Jocelyne Cesari holds the Chair of Religion and Politics 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. 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.
Her most recent publications are: What is Political Islam? (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2018 book award of the International Studies Association); <>Islemam, Gender and Democracy in a Comparative Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2017), co-authored with Jose Casanova.
Her upcoming book, We God’s People: Christianity, Islam and Hinduism in the World of Nations (Cambridge University Press) will be published in the fall of 2021.
Fall 2021: Religion and the Governance of Global Issues (new course)
COVID19 has painfully highlighted the failure of international organizations to provide a coherent and efficient response the pandemic, raising the issue of global governance to greater prominence than at any time since World War II and the formation of the United Nations. This situation has opened new venues and opportunities for religious groups to posit themselves as credible international collaborators in addressing issues that cut across national boundaries, including global health, the environment, and migration. This course offers an analysis of this new trend. It will assess critically the studies on the role of religion in conflict and peace building which has been the entry point on religion and global governance. It will then address the role of religious institutions on the humanitarian crisis of refugees, limitations of nuclear weapons, climate changes, pandemics, and market economy. It will examine across religious traditions the theological reflection on moral responsibility and community and the ongoing tensions between universalist claims and more reactionary stands. It will also study modes of action and evaluate the international influence of this particular message in different arenas and international political organizations: Public health, Racial and Religious discrimination, Mass destruction, Social inequalities, to explore the following questions: In which domain is the global moral message of religion more influential? How? Where and why does it create tensions. The approach will combine religious studies, theology and social sciences.
Spring 2022: God’s Nations: Religion, Nationalism and Modernity
The religious dimension of nationalism has been infrequently analyzed by historians and even less so by social scientists who have operated under the influence of theories of modernization and hence perceived nationalism and religion as incompatible. In the last three decades however, with the growth of religious claims in diverse national and international contexts, scholars have started to explore the connection between religion and nationalism. The course will address the historical evolution of religion and nationalism in Great Britain, France, Germany and the USA from the rise of the nation-state until today. It will also analyze the diffusion of the nation-state to non western regions and its consequences on the politicization of religion in Turkey, India, and Israel as well as atypical forms of religious nationalism like ISIS. This broad scope of religions and national cultures will allow us to look at specific topics like state and religion relationships, religiously based political parties and movements, populism, anti Semitism and islamophobia.
- Web series on religion and nationalism: India, March 3, 2020; Russia, April 7, 2020; Turkey, May 13, 2020
- COVID-19 and Religion: Between Nationalism and Communal Responsibility, Politics Today, June 8, 2020
- "The Role of Religion in the Political Future of Syria”, Berkley Center Forum, March 24 2021.
- “Religion and Radicalization: How it Happens?”, Politics Today, March 4 2021.