Professor Jocelyne Cesari

Professor Jocelyne Cesari

Department of Theology and Religion
Professor of Religion and Politics
Director of Research, Edward Cadbury Centre

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)


In addition to my role at Birmingham, I am Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center where I direct the ‘Islam in World Politics’ program. I also teach on contemporary Islam at Harvard Divinity School and direct the Harvard interfaculty program ‘Islam in the West’.

My research focuses on religion and international politics,  Islam and globalization, Islam and secularism, immigration, and religious pluralism. My most recent book, The Islamic Awakening: Religion, Democracy and Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2014), is based on three years research on state-Islam relations in Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Tunisia, conducted when I held the Minerva Chair at the US National War College (2011-2012). My book, When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States (2006) is a standard reference text in the study of European Islam and integration of Muslim minorities in secular democracies, and my other recent books include: Why the West Fears Islam: An Exploration of Islam in Western Liberal Democracies (2013).

I also coordinate two major web resources on Islam and politics: Islamopedia Online and


  • 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


Authored Books

The Unholy Alliance of God and Caesar: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism in World Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press, (forthcoming 2019).

What is Political Islam? Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2018.

Islam, Gender and Democracy in a Comparative Perspective. London: Oxford University Press, 2017.

(Co-authored with Jose Casanova) (Translated into Arabic)

The Awakening of Muslim Democracy: Religion, Modernity and the State. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Why the West Fears Islam: An Exploration of Muslims within Liberal Democracies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

(2015 World Book Award of the Islamic Republic of Iran)

When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Re-edited in paperback in 2006.

(Translated into French and Italian)

La Méditerranée des réseaux: Marchands, Entrepreneurs et Migrants entre l’Europe et le Maghreb (Networks in the Mediterranean Sea: Merchants, Entrepreneurs and Migrants between Europe and North Africa). Paris: Maisonneuve Larose, 2002.

Musulmans et Républicains: Les Jeunes, l’Islam et la France  (Muslims and Republicans: Youth, Islam and France). Brussels: Editions Complexe, 1999.

Géopolitique des islams (Geopolitics of Islam). Paris: Economica, 1997.

Faut‐il avoir peur de l’islam? (Should We Be Afraid of Islam?). Paris: Presses de Science Po, 1997.

Etre musulman en France aujourd'hui (Being a Muslim in France Today). Paris: Hachette, 1997.

L'Islam en Europe (Islam in Europe). Paris: La Documentation Française, 1995.

Etre musulman en France: Mosquées, militants et associations (Being Muslim in France: Associations, Militants and Mosques). Paris: Ed Karthala, 1994.

Edited Books 

Handbook of Islam in Europe. London, Oxford University Press, 2015.

Muslims in the West After 9/11: Religion, Law and Politics. Abington: Routledge, 2010.

Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States, Volumes 1 and 2. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2007.

European Muslims and the Secular State. Farnham: Ashgate, 2005.

Articles Published in Peer Reviewed Journals (Recent Only)

“Unexpected Convergences: Religious Nationalism in Israel and Turkey” Religions 2018, 9(11), 334; 

“A case for Norbert Elias to Civilizations”, Review of Faith and International Relations,  forthcoming.

.“Religion and International Relations: Beyond Belief”, International Studies Perspectives,  forthcoming

The Nationalist Origins of Political Islam’. Current History, 116:786 (2017), 31-34. (commissioned)

‘Institutional Relations Rather Than Clashes of Civilizations: When and How Is Religion Compatible with Democracy?’ International Political Sociology, 10:3 (2016), 241-257.

‘Disciplining Religion: The Role of the State and Its Consequences on Democracy’. Journal of Religious and Political Practice, 2:2 (2016), 135-154.

‘Religion and Democratization: When and How It Matters’. Journal of Religious and Political Practice, 2:2 (2016), 131-134.

‘Religion and Politics: What Does God Have To Do with It?’. Religions, 6:4 (2015), 1330-1344. DOI:

‘Securitization of Islam in Europe’. Die Welt des Islams, 52:3-4 (2012), 430-­449. DOI: 10.1163/15700607-201200A8

‘Islam in the West: From Immigration to Global Islam’. Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review, 8 (2009), 148-175.

