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Politicization of Religion in Global Perspective

Leader: Jocelyne Cesari

In 2015, Jocelyne Cesari started a unique project on politicization of religion in a comparative perspective based on qualitative and quantitative methods. This project is designed to identify patterns of politicization of religion across countries and traditions. The research combines a conceptual history of religion with an analysis of modern political institutions and contexts. An initial phase of the project, which culminated in the book What is Political Islam? (2018), built on scholarship that considers both the nation-building processes in postcolonial Muslim countries and the reformation of Islamic thinking that accompanied it as codependent factors in the development of political Islam. Her new book We God's People: Christianity, Islam and Hinduism in the World of Nations (2021) expands those initial findings to the politicization of other religious traditions in various national and international contexts, with case studies from China, India, Russia, Syria, and Turkey.

Her research also involved a data-mining aspect using big data to achieve the following goals:

  • Bring religious and cultural studies to the political analysis of religion.
  • Provide a unique methodology to capture longue durée, contextualized processes of religious politicization.
  • Combine big data and contextualized qualitative scholarship.
  • Overcome the national/international divide in the analysis of religion and politics.

This project has previously received support from the Georgetown University Office of the Senior Vice President for Research.

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Project Leader

Jocelyne Cesari headshot

Jocelyne Cesari

Senior Fellow
Department of Government

Blog Posts

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Bridging Political Science and Religious Studies


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