In the fall of 2012, the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers was the subject of two very different types of research. Some of us filled out questionnaires, some of us participated in interviews, and some of us watched from the wings. It's all come to fruition, now: the researchers will be reporting their findings to us at our library meeting this month!
Dr. Rebecca A. Glazier is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. She studies international relations and religion, with a special interest in American Foreign Policy. In 2012, Dr. Glazier's research focused on how religion motivates and influences political action.
She is particularly interested in “providential beliefs”, a special category of religious beliefs composed of adherents who believe both that God has a plan and that they have a role to play in bringing it about.
The concept of providential beliefs is applicable to a number of topics in political science. I recently published an article in Foreign Policy Analysis that examines the influence of providential beliefs on the foreign policy attitudes of Americans, and I contributed a book chapter on religiously-motivated political violence in Iraq to “Religion, Conflict, and Military Intervention” (Durward and Marsden, eds., 2009).
As part of the 2012 research, Dr. Glazier's students distributed surveys which a number of our members, as well as freethinkers attending Reason in the Rock, completed. The students also collected surveys from church congregations in Little Rock. She will be reporting her findings to us at this meeting.
Alexandra Bush is a graduate of Henderson University and is headed for graduate work at the University of Houston later this spring. Her senior thesis in Sociology at Henderson explored how the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers forms its group identity, and the process by which we arrived at where we are as a group of people. Drawing on data collected from participant observation and in-depth interviews with freethinkers in Arkansas, Alexandra identified four stages of identity development, and noted a number of things about us as she studied us. Come to the meeting and hear her report. We are guaranteed to think about ourselves a little differently after hearing what she has to say!
In addition to yourself and some snacks if you'd like to share, please bring a box or two (or three!) to donate to the Grand Secret Godless Garage Sale! We will be accepting donations of clean clothing, usable items, and stuff you want to get rid of. The garage sale will happen at Chris and Betsy's on April 5, 6, and 7. Money raised will help fund Reason in the Rock 2013, so clean out those closets and fill those boxes today. (Call or contact Chris or Anne if you want to donate, but can't make it to the meeting.)
For a lively discussion of current events, AR Freethinker's group news and business, join us at the downtown Little Rock library. Parking is free and plentiful on Sundays.
We meet on the first floor in the East meeting room in the back of the Library. We usually adjourn at about 4:30pm and walk over to the Flying Saucer for dinner, drinks and more fun times.