My name is Paul Pinto and I am a PhD Candidate in Political Science at Yale University. Welcome to my webpage, where you can find information about my research interests, copies of my published and working papers, and personal information.
My dissertation research analyzes the social and political impact of Christian missions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Research in sociology and political science has become increasingly aware of the importance of historical legacies - e.g., institutions, identities, law and language, to name a few - in shaping contemporary outcomes. Indeed, crucially important areas of study such as democratization, civic values/social capital, ethnicity, and inequality are quite frequently governed by longstanding roots in the past.
I am particularly interested in the downstream political implications of Christian mission institution-building and processes of identity formation. While the theoretical portion of my work addresses mission in a global, comparative context, I have also conducted specific historical and empirical work focused on European missions in southern Africa (Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe). I argue that Christian missions have made an important contribution to democratization and ethnic/national identity formation through the distribution of education (mission schools) and the creation of democratically-founded and operated institutions (mission churches). I analyze missions from a theoretical perspective as joint phenomena between the well-known European missionaries of yore and their local interlocutors; that is to say, a mission is far more than the work of its (foreign) missionaries. The current flourishing of Christianity as an indigenous African social force to be reckoned with is a powerful reminder of this point.
I have additional research interests in nationalism and political identity in the context of war and nation-building; please see my works in progress (joint with Leonid Peisakhin)