Images above: People and public spaces, Brazil, 2008-2009.

Photo credit: McClanahan Studios, Ames, IA

I am an associate professor of political science, as well as a Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Professor at Iowa State University. In the 2019-2020 academic year, I also hold two fellowships: a Luce/ACLS Fellowship in Journalism, Religion, and International Affairs; and a Wilson Center Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

My research examines how ordinary people understand and engage in politics, and how citizens and politicians interact. I’m especially interested in the ways informal networks, religious organizations, and religious beliefs inform and mobilize people. I study democratic and authoritarian regimes globally, but my primary expertise is in Latin America, and particularly Brazil. Read more here on the various strands of my research, including my work on gender and academia.

My two books include Religion and Brazilian Democracy: Mobilizing the People of God (2019, Cambridge University Press), and my articles appear in numerous peer-reviewed outlets, including the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, 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. Recently, I’ve also been been getting a big kick out of writing for public audiences and talking with journalists. See more here.

My work has been funded by Fulbright, the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Mellon, Luce, and Templeton Foundations; I have been a Visiting Fellow at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies (2016-2017 academic year); and I am a member of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) family. In September 2016, I received the Award for Early Achievement in Research from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State.