Michael D. Driessen
John Cabot University
233 via della Lungara
Rome, Italy 00165
(+39) 389 888 08 63
John Cabot University (Rome, Italy)
Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs (Assistant Professor 2012-2016, Associate Professor, 2016-present)
Chair, Department of Political and Social Sciences (2016-present)
European University Institute (Fiesole, Italy)
Jean Monnet Fellow (2018-2019), Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies (RSCAS)
Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, (Doha, Qatar)
Post-Doctoral Fellow (2011-2012), Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS)
University of Notre Dame
PhD, Political Science (Comparative Politics and International Relations), May, 2011
Dissertation Title: “Religiously Friendly Democratization: Framing Political and Religious Identities in Catholic and Muslim Societies”
Committee Members: Frances Hagopian (advisor), Daniel Philpott, Michael Coppedge, James McAdams, Robert Dowd
Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Master of Arts, International Relations and Economics, Specialization: Conflict Management and African Studies, Bologna and Washington D.C. May, 2005
University of Portland
Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, Fields: Philosophy, Fine Arts, Mathematics, May, 2002
Religion and Politics, Democracy Studies, Catholic and Islamic Political Movements, North Africa and Middle East, Southern Europe, Mediterranean Politics, Inter-religious Dialogue, Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies
Works in Progress
The Global Politics of Interreligious Dialogue: (manuscript in submission) book project analyzing the state politics and religious agendas of interreligious dialogue and their impact on contemporary global politics
Catholicism and European Politics: Guest editor of forthcoming special volume for journal of Religions, publication date 2020
Interreligious Dialogue Mapping Project in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey: Research Director of a team of five scholars mapping contemporary interreligious dialogue initiatives in the Middle East, funded by the Porticus Foundation and managed by Adyan Foundation. Inaugural Public Report forthcoming December 2019
Inclusive Citizenship in the Arab World: Rapporteur and writer for a draft “Charter for Inclusive Citizenship in the Arab World,” sponsored by Wilton Park, Adyan Foundation and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, and in collaboration with a new Consortium of Interreligious and Faith-based Organizations in the Middle East and North Africa
Religion and Democratization: Framing Political and Religious Identities in Muslim and Catholic Societies (2014) Oxford University Press
“Mapping and Evaluating Interreligious Dialogue in the Middle East,” (2020) Peace Review, 32(1)
“Religious Establishment as a Subject of Political Science,” (2019) in Oxford Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion, (ed.s) Paul A. Djupe, Mark J. Rozell and Ted G. Jelen, New York: Oxford University Press.
“Sources of Muslim Democracy: The Supply and Demand of Religious Policies in the Muslim World,” (2018) Democratization, 25(1), 115-135.
“Engaging Post-Secularism: Rethinking Catholic Politics in Italy,” (2017) co-author with Tom Bailey, Constellations, 24(2), 232-244.
“Mapping Catholic Politics in Contemporary Italy,” (2016) editor and co-author of introduction (with Tom Bailey) of special volume, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 21(3), 419-425.
“Comparative Perspectives: Religion, State and Democracy beyond the United States,” (2016) in A Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S., (ed.) Barbara McGraw, Malden MA: Wiley-Blackwell
“Regime Type, Religion-state Arrangements and Religious Markets in the Muslim World,” (2014) Sociology of Religion, 75(3), 367-394.
“Religious Democracy and Civilizational Politics: Comparing Political Islam and Political Catholicism,” Occasional Paper n. 12 Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) Georgetown University (2013).
“Public Religion, Democracy and Islam: Examining the Moderation Thesis in Algeria,” (2012) Comparative Politics, 44(2), 171-189.
“Religion, State and Democracy: Analyzing Two Dimensions of Church-state Arrangements,” (2010) Politics and Religion, 3(1), 55-80
“Two Propositions for the Future Study of Religion-State Arrangements,” Cosmopolis 1-2(2010).
“Ethnic Voting and the Quality of Democracy in sub–Saharan Africa,” authored with Robert Dowd, Afrobarometer Working Paper n. 92 (January 2008).
