a special treat — an original “arabesque blues” song, Muqarnas, written and performed by Murat!

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Paul Kubicek on Islam, Political Islam, and Democracy

Can democratic governance on a national scale coincide with Islam? Prof. Paul Kubicek (Oakland University) takes us on a comparative journey to show where predominately Islamic populations have existed successfully with democracy. While much of media and scholarly attention on the topic of Islam and democracy has focused on the Middle East, Paul discusses the interesting cases of Turkey, Senegal, Mali, and Tunisia, while also noting some of the difficulties in democratic transitions in places such as Bangladesh. He also shares his reflections on the Arab Spring.

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Phoenix Moomaw on Ronald Reagan’s Faith (Our 250th Episode!)

For our annual Fourth of July episode, and for our 250th podcast, we invite our very first “just graduated” high school student, Phoenix Moomaw, to discuss his senior project on the faith of President Ronald Reagan. As the grandson of Reagan’s pastor in Southern California, Phoenix came across several folders of personal letters between Reagan (as governor and president) and his grandfather. He uses these letters and some additional research at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley to determine how much Reagan’s faith affected his policies and style of governing. His answer to this question is surprisingly nuanced.

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Matthew Isaacs on Religion & Ethnic Rebellion

Why do some ethnic conflicts become infused with religious rhetoric while others do not? Matthew Isaacs, a PhD candidate at Brandeis University, discusses his dissertation research investigating why Protestants in Northern Ireland were quick to attach religion to their conflict whereas Catholics were not. He also examines the role of Buddhist monks in the civil war in Sri Lanka to discover some interesting patterns. Matt argues that when religious groups within an ethnicity face significant competition among confessional lines, and when resources to these religious groups are on the wane, religion has a tendency to become more salient.

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Denis Dragovic on Religion & State-Building

What role do religious organizations play in constructing and reconstructing states? Denis Dragovic joins us from Australia to discuss his new book “Religion and Post-Conflict State-Building” and how he not only studied this topic, but also was an active participant in helping people around the world, and primarily the Middle East. Prof. Dragovic explains how religious groups — both international and domestic — help to contribute to the three key areas of state-building: legitimacy, security, and basic needs. Along the way, he also recounts how he helped rescue one of his aid workers who was kidnapped by rebels!

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Pamela Edwards on Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor might be best known as the poet of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” but this all-around intellectual also had a great deal to say about history, philosophy, politics, and theology. Dr. Pamela Edwards of the Jack Miller Center discusses the life, times, and thought of this interesting character who left an indelible mark on the social thinking of the late 18th and early 19th century.

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Robert Delahunty on Alexis de Tocqueville and Religion

Prof. Robert Delahunty (University of St. Thomas) discusses the life and thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, particularly as it pertains to his views on religion and democracy. We discuss Tocqueville’s personal religious history and how this influenced his thought, as well as the observations he made with respect to the role of religion in a newly-formed democratic nation. Prof. Delahunty explores Tocqueville’s thoughts on church-state relations and the role of civil religion in comparison with Niccolo Machiavelli, and we reflect upon what Tocqueville’s observations recorded in America’s Jacksonian Era tell us about the role of religion in the U.S. today.

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