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McGregor Research Program: Fellows, Faculty & Projects (2003)

Student Fellow
Faculty Mentor
Research Project
Amy Byerley Claudia Beversluis
Worship:Forming & Transforming Identity
Laura Collins Claudia Beversluis
Worship:Forming & Transforming Identity
Leslie Harkema Stephanie Sandberg
Communication Arts & Sciences
Spirituality and the Plays of W. B. Yeats
Ben Haven Amy Patterson
Political Science
African State Policies on HIV/AIDS
Kristine Johnson Mark C. Smith
Political Science
The Evolution of Evangelical Republicanism: 1956-2000
Casey Rice Corwin Smidt
Political Science
Spiritual Politics
Mark Schemper Quentin Schultze
Communication Arts & Sciences
Renewing the Habits of Love in a High-Tech World
Zhen (Jackie) Tao Kelly J. Clark
The Religious Roots of Confucius


“Worship: Forming and Transforming Adolescent Identity”
Claudia Beversluis, Psychology/Provost

The central question explored in this research is this: how does participation in worship form or transform adolescent identity? Narrative approaches to identity formation analyze the mechanisms by which individual young people incorporate the story of a larger group into their own individual story of identity. How do adolescents integrate the story told in worship with the stories of their daily lives? How do they learn reverence for something outside of themselves, control over emotion, relations to others, and so on?

“The Religious Roots of Confucius”
Kelly James Clark, Philosophy

Contrary to the image portrayed by ideologically driven philosophers, it is untenable to portray Confucius as a non-religious. The Shang and Zhou dynasties, which Confucius takes as his models, venerated Shangdi (Supreme Lord), lesser gods and worshipped ancestors. In the Analects, tian (heaven) is personal, cares for human welfare, and exercises control over human history. The chief virtues along with their promised rewards comport best with a theistic worldview.

“African State Policies on HIV/AIDS: A Comparison of South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya”
Amy Patterson, Political Science

According to UNAIDS, over 28 million Africans are currently infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. African governments have responded to the epidemic in various ways. This research will examine how three countries that differ politically, economically, and in terms of their HIV infection rates, have addressed the epidemic. In investigating the AIDS policies of South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana, the research seeks to understand the political factors that have shaped government actions to address the epidemic.

The project will have two phases. First, the student will collect and examine government documents, news releases, and official statements from the three countries to understand each country’s AIDS policies. The student will spend over half the research period on this portion of the project. Internet sources and library databases will serve as the source of these materials. In the second phase, the student will work closely with the professor to utilize the library and internet research to examine how political factors such as media coverage, interest group lobbying, and leadership have shaped AIDS policies in each country. At the end of the research, the student and professor will develop a preliminary document analyzing AIDS policy differences in the three countries.

“Spirituality and the Plays of W. B. Yeats”
Stephanie Sandberg, Communication Arts & Sciences

This project involves the transformation of Dr. Sandberg’s dissertation, which focuses on Yeats and the spiritual aspects of his plays, into a book. Indeed, Yeats ism’t very well known as a playwright, but he did write over thirty full-length pieces of dramatic literature. This project requires a re-writing of the dissertation manuscript, a new literature review of the research on W. B. Yeats, and writing several new chapters including a new preface.

“Renewing the Habits of Love in a High-Tech World: Friendship, Hospitality, Neighborliness and Leisure”
Quentin Schultze, Communication Arts & Sciences

This project will include the completion of a review of the academic literature during the first month of the fellowship, and then the writing and editing of the first half of a trade monograph during the remaining period. There will be extensive student involvement in the database research and direct student participation in editorial decision-making about the manuscript, including theses, organization and style.

“Spiritual Politics: Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians in Contemporary American Politics”
Corwin Smidt, Political Science

This summer research project will focus on Pentecostal and charismatic Christians in the United States. The project will be based primarily on a quantitative analysis of three major national surveys conducted in 1992, 1996, and 2000, with a combined sample of over 12,000 Americans. This quantitative component of the research project will assess the relative size of the movement, its religious and social characteristics, as well as the political attitudes and behavior of its members. But the project also entails a more qualitative component—specifically in-depth interviews with pastors and parishioners coupled with participant observation of Sunday (and possibly mid-week) worship services.

“Welcome to the Party! The Evolution of Evangelical Republicanism, 1956-2000”
Mark Caleb Smith, Political Science

Evangelical Christians have gradually drifted into the Republican Party. When, how, and why this happened deserves more study. The Evangelical media may have played a part in the “Republicanization” of Evangelicals by giving Republicans more, and increasingly positive, coverage over time. To see if this is the case, this project will study the political reporting in several broadly Evangelical magazines (Christianity Today, Moody Monthly, and World). This will help establish if, when, and why the Republicans became the party of choice for Evangelical leaders.


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