Chapters in Edited Volumes (Recent Only)

 “Intimate Strangers: Islam and Europe” in Oxford Handbook on Religions in Europe  (edited by Grace Davies) forthcoming

Islamic Parties: Between Religion and Ideology, Routledge Handbook of Religion and Political Parties, forthcoming

Oxford bibliography on political Islam, forthcoming

‘Religion and Diasporas: Challenges of the Emigration Countries’ in Weinar, A., Unterreiner, A. and Fargues, P. (eds.) Migrant Integration between Homeland and Host Society, Volume 1. New York: Springer, 2017. pp. 173-199.

‘Straddling National and International Politics: Revisiting the Secular Assumptions’ in Guillaume, X. and Bilgin, P. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of International Political Sociology. Abington: Routledge, 2017. pp. 214-223.

‘Political Islam:  From Transnationalism to Nationalism … and Back’ in Greenfield, L. (ed.) Globalisation of Nationalism: The Motive-Force Behind 21st Century Politics. Colchester: ECPR Press, 2016. pp. 167-193.

Political Participation among Muslims in Europe and the United States’ in Karim, K. and Eid, M. (eds.) Engaging the Other, Public Policy and Western-Muslim Intersections. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. pp. 173-189.

“Self, Islam and Secular Public Spaces” in Gole, N.(ed) Islam and Public Controversy in Europe Farnham:Ashgate, 2013.pp.47-67.

‘Islamic Political Theologies and International Relations’ in Kessler, M.J. (ed.) Political Theology for a Plural Age. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. pp. 250-264.

“Muslims in Europe and in the US: A Shared but Overrated Risk of Radicalism” in Coolsaet, R. (ed.) Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge: European and American Experiences, 2nd ed. Farnham: Ashgate, 2011. pp. 101-­116.

‘Islamophobia in the West: A Comparison between Europe and America’ in Esposito, J. and Kalin, I. (ed.) Islamophobia: The Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century. New York and London: Oxford University Press, 2011. pp. 18-41.

‘Islam and the Secularized Nation: A Transatlantic Comparison’ in Biggar, N. and Hogan, L. (eds.) Religious Voices in Public Places. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.  pp. 286-307.

‘Islam, Immigration and France’ in Bramadat, P.A. and Koenig, M. (eds.) International Migration and the Governance of Religious Diversity. London: Metropolis, 2009. pp. 58-76.

‘Muslims in Western Europe after 9/11: Local and Global Components of the Integration Process’ in Motzkin. G. and Fisher, Y. (eds.) Religion and Democracy in Contemporary Europe. Jerusalem: The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Network of European Foundations, 2008. pp. 153-­167.

‘Hybrid and Globalized Islam of Western Europe’ in Samad, A.Y. and Sen, K. (eds.) Islam in the European Union: Transnationalism, Youth and the War on Terror. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. pp. 108-­122.  

‘Islam and Multicultural Societies: A Transatlantic Comparison’ in Yurdakul, G. and Bodemann, M. (eds.) Citizenship and Immigrant Incorporation: Comparative Perspectives on North America and Western Europe. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007. pp. 75-­97.

‘Islam in the West: Modernity and Globalization Revisited’ in Schaebler, B. and Stenberg, L. (eds.) Globalization and the Muslim World: Culture, Religion, and Modernity. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2004. pp. 80-92.

Research Reports

Religion and Diasporas: Challenges of the Emigration Countries. European University Institute and Migration Policy Centre. November 2013.

Cultural and Religious Diversity in Europe: Critical Review of Policy Making. Brussels. 2011.

Securitization of Islam in Europe. Center for European Policy Publication. Brussels. May 2009.

Muslims in Europe after 9/11: Political Situation. Brussels. September 2006.

Islamophobia: Comparative European Approach. Report to the European Commission. Brussels. December 2005.

Muslims in Europe: A State of the Art. Report to the European Commission. Brussels. June 2005.

Islam and Fundamental Rights in Europe. Report to the European Commission. Brussels. October 2004.

Islam, Citizenship and European Integration. Report to the European Commission. December 2003.

