GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College Assistant Professor of Political Science Marie Courtemanche, Ph.D., and her co-authors had their work published in The Washington Post recently as part of the analysis of Pope Francis’ trip to the United States.
The Sept. 29 Washington Post article “This chart explains why Pope Francis’s call to welcome immigrants probably won’t make a difference” is based on research published this spring in the American Political Science Review (APSR). Courtemanche collaborated with Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Ph.D., of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Gizem Arikan, Ph.D., of Yasar University for the paper “Religious Social Identity, Religious Belief and Anti-Immigration Sentiment.” That research also inspired the piece published online in August “Praying for both teams: How religion both facilitates and dampens anti-immigration sentiment” for the London School of Economics.
The professors’ research seeks to explain how religion can fuel both positive and negative attitudes toward the foreign-born. Conducting an experimental survey on American Catholics, Turkish Muslims, and Israeli Jews, the researchers found that religious social identity increased opposition to immigrants who are dissimilar to in-group members in religion or ethnicity, while religious belief engendered welcoming attitudes toward immigrants of the same religion and ethnicity, particularly among the less conservative devout. Applying these findings to the Pope’s visit, the authors argue in the Washington Post op-ed that attempts by the Pope and other elites to encourage immigration through the use of religious rhetoric espousing compassion will likely go unheeded due to the religious and ethnic differences between migrants and many Americans.
Courtemanche has a doctorate in philosophy from Stony Brook University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from the University of New Hampshire. She taught at Texas Christian University, Providence College and Marietta College before coming to Thiel.
About Thiel College
Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 25 varsity sports, and a 10:1 student-faculty ratio to more than 900 students. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation as it celebrates 150 years.