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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Jerod T Patterson

Ph.D. (ABD), M.A., University of Texas, M.Div., Wake Forest University

Jerod T Patterson

Biography

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. I also serve as an Instructor with the University Extension and Government Department, and conduct research at the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute.

My research seeks to achieve a more thorough rendering of the way in which religion structures political attitudes and shapes American public culture. I am especially interested in informing the manner in which social scientific research theorizes religion and developing theoretically appropriate measures of religion that more accurately account for the relevant characteristics of contemporary religion. This is manifest in my dissertation research, which explores religious group identity, how it becomes politicized--especially under conditions of threat--and how it affects the attitudes and behaviors of individuals and religious groups. My hope is that this research benefits both scholarly knowledge and practitioner audiences with a deeper understanding of how religion serves as a force for both unity and division in an increasingly pluralistic American society.

Before coming to the University of Texas, I earned a Master of Divinity degree at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Outside of my work at the University, I am a strategic communications consultant for public interest organizations and election campaigns, producing work that has earned eight national awards for professional excellence. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife and children, browsing our local farmer's market, and playing an occasional German board game.

Interests

Religion and politics, public policy, public opinion, survey research, theory and methods in the study of religion, civil society, civic participation, religious and faith-based organizations

GOV S312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

85165 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am MEZ 1.306
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Course Description  

Throughout our nation’s history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course surveys the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and explores the ways in which religion has served as a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has shaped American politics and society. The course is comprised of three sections. During the first, “Foundations,” we will focus our attention of the basics of the relationship between religion and politics in the United States over time. During the second, “Developments,” we look at how social and political change has affected religion and politics in America. Finally, in the final third of the course, titled “Controversies,” we turn our attention to particular points of conflict over the relationship between religion and politics. Throughout the course, we will examine several important topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social and political movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.    

Grading Policy:    

Grades are based on two midterm exams (25% each) and one final exam (30%). Attendance and participation account for 10% of the grade, and the final 10% comes from a two-to-three page reflection paper on the course.      

Texts:    

1. Frank Lambert, Religion in American Politics: A Short History, Princeton University Press, 2010.

2. Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown, Religion and Politics in the United States, Sixth Edition, Roman and Littlefield, 2010.

3. James Davison Hunter and Alan Wolfe, Is There a Culture War? A Dialogue on Values and American Public Life, Brookings Institution Press, 2006.

4. A few additional readings will be drawn from various sources, including a brief course packet.

 

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

38709 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm GAR 0.102
show description

Course Description:  

Throughout our nation’s history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course surveys the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and explores the ways in which religion has served as a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has shaped American politics and society. The course is comprised of three sections. During the first, “Foundations,” we will focus our attention of the basics of the relationship between religion and politics in the United States over time. During the second, “Developments,” we look at how social and political change has affected religion and politics in America. Finally, in the final third of the course, titled “Controversies,” we turn our attention to particular points of conflict over the relationship between religion and politics. Throughout the course, we will examine several important topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social and political movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.    

Grading Policy:  

Grades are based on two midterm exams (25% each) and one final exam (30%). Attendance and participation account for 10% of the grade, and the final 10% comes from a two-to-three page reflection paper on the course.    

Texts:  

1. Frank Lambert, Religion in American Politics: A Short History, Princeton University Press, 2010.

2. Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown, Religion and Politics in the United States, Sixth Edition, Roman and Littlefield, 2010.

3. James Davison Hunter and Alan Wolfe, Is There a Culture War? A Dialogue on Values and American Public Life, Brookings Institution Press, 2006.

4. A few additional readings will be drawn from various sources, including a brief course packet.

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

38600 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WAG 214
show description

Course Description 

Throughout American history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course surveys the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and explores the ways in which religion has been a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has shaped American politics and society. After a brief overview of religion and politics in the United States, the course will address several important topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social and political movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.

GOV S312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

85393 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 830am-1000am WEL 2.312
show description

Throughout American history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course surveys the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and explores the ways in which religion has been a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has shaped American politics and society. After a brief overview of religion and politics in the United States, the course will address several important topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social and political movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.