Reviews, Online Posts and Other Publications
“Covid-19 e Politiche Globali,” Settimana News (April 28th, 2020)
“The Surprisingly Catholic Roots of the European Union,” America Magazine (April 23rd, 2020)
“Good-Faith Arguments: the Value of Keeping KAICIID,” Commonweal (2020), 171(2)
Review of Matt Buehler’s Why Alliances Fail: Islamist and Leftist Coalitions in North Africa (Syracuse University Press, 2018) in Politics and Religion (2020)
Review of Michael Farquhar’s Circuits of Faith: Migration, Education, and the Wahhabi Mission, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017), in Journal of Arabian Studies (2019), 8(1)
Review of Jonathan Fox’s Political Secularism, Religion and the State: A Time Series Analysis of Worldwide Data, (NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015), in Politics and Religion, (2016), 9(4)
Response to Jan-Muller’s Remarks, Contending Modernities [blog], June 29th, 2016
Review of Karrie Koesel’s Religion and Authoritarianism: Cooperation, Conflict, and the Consequences, (NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014), & response to Karrie Koesel’s Review of Religion and Democratization, in Politics and Religion (2015) 8(3), 614-626
“Interreligious Dialogue and the State in Muslim Modernity,” (co-authored with Brandon Vaidyanathan) Contending Modernities [blog], December 11th, 2011
“The Ennahda Effect?” Contending Modernities [blog], November 17th, 2011
“Democratization in the Land of Tibhirine,” The Review of Faith and International Affairs, May 24th, 2011
“North African Islamists are Stronger than they Look,” Contending Modernities [blog], February 7th, 2011
“Ethnic Fractionalization Dataset Review,” APSA Comparative Politics Newsletter (Winter 2008)
Organized Conferences and Panels
Catholicism and Transatlantic Relations, organizing upcoming workshop at the European University Institute (June 2020)
Catholicism and European Politics, organizing panel for upcoming European Academy of Religions annual conference, Bologna (March 2020)
Researching Interreligious Dialogue, organizing panel for upcoming European Academy of Religions annual conference, Bologna (March 2020)
800 Years of St. Francis and the Sultan: Implications for International Relations and Interreligious Dialogue panel co-organized with Melanie Barbato and Scott Thomas for the European Academy of Religions annual conference Bologna, March (2018)
Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States: A Conversation on Religion and Politics in the Papacy of Francis panel co-organized with University of Notre Dame Center for the Study of American Religion, Rome, October (2017)
Cattolici e Politica Oggi in Italia: Visibilità e Rilevanza, panel co-hosted by Università RomaTre, John Cabot University, December (2016)
“Making Democracy One’s Own,” (co-convenor) International Conference hosted by University of Notre Dame, John Cabot University, Reset.Doc, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sophia University Institute, Rome, Italy (May 2016)
“Religion and Political Values,” (Scientific Committee with Nayla Tabbara and Fadi Daou) International Adyan Conference hosted at Lebanese American University in Byblos, Lebanon (November 2014)
“Muslim Democratization: New Trends,” organized panel of scholars presenting new research on political Islam in the Middle East and North Africa for the American Political Science Association conference in Washington, DC (September 2014)
“Rethinking Political Catholicism: Empirical and Normative Perspectives,” (co-organized with Tom Bailey) International Conference on political Catholicism in Italy, hosted at John Cabot University in Rome (May 2014)
Conference Participation and Invited Talks
“Interreligious Dialogue, Democracy and Religious Transformation in the Arab World,” Invited Presentation, Middle East Directions Programme, Florence (May 2019)
“Inclusive Citizenship and Interreligious Dialogue,” Paper presentation at Second Global Summit Religion, Peace and Security Conference, United Nations, Geneva (May 2019)
“The Global Politics of Interreligious Dialogue,” Paper presentation, International Studies Association, Toronto (March 2019)
“800 Years of St. Francis and the Sultan: Implications for International Relations and Interreligious Dialogue,” Discussant and panel organizer, European Academy of Religions, Bologna (March 2019)
“Wilton Park Dialogues on Inclusive Citizenship,” invited participant, lead rapporteur, Wiston, UK (March 2019)
“Wilton Park Dialogues on Inclusive Citizenship in the Arab World,” invited participant, lead rapporteur for series of three conferences hosted by Wilton Park, Adyan Foundation and the Forum for Peace and Understanding in the Muslim World Abu Dhabi (November 2018)
“Santa Sede e Stati Uniti (1932-1939)” remarks given at book presentation by Cristina Rossi at the University of Notre Dame, Rome (December 2018)
“Opzione diritti: Conquiste, omission, negazioni,” remarks given for book presentation by Samuele Sangalli at University of LUISS, Rome (November 2018)
“Religion and Crises of Western Democracy,” Invited talk given at Adyan Foundation, Lebanon (June 2018)
“Witnessing to a Culture of Tenderness: The experience of the L’Arche Community of Il Chicco ,” invited lecture at the Lay Centre Foyer et Unitas and the Cambridge Muslim College, Rome, Italy (May 2018)
