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 Aix­en-Provence – October 1991

Ph.D. in Political Science – ‘The building of Religious Minorities in Secular Democracies: The case of Muslims in France’.

Institute of Political Science, University of Aix­en-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 coordinator 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 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 2019, '“Civilization as Disciplinisation and the Consequences for Religion and World Politics”', Review of Faith and International Affairs, pp. 24-33.

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.

Cesari, J & Fox, J 2016, 'Institutional relations rather than clashes of civilizations: when and how Is religion compatible with democracy?', International Political Sociology, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 241-257.

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 2016, Political Islam: From Transnational Movement to Nationalism … and Back. in L Greenfield (ed.), Globalisation of Nationalism : The Motive-Force Behind 21st Century Politics. ECPR Press, Colchester, pp. 167-192.


Cesari, J 2016, Islam and multicultural societies: A transatlantic comparison. in Citizenship and Immigrant Incorporation: Comparative Perspectives on North America and Western Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 75-97.

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 2016, 'Religion and democratisation: when and how it matters', Journal of Religious and Political Practice, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 131-134.

Short survey

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

Special issue

Cesari, J (ed.) 2016, 'Religion and politics: Bringing the state back', Journal of Religious and Political Practice, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 131-272. <>

View all publications in research portal

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities