The Geopolitics of Religion in the 21st Century
Although intersections of the religious and the political are subject to increasing scholarly attention, the relationship between religion and power remains under-theorized. I plan to explore this relationship further, especially by investigating the ways that certain states gain and exercise power in 21st century world politics by drawing on their position as geographical, historical, and cultural centres of major globe-spanning religious traditions and networks. I am working on developing a typology of the forms of power that religions can generate for states internationally and apply this to a range of case studies. Some early ideas have been published in a workingpaper developing the concept of 'sacred capital' for the Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power Project, a joint initiative between the Berkley Center at Georgetown University and The Brookings Institution.
Norms Diffusion and Contestation Beyond Liberal-, Secular-, and Western-centrism
With Filippo Dionigi I wrote a paper exploring the ways in which religious norms, promoted by non-Western agents, diffuse in international relations. With David Lewis we have sought to conceptualize the main modes of normative contestation of the liberal international order that major authoritarian powers like Russia and China are engaged in. In a co-authored paper I am currently exploring how civilizational narratives constitute one of the main ideological alternatives to liberal world ordering.
Post-Essentialist Civilizational Analysis in IR
I continue to work on a series of papers seeking to make a contribution and expand the recent post-essentialist turn in civilizational analysis in IR. In particular I am keen to explore why over the past decades civilizational imaginaries and narratives have taken hold among a wide range of international relations practitioners and how these, in turn, have come to re-orient international institutions and practices around civilizational categories.