“Religione e Spazio Pubblico in Europa,” Progetto Paolo Prodi/Universität Flensburg, invited presentation, Bologna, Italy (April 2018)
“Interreligious Engagement and Sustainable Peace,” Panel Discussant and Invited Participant, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI) workshop, Bologna, Italy (March 2018)
“Interreligous Dialogue and Global Politics,” Panel Discussant, European Academy of Religion annual Conference, Bologna, Italy (March 2018)
“Religion and Human Rights,” Doha International Center for Interfaith Sutdies 13th annual conference, Doha, Qatar (February 2018)
“Muslim Democracy: Trends,” presentation to the European External Action Service diplomatic training seminar on Political Islam and Islam in Politics, Brussels, Belgium (October 2017)
“Democracy and Dialogue: Reflections on interreligious living-together in Algeria,” paper presented at European Academy of Religions “Ex Nihil” conference, Bologna, Italy (June 2017)
“Islam and Islamism: The Societal Dimension,” presentation to the European Commission’s High Level Seminar on Islam in Europe: State of Play and Future Outlook, Brussels, Belgium (May 2017)
“Dialogo Interreligioso ed Umanesimo Religioso: Nuove Costruzioni Politiche,” presented at LUISS Guido Carli University for the Settimana Culturale workshop Il Ruolo delle Università per lo Sviluppo Umano nella Società Globale Rome, Italy (March 2017)
“Democrazia e Libertà Religiosa,” Jean Monnet Lecture, Università Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy (March 2017).
“La Presidenza Trump e il Futuro del Medio Oriente,” invited conference lecture, Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy (December 2016)
“Engaging Post-Secularism: Rethinking Catholic Politics in Italy,” paper presented at Cattolici e Politica Oggi in Italia: Visibilità e Rilevanza conference, Rome, Italy (December 2016)
European Academy of Religion, invited participant, inaugural launch conference, Bologna, Italy (December 2016)
“Post-Secularism, Post-Islamism and the Everyday Religious Citizen,” paper presented at American Political Science Association conference, Philadelphia, PA (September, 2016)
“Disability and the Face of Mercy,” University of Notre Dame and Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization conference, Presenter, Rome, Italy (May 2016)
“Making Democracy One’s Own,” International Conference, co-convener and presenter, Rome, Italy (May 2016)
“Democrazia e Libertà Religiosa,” Jean Monnet Lecture, Università Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy (March 2016)
“Human Dynamics in the Arabian Gulf,” Round Table Presentation for Euro-Gulf Information Center Inaugural Conference, Rome (November 2015)
“The Limits and Challenges of Secularism: Multi-level Cooperation in Faith-based Diplomacy?” panel discussant and concluding remarks given for International Politics, Diplomacy and Religion conference organized by the European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy (May 2015)
Renewing the Church in a Secular Age: Holistic Dialogue and Kenotic Vision (Invited participant) international conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture of the Holy See, the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy and the Gregorian University in Rome (March 2015)
“Comparing Post-Secularism and Post-Islamism in Catholic and Muslim Contexts,” paper presented at International Adyan Conference, Byblos, Lebanon (November 2014)
“Reflections on Catholic Foreign Policy in Italy,” paper presented at Foreign Policy and Religious Engagement: The special case of Italy conference, hosted by Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Milan (October 2014)
“Religion-State Arrangements and Muslim Democratization: Religious Favoritism and Support for Democracy” paper presented at American Political Science Association Conference, Washington DC and Italian Political Science Conference, Perugia (September 2014)
“Algerian Islamist Parties,” invited paper presented at U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C. (September 2014)
“Rethinking Political Catholicism: Empirical and Normative Perspectives,” (co-authored with Tom Bailey) presented at Rethinking Political Catholicism Conference hosted by John Cabot University, Rome (May 2014)
“Rethinking Political Catholicism in Italy,” paper presented at Rethinking Christian Democracy Conference hosted by the European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy (April 2014).
“Muslim Democratization and Power Realities: A Comparative Analysis of Islamist Political Constraint in Algeria, Turkey and Indonesia,” paper presented at Middle East Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, LA (October 2013).
“Promoting Religious Freedom and Peaceful Coexistence,” (Invited Participant) International Workshop hosted by Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, Rome, Italy (February 2013).
“Religious Democracy in the Mediterranean? Reflections on the Unsecular in Catholic and Muslim Societies,” paper presented at Religion and Democracy in Europe and the Arab World, International Conference held by the Lebanese American University-Adyan-Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Beirut, Lebanon (November 2012).