New Entrepreneurs in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria and their Role in the Democratization Process. IREMAM. December 1998.

Transnational Networks between Europe and North Africa. Report to the European Commission. 1996.

Book Reviews (Recent Only)

Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies’.  Journal of Islamic Studies. 29:1 (2018), 135-136.

 ‘Beyond the Secular West’. Reading Religion. September 7 2016

‘The Varieties of Religious Repression: Why Governments Restrict Religion’. Politics and Religion. 9:1 (2016), 203-205.

Electronic Publications (Recent Only)

Teaching Religion and International Relations: Beyond Religion and Belief’. Forum of International Studies Perspectives ( Forthcoming,.

Why ISIS is not all of political Islam and what it means for Democracy’. Project on Middle East Political Science, GW University, June 2015.

‘The Lack of Symbolic Integration of Islam in Europe’. Special issue of Critcom, published by the Council for European Studies at Columbia University, July 2015.

‘Religion is Part of the Solution’. Agree to Differ, UNESCO, 2015. pp. 100-103.

‘La Participacion Politica’. Special issue on Islam in Europe, Van Guardia (no 56), July-September 2015.

‘Countering the Islam vs the West Paradigm’. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, December 4 2015.

‘Values and violence: Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo. The Immanent Frame, February 15 2015.

‘Freedom of the press and global jihad’, Oxford University Press Blog, February 3 2015.

Conference Papers

“Civilization as Disciplinization and the Consequences for Religion and World Politics”, Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, Berlin, June 19 2018

“The modern reinvention of minority and its consequences on the sectarian conflicts in Syrian” Religious Minorities, Bar Ilan University, June 11 2018

‘Teaching Religion and International Relations in an interdisciplinary context’, European Academy of Religions Conference. Bologna, March 7 2018.

‘What is Political Islam?’ Author Meets Critics’, European Academy of Religions Conference. Bologna, March 6 2018.

‘Secularism: Religious and Political Intersections’, European Academy of Religions Conference. Bologna, March 5 2018.

Tolerance, State and Islam’, Middle Eastern Studies Association Congress. Washington, D.C., November 19 2017.

‘Religion and Politics: Bridging the Gap between Political Science and Religion’, European Academy of Religions. Bologna, June 20 2017.

Comparing Governmental and Societal Religious Discrimination in Democratic and Autocratic States’, International Studies Association. Congress, Baltimore, February 22 2017.

‘Beyond Belief: The Interactions of Religious and Political Belonging and Behaving’, International Studies Association. February 24 2017.

‘State-Islam Relations’, Middle Eastern Studies Association. Boston, November 20 2016.

Panel on the Public Understanding of Religion, American Academy of Religion. San Antonio, November 21 2015.

‘Putting Religion at Work in International Relations’, International Studies Association. New Orleans, February 19 2015.

‘Securitization of Religion and its Consequences for International Relations’, International Studies Association. New Orleans, February 20 2015.

‘Religious and Political Spaces: Implications for the Religious/Secular Binary in International Relations’, International Studies Association. Toronto, March 29 2014.

‘When and How Religion Influences Democracy’, International Studies Association. Toronto, March 16-30 2014.

 ‘Religion and Democratization: The Arab Awakening in the International Context’, International Studies Association Congress. Toronto, March 26-30 2014.

Revisiting the Concept of Secularism and Public Space in the Light of Transnational Social and Religious Movements in Europe”, Council of European Studies Congress. Washington, D.C., March 14-16 2014.

‘State Policies and Islam in the Middle East and Their Consequences for International Relations’, International Studies Association. Montreal, March 18 2011.

‘Transnational Islamic Thinking in Europe’, Middle Eastern Studies. Boston, November 21‐24 2009.

‘Migration and the Security Narrative of Schengen and NAFTA: Surveillance and Power beyond Borders’, Congress of the International Studies Association. Los Angeles, March 14‐18 2000.

‘Migrants and Minorities in European Cities: Dynamics of Social Integration and Social Exclusion at the Neighborhood Level’, Megacities Network Second International Conference. Liège, Belgium, November 6‐8 1997.

View all publications in research portal