Christopher L. Weaver

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, where I anticipate completing my Ph.D. by May 2016. My research and teaching interests include mass political behavior and opinion, religion and politics, and identity politics. My dissertation focuses on the role of moral psychology in political decision-making, while my broader research agenda examines the role of religion in the political lives of marginalized groups, exploring the ways in which religion both mitigates and exacerbates inequality across intersecting dimensions of race, ethnicity, class, and gender. My work has been published or is forthcoming in Political Research Quarterly, Law & Society Review, and Politics and Religion.

In my dissertation, entitled “ ‘Knowing’ Right from Wrong: The Role of Moral Confidence in Political Decision-Making,” I examine individuals’ moral judgments and legal opinions on the issues of abortion, homosexuality, capital punishment, and physician-assisted suicide. Using preexisting and original survey data, I contend that moral judgments and legal opinions on moral issues are distinct but related, and that variation in moral confidence, or an individual’s perceived level of moral knowledge, helps explain this morality-legality gap in opinion. Moreover, I argue that many individuals are morally overconfident, which drives them to take more extreme legal stances on these moral issues, and I leverage data collected in an original survey experiment to show that this moral overconfidence can be reduced, resulting in greater legal support for these issues.

A first-generation college student, I earned my B.A. in 2011 from Hendrix College in Arkansas, where I was born and raised.

University of Notre Dame
217 O’Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Office: 421 Decio Hall
(479) 221-2352

Designed by Christopher L. Weaver        Updated  1/2016