Mormonism & American Politics: Mitt, Mormonism, and the Media
Mitt Romney's run for the White House raises perennial questions about the place of religion in the public square and offers scholars an interesting occasion to reconsider the relationship between religion and American politics. The media has made much of Romney's religion and so have some sectors of the American public. What can we learn from public attitudes about Mormonism? Are the religious beliefs of a political candidate relevant to serving in office, and if so, how? Are there political implications to Mormonism? Do the careers of other Mormon politicians shed any light on this question? In what ways is Mormonism politically comparable to other religious groups?- Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University
Russell Arben Fox
Russell Arben Fox is assistant professor of political science and director of the Political Science program at Friends University in Wichita, KS. He received his Ph.D. in Political Theory from Catholic University of America. He has published articles on religion, education, American political thought, East Asian political thought, communitarianism, and nationalism in Polity, The Review of Politics, Philosophy East and West, American Behavioral Scientist, Theory and Research in Education, and The Responsive Community. He has been an active participant in Mormon internet symposiums and blogging since 2003.
Robin H. Rogers-Dillon is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY) and the CUNY Graduate Center. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology form the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. Her primary areas of research have been poverty, politics, and social policy. From 1998- 2000, Dr. Rogers-Dillon was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Yale University. In 1995-96, she served in Washington, D.C. as a Congressional Fellow on Women and Public Policy.
She is the author of The Welfare Experiments: Politics and Policy Evaluation (Stanford University Press, 2004) and articles including, "Hierarchical qualitative research teams: Refining the methodology?" (2005), "Qualitative Research and Federal Constraints and State Innovation?" (Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 1999).
In 2008 Dr. Rogers-Dillon joins the Editorial Board of Society. She will spend her year at Princeton University conducting research on the shifting boundaries between religion and the state in the United States, particularly in social welfare programs.
Mark Silk is director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life and Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, Hartford. He is the author of Spiritual Politics: Religion and America Since World War II, Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America, and (with Andrew Walsh) the forthcoming One Nation, Divisible. He edits the Center's magazine, Religion in the News.
Amy Sullivan is a correspondent for National Journal and director of the Next Economy Project, a joint effort of National Journal and The Atlantic. She was previously a senior editor at TIME Magazine, where she directed coverage of the 2008 presidential primaries and wrote about politics, religion, and culture. Her first book, The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats Are Closing the God Gap, was published by Scribner in 2008.
Helen Whitney is a filmmaker with thirty years of experience in producing dramatic features and documentaries primarily for network television. Her subjects have stretched across a broad spectrum of topics: youth gangs in the South Bronx; a portrait of the 1996 Presidential candidates, Clinton and Dole; a Trappist monastery in Massachusetts; the McCarthy Era, a three hour biography of John Paul II; and the work of the photographer Richard Avedon.
Her most recent documentaries were the two hour PBS special about the aftermath of 9/11; "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero" and the four hour prime time series, "The Mormons," for WGBH's Frontline/American Experience. Her dramatic features have appeared on PBS and ABC. Her work has been recognized by such awards as the Peabody, the Emmy, the Alfred I. Dupont, the Sundance Institute and an Academy Award nomination. She is currently at work on a two hour PBS special about forgiveness that will air in 2008.