Amy Erica Smith is associate professor of political science and Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Professor at Iowa State University. Her research examines citizenship, democracy, and religion, with a primary regional focus on Latin America, and especially Brazil. She is author of two books, including Religion and Brazilian Democracy: Mobilizing the People of God (2019, Cambridge University Press), as well as numerous articles in academic outlets and public media. Dr. Smith has received fellowships and grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, Fulbright, and the University of Notre Dame Kellogg Institute for International Studies, as well as the Luce, Mellon, and Templeton Foundations. In the 2019–2020 academic year, she will be a Luce/ACLS Fellow in Journalism, Religion, and International Affairs, in addition to a Wilson Center Fellow.

Project Summary

Two parallel trends are transforming the developing world: climate change and the growing demographic importance of Pentecostalism and conservative Protestantism. As environmental degradation reshapes the physical environments in which humans live, citizens interpret the changes and respond through frames shaped by their religious communities. Utilizing a Brazilian case study, this project asks, how is religion molding citizens’ explanations of and responses to climate change? During the 2019–2020 academic year, Dr. Smith will finish a book manuscript, tentatively entitled Religion and Climate Change in Brazil: The Deluge and the Desert.

Major Publications

Smith, Amy Erica. 2019. Religion and Brazilian Democracy: Mobilizing the People of God. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, Amy Erica. 2018. “Talking It Out: Political Conversation and Knowledge Gaps in Unequal Urban Contexts.” British Journal of Political Science 48(2): 407-425.
Smith, Amy Erica. 2017. ‘Democratic Talk in Church: Religion and Political Socialization in the Context of Urban Inequality.” World Development 99: 441-451.