“Gender and Religious Institutions in the Muslim Majority World,” paper presented at Middle East Studies Association Conference, Denver, Colorado (November 2012); and John Cabot University Political Science Colloquium, Rome, Italy (February 2013).
“Muslim Democracy as Christian Democracy? Comparative Explorations and Cross-Cultural Dialogue” (Invited Speaker) Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale and Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Trento, Italy (October 2012).
“Transnational Religious Actors” panel discussant at Societa Italiana di Scienze Politica Conference, Rome, Italy (September 2012).
“Religious Markets in North Africa,” presented at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service International Politics (IPOL) seminar series, Qatar (April 2012).
“Political Religions and Religious Markets in North Africa,” presented at the European University Institute’s 13th Mediterranean Research Meeting, Florence, Italy (March 2012).
“Religion-state Arrangements and Attitudes towards Democracy in the Islamic World: Theory and Evidence from North Africa,” paper presented at the Middle East Studies Association Conference,” Washington, DC (November 2011).
“New Conversations on Bonhoeffer’s Theology,” University of Notre Dame Graduate Student Conference, Steering Committee Member (April 2011).
“Between Political Secularization and Religious Revival: Notes on Religion and Democratization,” (Invited Talk): Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (September 2010).
“Ethnicity, Religion and Democracy,” chair of panel held at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago (April, 2010).
“Public Religion, Democracy and Islam: Examining the Moderation Thesis in Algeria,” paper presented at Middle East Studies Association Conference, Boston (November, 2009) and presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago (April, 2010).
“Regulation, Economics and the Churching of France and Italy: Treating Religion as a Public Good,” paper presented at American Political Science Association Conference, Toronto, Canada (August, 2009).
“Hostile Religions and Friendly Democracies: a Two-stage Model of Religious-democratic Change from Italy,” paper presented at Council for European Studies Conference, Chicago (March, 2008), Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago (April, 2008) and Global International Studies Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia (July, 2008).
“Risorgimento Religioso: On the Surprising Rise of Religiosity in Italy,” paper accepted for presentation (declined) at Council for European Studies Conference, Chicago (March, 2008).
“Religion, State and Democracy,” paper presented at American Political Science Association Conference, Chicago (August, 2007) and International Studies Association-West Conference, San Francisco (September, 2007).
“Ethnic Voting and the Quality of Democracy in sub-Saharan Africa,” paper presented at American Political Science Association Conference, Philadelphia (September, 2006) and International Studies Association Conference, Chicago (March, 2007).
Teaching and Advising Experience
Department of Political Science, John Cabot University:
Courses: “Religion and Global Politics,” “History and Politics of the Middle East,” “Introduction to Comparative Politics,” “Introduction to World Politics,” “Social Science Research Methods,” “Introduction to Political Science,””International Affairs Senior Seminar,” “War, Peace and Conflict Resolution,” (2012-present)
John Cabot University Service:
Department of Political Science and International Affairs: Chair (Spring 2016 – present)
JCU Faculty Senate: President (Spring 2014 – Spring 2016)
JCU Interfaith Initiative: (co-established with Pam Harris, Tom Bailey, Micayla Burrows, and Chadiedja Buijs), University Institute facilitating scholarship, conferences, speakers and student encounters dedicated to the study and understanding of religion, politics, spirituality and culture : co-director (Fall 2013 to present)
Summer Institute on Religion and Global Politics (co-organized with Pam Harris and Tom Bailey), created graduate-level summer seminar on religion and global politics in Rome (May 2014)
Pizza and Politics: created and organize monthly series on Global Politics (Spring 2013- Present)
John Cabot University Student Government: Advisor (Fall 2012 – 2014)
Curriculum Review Taskforce: Comprehensive Restructuring of International Affairs and Political Science Majors (Fall 2012- Spring 2013)
Other Teaching and Advising Experience:
Adyan Foundation, “Religion and Extremism” co-designed and taught online course to a group of 32 civil society and religious leaders from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Denmark, followed by a one week training session in Beirut. Cosponsored by Adyan, Danmission, and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Leadership for Interreligious Understanding program (Summer 2015, 2016)
Instructor, Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame: “Religion and Global Politics” (Spring, 2011).
Academic Advisor, Nanovic Institute for European Studies (2007-2008).
