Professor Jocelyne Cesari

Professor Jocelyne Cesari

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

Contact details

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.


  • Phd Political Science, Aix en Provence


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.


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



  • Islam, Women Rights and Democracy in a Comparative perspective, Oxford University Press, 2017
  • Straddling National and International Politics: Revisiting the Secular Assumptions” in Handbook of International Political Sociology edited by Xavier Guillaume and Pinar Bilgin, Routledge, 2017, pp 214-22
  • The Nationalist Origins of Political Islam, Current History, vol 116 (786), January 2017, pp 32-34
  • Institutional Relations rather than Clash of Civilizations? When and How is Religion Compatible with Democracy? International Political Sociology, July 19 2016,
  • Oxford Handbook of European Islam. Oxford University Press,  2015.
  • The Awakening of Muslim Democracy: Religion, Modernity and the State. Cambridge University Press,  April 2014.
  • Why the West Fears Islam, An Exploration of Muslims within Liberal Democracies. 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, 2004. Reedited in paperback in 2006.