Sample writing/research

Patterson, Jerod. (Forthcoming) “Civil Religion,” “Communism/Socialism,” “Evolution Controversies,” “Pseudoscience,” and “Aryan Nation.” In Bill J. Leonard and Jill Y. Crainshaw, eds., Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States, Second Edition. Westport, CT: ABC-CLIO Greenwood. (Essays, 700-1500 words)

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Patterson, Jerod. (2011) "What Texas polls can tell us about Rick Perry's chances in Iowa." (Mass media article published in the Texas Tribune.)

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Patterson, Jerod. (2010) “Interdenominational Agencies: Working Together in Common Cause.” In Craig Atwood, Samuel Hill, and Frank S. Mead, eds., The Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 13th Edition. pp. 349-368. Nashville: Abingdon Press. (Book chapter)

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Patterson, Jerod. (2011) “Interest Group Policy Goals and Electoral Involvement: Lessons from Legislative Primary Challenges.” Masters Report, University of Texas at Austin. (Masters report)

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Teaching

GOV 312L Religion and Politics in the U.S. (University of Texas at Austin)

Throughout American history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course explores the relationship between religion and politics in the United States, focusing especially on the ways in which religion has been a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has and continues to shape political life in the United States. The course will address several relevant topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.

The course is divided into three major sections. The first section, “foundations,” provides an introduction and historical context for our study of religion and politics in the United States. The second section, “developments,” explores important milestones in the evolving relationship between religion and politics, including the challenges of new science and learning, immigration, and social movements throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The final section, “controversies,” directs our attention to some key contemporary debates over religion and politics.

Each class is accompanied by a set of readings. Required readings average about 30 pages per class. Several classes also include recommended readings, most of which are primary sources. These are not required but nonetheless highly commended. In order to participate in class and make the most of this course, you are expected to read prior to attending class. Our course texts are Frank Lambert’s Religion in American Politics (2010), Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown’s Religion and Politics in the United States (2011), and a brief dialogue between James Davison Hunter and Alan Wolfe entitled, Is There a Culture War? (2006). Some readings are drawn from a course packet available at Jenn’s Copies. Course assignments consist of two non-cumulative midterm exams, a cumulative final exam, and a short essay. Class attendance is required and periodic attendance checks will contribute to your final grade. More detail on these assignments and the course grading system are presented below.

H4313 Religion in American Public Life (Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, Texas)

This course explores the relationship between religion and public life in the United States, focusing especially on the ways in which religion has contributed to and been affected by American political institutions and public culture. Topics of special concern include religious liberty, conscience and dissent, religion and social movements (e.g., anti-slavery and civil rights), religion and public policy, church and state, civil religion, the culture war, religion in American elections, and religion and public reason. This exploration is guided by a diverse set of readings that include historical, social scientific, and theological perspectives, as well as several primary sources.

The course is divided into two sections. The first section, “historical context,” provides an introduction and historical setting for our study. The second, “contemporary conflicts,” directs attention to some key contemporary debates and controversies involving religion, politics, and public culture. Each class is accompanied by a set of readings. In order for this class to be a profitable experience, both individually and collectively, students are asked to read and consider these via a brief reflection paper before each class. Students will also take turns introducing and leading discussion on readings and topics throughout the course. In addition to this participatory involvement, student responsibilities also include a book review and term paper.

This course is designed so that each student may: (1) develop a critical understanding of the current and historical relationship between religion and American public life, (2) develop greater self-awareness as Christians to the ways in which our faith bears the imprint of American public culture and vice versa, and (3) consider the ways in which this relationship between religion and politics bears on the mission of the church, presenting both problems and opportunities.  

Teaching Philosophy

Most of the scholarship on how young adults learn emphasizes that one must not view students as “blank slates” waiting for us to write what we know into their minds. A better approach is to help them “bridge” what they already know—through prior classes, interests, and life experiences—and what we are trying to teach them. This is how students effectively categorize what we teach in order to build more sophisticated understandings. My teaching philosophy centers on finding ways to create those bridges. I do so by bringing the real world into the classroom and, where possible, the classroom into the real world. Not only does this make for an engaging learning environment, it also provides the opportunity for students to make connections between course concepts and that which is familiar to them. My ultimate goal as a teacher is not simply to help students achieve learning outcomes, but to draw connections between the learning process, their broader university experience, and their future vocational and professional lives.