Teaching Assistant, Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame (2006-2008)
Grants and Awards
Global Religions Research Initiative (University of Notre Dame), Project Launch Grant (Spring 2018)
United States Embassy to the Holy See grant, won (with Pam Harris, Tom Bailey and Yvonne Dohna) to organize a year long international scholar series (5 speakers) on Interfaith Dialogue at John Cabot University in Rome (September 2014), grant extended (May 2015)
European Consortium for Political Research Grant, won (with Pam Harris and Tom Bailey) to host and organize a Summer Institute on Religion and Global Politics at JCU in Rome (May 2014)
Faculty Development Grant, John Cabot University (Fall 2012, Fall 2013)
Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, University of Notre Dame, Graduate Student Research Award (Fall, 2010)
Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, Dissertation Year Fellowship, (2009-2010)
Paul G. Tobin Dissertation Year Fellowship, for field research in Italy, France and Algeria (Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame, 2008-2009)
Zahm Research Travel Grant for dissertation field research in Italy, France and Algeria (Graduate School, University of Notre Dame, 2008-2009)
Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame, Summer Research Grant in Italy, Spain and Algeria (Summer, 2007)
University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science Summer Research Grant in Kenya and Uganda (Summer, 2006)
Honors and Prizes
Professor of the Year (John Cabot University, 2016).
Distinguished Article Award: “Honorable Mention” from the Association for the Sociology of Religion for “Regime Type, Religion-state Arrangements and Religious Markets in the Muslim World,” (2016).
International Studies Association-West Best Graduate Paper Award: “Religion, State and Democracy” (September, 2007).
Rhodes Scholar State Finalist (Minnesota, 2003, Oregon, 2002).
Gerhard Alumni Award for Service and Leadership (University of Portland, 2002).
College of Arts and Sciences Deans’ Award for best academic record (University of Portland, 2002).
Excellence Award in German and French Studies (Department of Romance and Germanic Languages, University of Portland, 2002).
Student of the Year (Associated Students of the University of Portland, 2000).
Service and Experience
Editorial Board Member: Sociology of Religion (2016-present), Politics and Religion (2016-present)
Reviewer for American Political Science Review, World Politics, Journal of Comparative Politics, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Politics and Religion, Partecipazione e Conflitto, Democratization, Religion, State and Society, Journal of Church and State, Contemporary Politics, Sociology of Religion, Rowman and Littlefield, National Science Foundation.
Service-based learning: created a summer service-learning project between University of Portland and L’Arche (a community for adults with mental and physical disabilities), facilitating University of Portland students to live and study with L’Arche Bologna, Italy (summer 2014, 2015, 2016)
Interviews with Media: Europa (Italy: December, 2011), Radio Radicale (Italy: May, 2008, November, 2008), Gulan Magazine (Iraq: July, 2010, January, 2011, March, 2011, July, 2011, January, 2012, March, 2012, November, 2012, July, 2013, January, 2014, July, 2014, April, 2015, November 2015), Semana (Columbia: June, 2014), The Peninsula (Qatar: April, 2012), Rai Radio 1 (Rome: March 2016, November 2016, January 2017, February 2017, September 2017, November 2018), NBC News (Rome, April 2016), Sky TV (Rome: January 2017), Rome Reports (Rome: January 2017, November 2018), TV2000 (Rome: May 2017)
Pope Francis in the USA interviews: Rome Reports (3 television interviews in August, 2015), Radio France (French Public Radio interview, September 2015), TV2000 (live television analysis of Pope Francis’ address to the US congress, September 2015)
Nativity House Project (Chicago), Board Member, (2010-present).
University of Notre Dame, Working Group on Islam in Contemporary Europe, Member (2009-11).
Committee for Graduate Student Family Policies, University of Notre Dame, member (2010).
Graduate Student Union, Quality of Life Committee, Chair, University of Notre Dame, (2009-2010).
University of Notre Dame Department of Political Science, International Relations Graduate Student Representative (2006-2007).
Student Newspaper Editor and Columnist: Common Sense (Notre Dame, 2005-2007) Observer (Johns Hopkins 2003-2005).
L’Arche : Live-in resident assistant in a L’Arche community home for adults with mental and physical disabilities (2002-2003, Pierrefonds, France); assistant and friend (2003-present, Bologna & Rome, Italy), board member (Rome, 2015-present).
Professional Associations (Recent Memberships)
American Political Science Association, Politics and Religion APSA section, International Political Science Association, Sociology of Religion ASA section, Middle East Studies Association, Council of European Studies, American Institute for Maghrib Studies, Societa Italiano di Scienza Politica, Istituto per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII
Algeria (2007, 2009, 2010, 2017), Lebanon (2014, 2015, 2018), Austria (2018), Jordan (2014), Qatar (2011-2012, 2018), Italy (2006, 2008-2009), France (2003, 2007, 2008), Spain (2007), Kenya (2006), Uganda (2006), Chile (2001)
Modern Standard Arabic (Advanced)