Professor Jocelyne Cesari

Professor Jocelyne Cesari

Department of Theology and Religion
Professor of Religion and Politics

I joined Birmingham in September 2015 as Professor of Religion and Politics, working primarily in the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, where I have particular responsibility for oversight of the Centre's research agenda.

My role is to bridge the gap between religious studies and social sciences by investigating the interactions between religion and politics across different traditions and cultures with a particular focus on democracy, secularization and toleration.


  • Institute of Political Science, University of Aix­‐en-Provence – October 1991
  • PhD in Political Science – ‘The building of Religious Minorities in Secular Democracies: The case of Muslims in France’.
  • Institute of Political Science, University of Aix­‐en-Provence – October 1991
  • Habilitation à diriger les recherches (Certification to supervise research and doctoral studies in religious studies and political science, required by French law in addition to the Ph.D. to supervise doctoral students).


  • French (Native)
  • English (Fluent)
  • Arabic (Fluent)
  • Italian (Spoken and written proficiency)


Jocelyne Cesari holds the Chair of Religion and Politics and is director of research at the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom; at Georgetown University she is a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and  teaches  religion in the Department of Government. Since 2018  she has been the T. J. Dermot Dunphy Visiting Professor of Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding at Harvard Divinity School. President elect of the European Academy of Religion (2018-19), her work on religion and politics has garnered recognition and awards: 2020 Distinguished Scholar of the religion section of the International Studies Association, Distinguished Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs and the Royal Society for Arts in the United Kingdom. She is a Professorial Fellow at Australian Catholic University's Institute for Religion, Politics and Society. Her new book, We God’s Nations: Political Christianity, Islam and Hinduism in the World of Nations” is forthcoming at Cambridge University Press.

Her most recent publications are: What is Political Islam? (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2018 special mention of the religion section of the International Studies Association); Islam, Gender and Democracy in a Comparative Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2017), co-authored with Jose Casanova; The Awakening of Muslim Democracy: Religion, Modernity and the State (Cambridge University Press, 2014); and Why the West Fears Islam: An Exploration of Islam in Western Liberal Democracies (2013). Her book When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States (2006) is a reference to the study of European Islam and integration of Muslim minorities in secular democracies. She edited the 2015 Oxford Handbook of European Islam. She coordinates a major web resource on Islam in Europe:


  • Religion and International Relations
  • Religion, Society and Governance
  • Religion and Violence

Postgraduate supervision

I would be interested in hearing from potential students who would like to work in contemporary global Islam, or issues around religion and politics, religion and democracy, religion and foreign, defence and security policy, particularly in the transatlantic and European context.

Find out more - our PhD Theology and Religion  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research centres around the role of religion in world politics and contemporary Islam. I am presently working with colleagues at the Cadbury Centre in Birmingham and the Berkeley Centre in Georgetown to develop a series of projects in these areas.

The first project addresses the role of religion in civic engagement and political participation of citizens from different faiths in Europe and the USA.

Other activities


  • Professorial Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
  • Founding member of the Religion and International Relations Section of the International Studies Association,
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the European Academy of Religion

Web co-ordinator of


Recent publications


Cesari, J 2018, What Is Political Islam? Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder CO. <>

Cesari, J & Casanova, J (eds) 2017, Islam, Gender, and Democracy in Comparative Perspective. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Cesari, J 2021, 'Time, Power, and Religion: Comparing the Disputes over Temple Mount and the Ayodhya Sacred Sites', Journal of Law, Religion and State, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 95-123.

Cesari, J 2019, 'Civilization as disciplinization and the consequences for Religion and World Politics', Review of Faith and International Affairs, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 24-33.

Cesari, J 2019, 'Teaching religion and international relations: beyond theology and belief', International Studies Perspectives, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 1-5.

Cesari, J 2018, 'Unexpected convergences: religious nationalism in Israel and Turkey', Religions, vol. 9, no. 334.

Cesari, J 2016, 'Disciplining religion: the role of the state and its consequences on democracy', Journal of Religious and Political Practice, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 135-154.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Cesari, J 2017, Religion and Diasporas: Challenges of the Emigration Countries. in Migrant Integration Between Homeland and Host Society: Where does the country of origin fit?. vol. Volume 1, Global Migration Issues, Springer, pp. 173-200.


Cesari, J 2022, Beyond the State Law versus God’s Law Dilemma: A Genealogical Approach to Islamic Concepts of Law, Politics and Sovereignty. in J Marko, M Lakitsch, F Winter, W Weirer & K Wonisch (eds), Religious Diversity, State, and Law: National, Transnational and International Challenges. Studies in Territorial and Cultural Diversity Governance, vol. 16, Brill, pp. 137-154.

Cesari, J 2021, Political Islam and international relations theory. in J Haynes (ed.), Handbook on Religion and International Relations. Elgar Handbooks in Political Science, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., pp. 83–99.

Cesari, J 2020, Democracy in a Religious World or Religion in a Democratic World. in Faith Place: Democracy in a Religious World,.

Cesari, J 2018, Islam in France: Social challenge or challenge of secularism? in Muslim European Youth: Reproducing Ethnicity, Religion, Culture.

Book/Film/Article review

Cesari, J 2017, 'Book review: Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies. By Claire L. Adida, David D. Laitin and Marie-Anne Valfort', Journal of Islamic Studies, vol. 29, no. 1.


Cesari, J 2021, 'Political Islam: More than Islamism', Religions, vol. 12, no. 5, 299.

Short survey

Cesari, J 2017, 'The nationalist origins of political Islam', Current History, vol. 116, no. 786, pp. 31-34. <>

View all publications in research portal