Amy Erica Smith (PhD, University of Pittsburgh), a 2016–17 visiting fellow, is assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University. In her research, Smith asks how citizens in new and less-developed democracies learn the political information, attitudes, and behavior that make democracy work. She is particularly interested in the ways disadvantaged groups and racial and religious minorities identify their interests and seek representatives who look like and think like themselves. With a regional focus on Latin America and especially Brazil, much of her work emphasizes the importance of informal social ties and religious organizations.
At Kellogg, Smith will complete the book manuscript “The Culture Wars in Another America: Evangelicals, Catholics, and Brazilian Democracy.” She is examining why Brazilian evangelicals and Catholics have become highly active in recent Brazilian elections, but in ways distinctive from evangelicals and Catholics in the United States. Ultimately, she wants to understand how religious mobilization affects the quality of Brazilian democracy. She draws on data she collected during a Fulbright fellowship in Brazil in 2014, as well as in other survey projects.
Among Smith’s recent publications are “Talking it Out: Political Conversation and Learning in Unequal Contexts” (British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming) and “Incorporating Marginal Citizens and Voters: The Conditional Electoral Effects of Targeted Social Assistance in Latin America” (with Matthew Layton), Comparative Political Studies 48, 7 (2015).
Previously, she spent two years as a research coordinator for the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University.
Informal social ties and religious organizations
The Culture Wars in Another America: Evangelicals, Catholics, and Brazilian Democracy
Signs of democratic demise in Latin America
Feb 14, 2018
Former Visiting Fellow Amy Erica Smith writes about the fate of democracy in Latin America in a new article on Vox.
New Article in IPSR from Amy Erica Smith
Aug 16, 2017
Former Visiting Fellow Amy Erica Smith coauthored a recent article in International Political Science Review that explores the determinants of support for women’s representation in the Arab world.
Scholar of Religion in Politics Engages with Kellogg at Many Levels
Jun 15, 2017
“I want to understand how citizens can help to make democracy better,” says Visiting Fellow Amy Erica Smith. A political scientist with expertise in Latin American and Brazilian politics, she focuses her work on mass political behavior.