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
A Kellogg Work-in-Progress Seminar with Visiting Fellow Elizabeth Sperber.
Across the developing world, Christian churches are frequently at the helm of domestic election observation efforts, civic education and outreach, and nonpartisan voter registration drives. Against the backdrop of rising illiberalism and shrinking space for civil society, understanding the roles that religious actors play in this policy space is essential. Yet, in Sub-Saharan Africa, such programs are grossly understudied. This paper presents preliminary data from an experimental study in Zambia, an overwhelmingly Christian nation, where we worked with leading Christian umbrella groups to implement civic education workshops infused either with conventional Catholic or Born Again Christian messages. This paper describes the study design and presents preliminary results concerning the impact of these varied messages on participants political and religious attitudes and behaviors.
Elizabeth Sperber is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Denver who studies religion and democratization with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Her primary research interests include new Christian movements in African politics, the political economy of development, and mixed methods research design...