A full statement of teaching philosophy is available upon request.

Teaching Competencies

Religion--Religion and politics in the U.S.; religion in American public life; applied religious research; sociology of religion; congregational studies

Politics & Policy--Public policy, public opinion, polling and survey research, parties and interest groups, civil society and civic participation, state and local government, southern politics

Syllabi are available upon request.

Conferences

Conference Participation

“The Politics of Conversion: Do Changes in Religious Affiliation Shape Political and Policy Opinions?” With David L. Leal. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association. Hollywood, California, March 2013; also presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. Chicago, Illinois, April 2013.

“The Impact of Renewalist Religious Movements on Civic Participation in the United States and Latin America.” With Robert Woodberry. Paper presented at the International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association. San Francisco, California, May 2012.

“How Religious Group Identity and Feelings of Threat Structure Attitudes toward Religion in Public School Curricula.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. Chicago, Illinois, April 2012.

“Religion, Politics, and Identity: Developing New Measures from an Experimental Approach.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. October 2011.

“House Divided? Catholicism(s) and Attitudes toward Immigration and Life Policies.” With David L. Leal. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. Chicago, Illinois, April 2011.

“Explaining Interest Group Involvement in Primary Campaigns.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago Illinois, 2010; also presented at the Southwestern Political Science Association, Houston, Texas, April 2010.

“Racial and Ethnic Opinion Differences about State Policymaking: Results from the 2008 and 2009 Texas Polls.” With David L. Leal. Paper presented at the Conference on Underrepresented Groups in Subnational Politics. Rice University, Houston, Texas, May 2009.

“The Religious Right and American Evangelical Missions, or ‘What Hath Athens to do with… Samaria and the Ends of the Earth?’” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion. Atlanta, Georgia, March 2008.

“Profiles in Public Leadership Conference.”Program organizer. Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, March 2007. (Grant funded)

Dissertation

Abstract

People of God: How Religion, Group Identity, and Threat Structure Attitudes toward Public Policies

My dissertation research seeks to explain how religious group identity and threat structure citizen attitudes toward politics and policy. Research shows that Americans are increasingly divided along religious lines, which has spurred greater interest in the way in which religion shapes political attitudes and behaviors. However, little research has considered the political effects of religion as a social group identity. This is a notable omission considering that research on race and national identity have shown group identity and perceived threat to have a strong effect on the views of group members. I hypothesize that, for many Americans, religion serves as a social group identity and that this identity is sensitive to threats to the group’s beliefs and interests. Through original survey research and experiments, I show how these social and cognitive features represent important dimensions of religion’s effect on attitudes toward politics and policy. I find evidence that a salient religious group identity and the perception of threat toward one’s religious group can lead to more cohesive and group-centric attitudes. This brings new insight to the way in which religion structures political attitudes and also promises to contribute to a more general political theory of group identity and threat by bringing together religion with research on other social identities.

This research is particularly important during a time in which the United States grows more religiously diverse. The power of religion to motivate attitudes and behaviors has become increasingly evident, especially in the years since September 11, 2001. Religious cleavages play a conspicuous role in some of America’s most controversial policy debates, many of which involve fundamental questions of political rights that directly affect individual lives and liberties. An increase in religious pluralism and growing political division along religious lines exacerbate these controversies and pose a challenge to the political trust and liberal values that maintain democratic stability in the United States. Political science lacks a thorough rendering of the way in which religion structures political attitudes and affects public debate. This project examines how the relationship between individuals and their religion affects their relationship to politics. By viewing religion as a social identity, it explores the cognitive processes that make religion such a powerful political force. This will benefit society by expanding our knowledge of the political consequences of religious division during a time of growing religious pluralism and demographic change.

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