Faculty Profile

David O'Connell

Assistant Professor of Political Science (2013)

Contact Information


Denny Hall Room 13


O'Connell's research interests include the presidency, religion and politics, and American political development. His research on presidential campaign decision-making has been published in Presidential Studies Quarterly. His first book, God Wills It: Presidents and the Political Use of Religion, is forthcoming in the fall of 2014.


  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2005
  • M.A., Columbia University, 2007
  • M.Phil, 2009
  • Ph.D., 2012

2015-2016 Academic Year

Fall 2015

POSC 247 The American Presidency
An in-depth analysis of the nature and significance of "the Man" and "the Office," including constitutional development, presidential roles and customs, the recruitment process, the executive branch, and the politics of the presidency. Prerequisite: 120, or permission of the instructor.

POSC 290 Religion in American Politics
This class will provide an overview of the role of religion in American politics. The course will have four major units. In the first unit we will study the basics of religion and politics, including the Puritan legacy, the roles and functions of the First Amendment, and the various ways in which religion impacts political behavior. The second part of the course will review the distinctive politics of a series of important religious groups, including the Christian Right, the Christian Left, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims. In the third unit, we will explore the intersections between religion and public policy in areas like education and healthcare. Finally, we will conclude by examining the most important recent developments in the relationship between religion and politics, i.e., the growth of politically influential mega-churches.