Christian Civic Engagement in sub-Saharan Africa? A Community-Collaborative Study of Faith- Based and Secular Civic Engagement Programs’ Impact on African Congregants’ Political and Religious Outcomes

2020

As a Kellogg Fellow, Sperber will draw on original experimental data from Zambia – a majority-Christian African state experiencing democratic erosion – to address a central question in the study of religion and civic engagement: How citizens’ religious beliefs influence political engagement? To address this question, Sperber partnered with Zambia’s major religious and civic organizations, including Caritas-Zambia, to design and implement religious or secular civic engagement trainings. In addition to supporting programs for thousands of Zambians, this design allows Sperber to study how religious messages may condition the impact of civic engagement trainings on participants’ civic beliefs and behavior. Additionally, Sperber’s second paper examines how exposure to civic engagement training iteratively impacts participants’ religious beliefs or behavior. In each paper, she also assesses whether effects differ across Catholics, mainline Protestants and Pentecostals. Lastly, Sperber will submit a shorter third article on the benefits of combining community-collaborative and experimental methods in political science.

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